Lions stay on track for CMSU

Cliff Erwin

From one elite meet to the next tough meet, that’s what the Lions and Lady Lions track and field teams face each week.

Feb. 14 was the University of Arkansas Invitational where 15 Lions attended; Saturday, the Missouri Southern squads head to the University of Oklahoma Invitational.

At AU, Southern’s men had to face off against some of the best in the college and professional worlds.

Arley Smith and Jamie Tallman improved in the weight throw competition, throwing 59-5 and 53-9 respectively. In the 5,000-meter run, the Lions were able to place third, ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th. Petri Kykyri and Magnus Holmstrom led the group with times of 14:43 and 14:57, respectively. Michael Stewart jumped 47-9 in the triple jump, earning him a provisional mark. Brian Lyons ran in the mile, finishing third in his heat with a time of 4:14. He will need 4:12 to go to Boston in March for the national championships.

Seth Isringhausen improved his height in the pole vault to 16-4 ¾, making him third in the nation. Kyle Rutledge duplicated his previous vault of 16, and Chris Turner vaulted at 15-7, which is two inches lower than he has done before this season.

All three coaches have been busy at work deciding how they are going to attack the conference championship, which is right around the corner.

“If we’re going to win it (MIAA), we’ve got to have everything right,” Rutledge said.

“I’m looking very optimistic, but we have to make sure that on the coaching staff that we have all our ducks in a row. The athletes need to do the rest.”

For the Lady Lions, they also only took a limited number of athletes to AU.

“The whole intent for going to the University of Arkansas, for us, was to put some of our best people in a situation where they could have great competitive forces and at the same time, hopefully, pushed them to some of their highest and best performances,” said Lady Lions head coach Patty Vavra.

At Arkansas, Mary Garrett set a school record, beating her previous one, in the 400 meter with 55.90.

Danee Jones bettered her mark in the weight throw, tossing to a length of 58-11 ¾.

Melissa Turner vaulted 10-8 at Arkansas, getting closer to the 11-foot mark.

At OU the men and women will see the same caliber of competition they saw two weeks ago there.

OU is a sprint-oriented team, the heat is turned up to help in their races.

For distances runners, it is more difficult.

Vavra is counting on a more well-balanced team to step up this week and prepare accordingly to what is to come at the MIAA meet.

“When you get close to conference, you should have to be able to handle the pressure, and that’s what it’s all about,” Rutledge said.