Men’s events place in top 10

Hallie Hocker

With half a team and distance runners staying home, the men’s track team concentrated on jumps, sprints and the younger athletes at the University of Kansas Jan. 28-29.

“We had a decent performance as usual,” Rutledge said.

Junior Matt Campbell captured first place in the pole vault with a height of 16-4 3/4. Freshman Russell Ellis also made it in the top 10 with a sixth place vault of 15-5, only half an inch from receiving a provisional.

Three of Southern’s men placed in the top 10 in shot put. Junior Mike Hines led the way with a throw of 50-11 and a fourth-place finish. Freshman Nick Vince came in seventh with a throw of 48-1 1/4. Freshman Adam Sims placed 10th with a throw of 45-5.

However, Hines won’t be competing at the home meet this week due to an elbow injury.

“I definitely want to throw at the next meet,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to throw at this next meet since I’ve been in college.”

Meanwhile, senior Michael Stewart placed ninth in the long jump with a leap of 22-2 1/2. In the 600-yard run, Neil Hombs placed 10th with a time of 1:14.16. The 4X400-meter relay placed ninth with a time of 3:25.10.

Two freshman turned in top times this season. Sprinter Chris Farmer ran the 60-meter dash in 7.07 seconds and the 200-meter in 22.68 seconds. Sam McDonald has the team’s best time in the 60-meter hurdles with 8.99 seconds.

“At KU the corners weren’t as tight and I ran a better race,” Farmer said.

Rutledge said the Lions are seeing improvement in several events including that junior high jumper Kyler Rushing is consistent at clearing 6-6.

“We need to get him up to six feet, 10 inches to get him to nationals,” Rutledge said. “He has those capabilities.”

As for this weekend’s home meet, Rutledge said the chance to sleep in will be an advantage.

“A long drug out meet drains athletes and coaches,” he said.

Rutledge said he’s still experimenting with events for the younger athletes.

“We’re trying to find a niche to help us win the conference championship,” he said.

This weekend Rutledge is expecting a large meet with 350 to 400 athletes.

“It’s going to be packed Saturday,” he said. “We had to adjust the schedule because of all the heats being enlarged.”

Farmer said the support of his friends and family will make the meet more comfortable. While thrower Mike Hines won’t be able to compete, he will be there supporting his teammates.