Lions sprint to compete in nationals

On March 1-2 at the Florida State Relays in Tallahassee, Fla., the women’s outdoor track and field team started out its season.

The Lions came out of the meet with five provisional qualifiers and one automatic qualifier for the national outdoor track and field meet May 27-29 in Pomona, Calif.

“The Florida State meet was a very good meet for us,” said Patty Vavra, women’s head coach. “We got a chance to enjoy each others company, and at the same time, when it was time to go to work, the young ladies went to work.”

The Lions have five people qualified to compete in eight events at the national level on the season, including one automatic bid. Mary Still, senior, gained the automatic in the 400-meter hurdles and a provisional in the 200-meter sprint.

Danee Jones, junior, has provisional marks in the discus, shot-put and hammer throws, Ashley Caffey, junior, has a provisional in 5,000-meter run; Jen Noelken, senior, in the 3,000-meter steeple chase; and Dionne Prince, sophomore, in the triple jump.

The Lions are pleased with the way the season has unfolded but also know they need to keep improving if they want to win the MIAA championship.

“We’ve been very pleased with our performance in the outdoor season up to this point,” Vavra said. “We have had some pretty good performances early in the season, and that’s really given us a chance to train over the last couple of weeks.”

Next up for the Lions is the John McDonnell Invitational on Friday and Saturday, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The team is looking forward to the competition at the meet and to know where they are at, competitively, at the meet.

“I think that the next two weeks will tell us where the team is at,” Vavra said. “I consider these first three weeks the opening part of the outdoor season. Our focus is still on trying to improve every week, but I’ve been very pleased with the first part of the season.”