Southern still just warming up

Junior Emily Paullus takes flight during the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invite on April 25, 2014. Paullus finished 12th respectively while the Lions picked up nin provisional marks overall.

Willie Brown | Contributor

Junior Emily Paullus takes flight during the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invite on April 25, 2014. Paullus finished 12th respectively while the Lions picked up nin provisional marks overall.

Springtime in the Ozarks has officially returned, marking the beginning of the Missouri Southern women’s track and field team’s 2015 outdoor season. The Lions returned to action last weekend at the PSU Wendy’s Invite in Pittsburg, Kan., and the Washington University Invite in St. Louis.

“It was a good start,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “Any first meet is very telling; it was a good opportunity to measure where we are right now. I would give us an A for effort but overall I thought the performance was closer to a B … We have still have some room for improvement.”

The Lions sent a pair of distance runners to St. Louis, where sophomore Emily Harris won the 5k with a provisional time of 17:10.07. Senior Kaitlyn Belisle finished sixth.

“I was in a race with a couple girls that I could run with the whole time,” said Harris. “When it got to the last couple laps, I had to make a decision to go or sit back, so I just went for it.”

Elsewhere, junior Kaylee Morgan won the long jump with a distance of 19-00.75, a provisional qualifying mark. Fellow junior Brittani Reagan finished third.

“It felt very rewarding,” said Morgan. “I’ve been working really hard on getting all the little things together to get a big jump. It’s a little early to say I will be at the outdoor nationals this year, but I can say that this is a great start toward that goal.”

Junior pole vaulter Melanie Bower placed second with a provisional height of 12-02, while freshman thrower Victoria Foley placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 142-05 and threw the hammer 156-01, good for seventh.

“As far as a first meet I did pretty well, but overall I wasn’t very pleased with how I did,” said Foley. “It’s early in the outdoor season and there is still a lot I need to work on.”

The Lions will try to improve upon their No. 32 national ranking this weekend. The majority of the team will compete at the SBU Bearcat Classic in Bolivar, while the throwers will head to Emporia, Kan., for the Emporia State Relays.