Weekend offers elite competition


John Davidson | The Chart

Senior sprinter Jeff Fraley pushes past the rest of the field during the 60 meter dash, running a 6.76 second time, which earned him the top honor. Fraley led the Lions as the team picked up two victories during the MSSU Open on Jan. 17 in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

DI bound: track athletes pay visit to Rock Chalk Nation

The Missouri Southern men’s track and field team traveled to Warrensburg Friday for the annual UCM Invite hosted by the University of Central Missouri.

The early season meet was the Lions’ third of the young 2014/15 indoor campaign.

It was held on the same track where the conference championship will be contested next month, giving the Lions a chance to familiarize themselves with the facility.

However, several key members of the team did not compete due to injury or fatigue.

The only Southern win came from senior jumper Darion Boure, who won the triple jump with a distance of 47-07, followed by freshman Kennan Harrison, who placed second with a provisional jump of 47-05.25.

Sophomore Bryan Burns placed second in the weight throw with a provisional distance of 57-09.75, Burns also finished third in the shot put with a distance of 47-06.25.

Senior co-captain Jacob Rowe leaped into fourth place in the long jump with a distance of 22-01.00.

“This time of year is really about training and getting a couple races in,” said head coach Bryan Schiding. “It’s more of a training exercise as opposed to going out there and trying to win a championship, because that doesn’t really matter until the end of February. Most of our guys will return this weekend.”

The Lions head to Lawrence, Kan., today for the Jayhawk Classic at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion, where they will compete against Division I teams and athletes from around the world.

“DI meets used to be really intimidating, but once you hear their training schedule and compete against them, you realize it’s not like they’re unbeatable,” said Rowe. “We compete against DI, ju-cos and pros; you have to assume everyone is on their A game, so you have to compete with yours if you want to be relevant.”

Senior co-captain Jeff Fraley says most people think Division I athletes are on a different level from DII competitors, but in track and field there is not as big a performance gap as one might think.

“On many different occasions teammates have beaten DI athletes,” he said. “At KU last year I was second in the 60-meter and 200-meter, but this year I want to win. I believe that I am just as competitive as many other top sprinters in the country. These next weekends will show a better idea of the field for nationals and should demonstrate that I have just as good of a chance to be national champ as the others.”

Coach Schiding said he has the same expectations for his team competing at DI meets as he would for any other competition.

“With the exception of very few, our conference is better than most Division Is,” he said. “The competition they see on a weekly basis at our home meets is the same competition they would see at KU or Nebraska. Our guys can compete against anyone, and in multiple cases, we expect to beat them.”