Lions work toward conference goals

Matt Barney, Sports writer

Southern’s women’s track and field team successfully competed in two separate meets last weekend. Most of the team was in action at the Oklahoma Baptist Invite in Norman while others competed at the Tyson Invitational hosted by the University of Arkansas.

Senior runner Kaitlyn Belisle was in Fayetteville where she placed third in the 5k with a time of 17:21.26, a provisional mark.

“It was a good race but not as fast as I was hoping to run at this point in the season,” said Belisle. “Hopefully I can run faster at the conference meet.”

Meanwhile, in Norman, a pair of Lion juniors picked up second place finishes and provisional qualifiers, Melanie Bower with a height of 12-02.75 in the pole vault, and Kaylee Morgan in the long jump with a distance of 18-05.00.

“My performances in Oklahoma were very promising,” said Morgan. “I didn’t long jump as well as I wanted to but I made improvements in the areas I have been working on. Now I have this week to put it all together and next week to perfect it at conference. High jump is also a work in progress. Each week I am getting closer and closer to getting the perfect technique over the bar.” 

Senior Shelby Newell finished fourth in the long jump.

“Oklahoma has always been a great place to jump, so I came in with high expectations,” said Newell. “I ended up with my best performance for the season in the triple jump and have consistently been getting better in both triple and long jump.“

The Lions’ fourth and final provisional of the meet came from freshman thrower Victoria Foley, who placed second with a distance of 54-05.50.

The Lions compete today at the Nebraska Tune Up in Lincoln and the UCM invite in Warrensburg, but most of the team is looking forward to the MIAA Indoor Championship, also in Warrensburg, Feb. 27-March 1.

“My teammates and I do feel pressure to push ourselves and compete well in the conference meet, but we are prepared,” said junior Emily Paullus. “We trust our coaches and our training, we know that we are going to do well. We have spent countless hours on and off the track gearing up for this meet. There is pressure, but it is nothing that we haven’t dealt with before, and we are prepared to handle it when the time comes to perform.”