Team heads toward elite Arkansas meet

Tausha Cooke, freshman, participates in the 200-meter dash during the Feb. 8 meet.

Tausha Cooke, freshman, participates in the 200-meter dash during the Feb. 8 meet.

The Lady Lions got a taste of the conference championship meet as all but one team from the MIAA came to the Baymont Inn/Fazoli’s Open Invitational.

The team placed seventh overall, placing fourth out of the MIAA. On Friday, the team will be sending some athletes to the University of Arkansas as the rest of the team prepares for the Feb. 22 competition at the University of Oklahoma.

Feb. 7-9 the Lady Lions came away from the Invitational meet with four provisional marks, two by Danee Jones, one by Charmain Kent, and one by Mary Garrett. In the weight throw, Jones beat her own school record again with a toss of 58-10.

Patty Vavra, head coach, was pleased with Jones’ performance and thinks that with a little technique help, she will improve even more.

With Kent’s provisional in the triple jump of 38-1, she will now be in the top 12 in the nation.

Garrett dropped her time in the 400-meter dash by a second and a half by placing fifth with a time of 57.61 seconds.

Melissa Turner also had a good vaulting day, missing the 11 foot mark by a small margin. Alisha Adams also placed second in the 800-meter run.

“We’ve been very pleased with the leadership that they (the upperclassmen) have been able to take on,” Vavra said. “If you have the patience to stay in the program and keep putting in the work for a number of years, you will continue to improve year after year.”

Vavra is also pleased with the freshmen on the team because they keep improving every week.

“The team performed pretty well; I think that everyone improved from the last two meets,” Garrett said. “The team is starting to come together.”

Only some athletes from the team will be heading to the elite meet at Arkansas. These include: Jones in the shot put and weight throw; Adams in the 800 meter; Kent in the triple jump; Garrett in the 60-meter hurdles and possibly in the 400-meter dash; Turner in the pole vault; and freshman Iashia Castle in both the long and triple jumps.

“It’s really exciting (to get to go to Arkansas),” Garrett said. “I haven’t really competed in a meet that is going to have this many elite athletes.”

The team members not traveling to Arkansas will continue to practice on the weekend to prepare for the meet at Oklahoma.