Lion women nab titles


Willis Brown/The Chart

Sophomore Traci Walker passes the baton to her teammate Kaylee Morgan at the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational on April 25, 2014 at Hughes Stadium at Missouri Southern State University.

Mid-season form sets up Lions for late season push

The Missouri Southern women’s track and field team claimed a handful of victories over the weekend as five Lions picked up wins at the Southwest Baptist University Classic in Bolivar. The team sent a smaller delegation of throwers to the Emporia State relays in Kansas, where freshman Allie Webb placed third in the discus after throwing a provisional qualifying distance of 148-1.

“The main thing that caught my eye was that there was improvement across the whole team, which is the key to having success down the road,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “It’s getting to that point in the season where we’re starting to add some intensity and decrease the volume, which means we should see times getting faster and distances going further.”

Sophomore Emily Harris set a new school record in the 1,500 meters after running a blazing fast time of 4:31.14, placing her sixth in the country. Senior Kendra Emberton was a close second, finishing only .64 seconds off Harris’ time.

“I was nervous because I hadn’t raced anything that fast since nationals,” said Harris. “I didn’t know if I had lost any speed, but I had Kindra in the race pushing me through. I wouldn’t have had a good race without her. It was cool to break the record; it’s important because I hope that seeing my records gives another girl a goal to strive for in the future.”

Other winners included junior teammates Brittani Reagan and Melanie Bower. Reagan claimed first with a provisional mark of 19-05.50 in the long jump, a mark that stands third nationally, while Bower won the pole vault at a provisional height of 12-04.00.

“I went in with a lot of confidence, so I thought I had a good chance, and I ended up being really happy with my performance,” said Raegan.

Senior Dora Eastin and sophomore Sierra Gray were the final Lion winners. Eastin grabbed the win in the 3k in only her second time running the event and the first time outdoors, while Gray achieved victory in the 3k steeple.

“I was really surprised,” said Eastin. “I started off way too fast and slowed down to let the second place girl catch up so I could pace off of her, and then I just outsprinted her the last 100 meters. I thank God for giving me the strength to finish strong because I wanted to quit so bad, but I told myself that I have stayed in front this long and I have to finish strong. I didn’t want to look like a wimp.”

The Lions jumped up 12 spots in the latest poll to No. 20 in the country. They will be back on the track tomorrow trying to go even higher when they cross the border into Kansas for the seventh Annual David Suenram Gorilla Classic in Pittsburg.