Lions running wild

Lions running wild

Willie Brown | The Chart

Lions running wild

The Missouri Southern women’s track and field team competed in the Jayhawk Classic Friday, Jan. 30, at the University of Kansas’ Anschutz Pavilion in Lawrence. The Lions picked up three individual wins, a provisional mark, and three second-place finishes in their fourth meet of the indoor season.

Sophomore Emily Harris won the afternoon mile race with a blazing time of 4:53.32, the second-fastest mile in MSSU indoor history.

“I sat on the girl in first for six laps then just took off for the last two,” said Harris. “The rest of the year should go really well. This win sets me up for a great season.”

The Farmington, Mo., native’s time was just 1.73 seconds off the school record set by 2014 Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Miklovic, who ran a 4:51.59 at the 2002 Division II National Championship.

Harris’ time ranks third in the country after being adjusted for nationals and is the top non-AQ mark in Division II.  

“It was an outstanding race,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “She just seemed to get into a zone with a tempo that allowed her to have a great finish.”

Other winners included junior Dana Robertson in the a.m. mile race and senior Kaitlynn Belisle in the 3 kilometer.

Robertson finished with a time of 5:17.79, giving the Lions a sweep in the mile while Belisle had a time of 10:08.09, her first attempt competing in the event this season.

“It was a really good race, and I felt great running it,” said Belisle, “but I know I can run much better. I’m disappointed that the girls in my race weren’t faster so it could push me to run well under 10 minutes. I think I could run at least 9:50, I just need to be in a race that will push me harder.”

Second place finishers included freshman Allie Heckemeyer in the 600-yard run, senior Amber White in the 400 meter, and senior Dora Eastin in the 800 meter. Heckemeyer finished with a time of 1:29.67; White with an adjusted time of 46.76, a provisional mark; and Eastin with a time of 8:21.47.

“I should have started out faster and tried to latch on to her [the winner],” said Eastin.  “I am not pleased with what I got because I was shooting for an 8:18 and I had an 8:21. The second half of the race is what kills me; I need to focus on that part more than anything.”

The Lions are at home this weekend for the two-day MSSU Lion Open that starts today at 9 a.m. inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

“Having a home meet in the middle of the season is a giant advantage,” said Vavra. “You don’t have to travel on a bus for three hours and spend the night somewhere; that’s enormous. It should be a big event for us.”

The event has been dubbed the “Pride for Pink Meet” as part of the women’s athletic programs initiative with Freeman Health Systems to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. The program has already raised over $10,000. Attendees can donate upon entering the building.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for people to come out and support an amazing cause,” said Vavra.