Emotions flying high for final home event


Willie Brown | The Chart File

Junior Emily Pallus clears a hurdle as she separates from another competitor at the MSSU Lions Invite on February 2, 2013. Pallus placed in ninth qualifying with a time of 9.52.

Fred G. Hughes Stadium welcomes athletes from around the country today for Missouri Southern track and field’s final home meet of the year. The Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational has the Lion women poised for success in what will also be the last event before they travel to the MIAA Conference Championship meet next weekend.

“To come into a facility where you practice every day offers us some security and a bit of an advantage,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “We’ll also be honoring our seniors, which will be a special event that highlights these girls that have given their heart and soul to this program for four years.”

Today’s meet comes in the aftermath of a busy week for the team, where members competed in three different meets. Senior Kindra Emberton claimed 12th in the 800 meters at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., setting a personal record that ranks fifth nationally amongst Division II runners.

“I got elbowed four times by the girl next to me and got tired of it, so I took off a little faster because I didn’t want to get trapped behind her,” said Emberton. “When the bell rang, I thought to myself this is it, how bad do you want it? I found something I didn’t even know I had and just ran. It was an experience of a lifetime.”

Elsewhere, junior Melanie Bower won the pole vault with a provisional height of 12-08.00, a personal record and also fifth best in Division II this season. Junior Brittani Reagan won the long jump with a provisional distance of 19-04, while sophomore Sierra Gray won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 11:24.11, besting her previous record by five seconds.

“I hurdled some of the barriers well, but I struggled with some of them, which means there is room for improvement. I look forward to cutting my time down more,” said Gray.

Today’s meet will be emotional for many as they compete at home for the final time.

“This team has been a huge part of my life for four years, so knowing it’s almost over is going to be difficult,” said senior Shelby Newell. “I’m so lucky to have been a part of it, and I couldn’t be more proud to call Southern home.”

The team would like to invite all students, faculty, staff, and family to attend the event today. Field events begin at 11 a.m. with track starting at 3 p.m.