‘Another day at the office’ leads to No. 20 ranking


Senior Anthony Price out paces a rival Pittsburg State University runner in the 400-meter dash at the Bill/Bob Laptad Invite on April 25, 2014. Price placed fourth in the event with a time of 48.90. Price also competed in the 4×100 meter dash where he ran the second leg and the team finished in third place with a time of 42.04.

The Missouri men’s track and field team climbed 31 spots to No. 20 in the latest Division II national rankings released Tuesday. The team’s ascension comes after a strong performance last weekend at the Gorilla Classic hosted by Pittsburg State University.

Senior sprinter Jeff Fraley was the straw that stirred the Lions’ drink. The Waynesville High School grad won the 200 meters with a provisional qualifying time of 20.99 seconds. He went on to run the anchor leg of the 4×100 relay team consisting of him, Desmond Williams, Jazz Allen and Erron Holley that finished first. The team’s provisional time of 40.56 seconds is a new school record and currently ranks fourth in the nation. On Monday, the MIAA named Fraley its men’s Track Athlete of the Week.

“Honestly, it was just another day at the office,” said relay team member Jazz Allen. “We all went out there expecting to run a better time than the previous week and watching our anchor Jeff cross the finish line, we all knew we had run a pretty good time. After the time posted and we found out that what we had just ran placed up top 5 in the nation was just icing on the cake, it was euphoric.”

In other action, junior Nathan Henry won the 5K, and senior Darion Boure claimed second in the triple jump with a provisional leap of 49-07.25.

The Lions now turn their attention to a busy upcoming weekend. The team will have a trio of distance runners competing today at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., traditionally one of the most prestigious events in the sport. The Lions also have members of the team at the KU Relays in Lawrence and throwers at the Mule Relays in Warrensburg today. Several members of the team will also jockey for position tomorrow when they participate in the Dewey Allgood Invitational in Rolla.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we put our guys in a position to be successful by getting them to the meets where they can win,” said head coach Bryan Schiding. “That’s why we go to all these meets.”

“There’s definitely a lot of bigger runners at Mt. Sac, so it takes a lot of pressure off me,” said senior Eric Schott. “I know I don’t have to worry about winning the race or making sure I keep the pace, there are plenty of other people to do that for me. I just have to get in the middle of the pack and stay there, and I will run a fast time.”

Some Lions will serve double duty, competing on back to back days.

“I will treat this opportunity like conference,” said Boure. “We compete for two to three days so I can get the feeling of knowing I can compete at 100 percent on both days. The triple jump takes a lot out of a person, but we are trained to take a lot in.”