Lions work to improve

Jeremiah Cook

With three meets left until the MIAA conference championships, the Missouri Southern men’s outdoor track and field team knows it does not have a lot of time left to improve.

Over the course of the season, the Lions have posted times and distances they have worked to continually improve. Seven of the team’s members have qualified for a chance to compete in the national meet in eight events.

Senior distance runner Brian Lyons is fourth nationally in the 5,000-meter run and 16th in the 1,500-meter run, and junior distance runner Paul Koehler is ranked 10th in the 5,000-meter run.

Sophomore pole vaulter Matt Campbell is the top-ranked vaulter in the nation, and junior Kyle Rutledge is ranked 13th in the same event.

Senior thrower Arley Smith is ranked twice, holding eighth in the discuss and third in the hammer throw, and junior Mika Alahaivala is ranked first in the nation in the javelin throw by more than eight feet.

As good as the Lions have been, they also know they could be better.

“We will overcome,” said Tom Rutledge, head coach. “We will establish ourselves and get there. The price to pay for greatness is awesome.”

“We’ve got a lot of guns that we didn’t have in the indoor season,” said Brian Roe, freshman runner. “And we’re only getting stronger.”

One bright spot for the Lions has been the performance of two of the runners as of late in the 800-meter event.

Senior Thomas Quaid and Roe have both come on strong as of late, and the team thinks, if things go well, the two runners will give them an added boost when it comes time for the conference meet.

“Brian Roe is probably one of the strongest freshmen that I have ever seen,” Rutledge said. “He is really starting to come on and he’s a very exciting person to watch. Thomas Quaid has a lot of experience and is really helping to bring him along.”

Rutledge believes weather and other circumstances allowing, Roe and Quaid could finish as the top two in the 800-meter run in the conference this season.

Up next for the Lions is Saturday at the Tulsa Invitational in Tulsa.