Team strong from top to bottom

Andrew Webster runs the mens distance medley on Friday, Feb. 6 in Leggett and Platt Athletic Center. Thomas Zeilman, Thomas Hawkins, miles Migliara, and Andrew Webster took 4th for Missouri Southern.

Kristen Stacy/The Chart

Andrew Webster runs the men’s distance medley on Friday, Feb. 6 in Leggett and Platt Athletic Center. Thomas Zeilman, Thomas Hawkins, miles Migliara, and Andrew Webster took 4th for Missouri Southern.

Matt Barney, Sports Writer

The Missouri Southern men’s track and field team hosted the annual MSSU Lion Open Feb. 6 and 7, picking up two wins, four top three finishes, and several provisional marks.

Senior sprinter Jeff Fraley won the 200-meter in 21.71 seconds in his first attempt at that distance this year. When converted to a banked track, his time ranks second fastest in the event this season. The St. Robert, Mo., native also holds the second-fastest time in the 400, and the third-fastest time in the 60. Junior Erron Holley finished second in the 200 final with a time of 22.29.

“I was pleased with what happened out there; it shows the potential of what we’re capable of,” said head coach Bryan Schiding.

Elsewhere, freshman Kennan Harrison earned the Lions’ other win of the meet in the triple jump with a distance of 49-02.50. That mark ranks ninth nationally and is a reliable provisional mark.

On the field side, sophomore Bryan Burns claimed fifth in the weight throw with a distance of 56-09 1/4, a provisional mark.

“Our throwers are not where I want them to be; they have the potential to throw a lot farther,” said assistant coach Brian Allen. “They should be up there in the top three. Their distances right now don’t show that, but if all the stars align and they hit one just right, I think they could vie for a conference championship.”

Burns says the next two weeks leading up to the MIAA Indoor Championship on Feb. 27 are critical.

“We are a third of the way to the Triple Crown since our boys won the cross-country championship,” said Burns. “Now it’s time for our team to get this lunch and win indoor, possibly even be a top team at nationals.”

“There’s a lot of spark in this team; it’s a big difference from the beginning of the season to now,” said senior runner Adrian Todd. “At this point good things are starting to happen and the team is starting to get excited about not only their events, but the events of other teammates. We motivate each other to do better, and that makes a great team, which is what we will need leading up to the conference meet.”

The Lions have yet to debut one of their team captains, Eric Schott, who has been held out the entire indoor season due to injury.

“I’m just now starting to run every day again,” Schott said. “I’d say I’m like 70 to 75 percent at the moment. It’s been a little tough mentally, but physically I’m working out about twice as much as I would when running and just to try and keep a solid base under me. The main goal is just to be back in time for the indoor conference meet.”

The Lions minus Jeff Fraley will head to Norman, Okla., today for the Oklahoma Baptist Invite. Meanwhile, Fraley will compete today as the only Division II runner in the field at the Tyson Invitational hosted by the University of Arkansas.