Runner breaks University record, earns provisional

Jeremiah Cook

While participating at the Drake Relays, junior distance runner Paul Koehler broke a University record in the 10,000-meter run and picked up his second provisional qualifying mark of the outdoor season.

Junior pole-vaulter Kyle Rutledge also matched his best mark of the season, a provisional, at the University of Tulsa Invitational.

At the Bill Williams Invitational on Saturday in Joplin, the Missouri Southern men’s outdoor track and field team will get its first chance to test the new track in the heat of competition. It is an experience the Lions are looking forward to after having to cancel their first two home meets of the season.

“It’s a beautiful track,” said Tom Rutledge, head coach. “When you travel, it takes a toll on your energy level. Having a home meet means that you get to sleep in your own bed and get a little bit more rest. Naturally, that makes it a little bit easier.”

“I think that it’s a big thing for everyone,” said Mika Alahaivala, junior thrower. “After having to travel to all of the different meets and not competing at home, it’s kind of like the start of our season in a way.”

“I love it out here,” Kyle said. “I’m so proud of the school for helping us out and giving us a new track. It’s awesome.”

After competing in the Bill Williams Invitational, the Lions travel to Kirksville, Mo. to take part in the MIAA Decathlon on Sunday and Monday.

Following those two meets, Southern competes in the MIAA outdoor track and field championship.

“The conference meet is always very exciting,” Kyle said.

“We’re always ready to compete and do our best. It’s what we train all year for.”

The Lions are also confident about their chances of winning the conference outdoor championship.

“We have a really good team this year, compared to other years,” Alahaivala said. “We have a lot of team unity. It won’t be easy, but I think that we have a chance.”

The conference championship meet will be held May 8-9 in Maryville, Mo.