Indoor track means hot competition

Cliff Erwin

Missouri in January — cold, snowy and windy, yet warm and peaceful as well. For this reason there is an indoor track season.

And for the Lions track and field team, the season begins Friday at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

At the beginning of the fall semester, the Oklahoma Track Classic in which the Lions were to participate.

It was decided it was too early into the semester, and the athletes didn’t have enough time after the Christmas break to prepare.

The pole vaulters, however, did have an early start in Reno, Nev., for the pole vault summit, an elite invitation only camp. Seth Isringhausen, Chris Turner, Kyle Rutledge and Jimmy Littleford were invited to take part in the camp. All four paid their way by working Southern’s pole vault clinic in December.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of vaulters there, some who ranked top in the nation,” said Tom Rutledge, head coach.

“It’s a good thing for them. We’re hoping to make it an annual thing.”

Today the team hosts the Radio Shack Open Invitational and will be not only seeing its first competition of the season, but will also have to contend with many experienced athletes. Schools such as the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma, and athletes such as two-time Olympian Jason Pyra, who will be taking part in the mile and 800-meter run.

“This is going to be a tough meet…we’ve got several division one schools, that are very potent division one schools,” Rutledge said.

“It’s not just going to be an easy meet to start off, but it is nice that the division ones come to our place and that we have this type of caliber.”

Rutledge said the athletes have been training since August and are looking forward to this meet and are ready to get out and race.

“We’ve got a lot of people working hard,” said Larry Boswell, distance runner.

“Everybody is doing their part…we’ll see how everything goes…how they’ve worked so far.”

For some of the athletes, this will be the first time they have raced against collegiate competition or even taken part in an indoor track meet.

“This will be a new experience,” said Mike Dorsey, freshman distance runner.

“I’ve never run indoor before, so I’ll have to get used to all the different perspectives and shorter track. As a freshman, it’s something to look forward to, something new, and hopefully we’ll get better at throughout the year and hopefully a good experience.”

Events for the meet begin at 5 p.m. Friday until finished and the field events start at 11 a.m. and the running events begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday.