MSSU Invite kicks off indoor season


Willie Brown

Clark Tanksley clears the bar in the high jump,he placed 4th at 6-7 ½ , Friday at the Williams/Laptad Invitational in 2012.

As the new semester started, Southern’s men’s and women’s track teams started competition with the 2014 MSSU Invite Jan. 10 and 11 in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Southern got a great start in the meet with a first, second and third finish in the triple jump on the way to nine titles in the final day of the meet. Sophomore Birttani Reagan won the event with a provisional distance of 38-05, while junior Amber White was second with a provisional mark of 38-03.25.

Kylie Cornman picked up a win with a strong provisional in the shot put. She hit a distance of 48-02.75 for fifth in the division.

Whitney Hardy picked up a provisional with a win in the high jump, clearing a height of 5-05.25 to move into 10th place in D-2. Shelby Sutherland was second in the high jump with a height of 5-01.25.

In the pole vault, Sydney Haase and Ashleigh McFarland placed third and fourth, respectively, both clearing a height of 11-03.75.

The men’s track and field team posted three victories and had 12 top-three finishes in the final day of the MSSU Invite. In the finals of the 60m dash Junior Jeff Fraley picked up a strong provisional, finishing in a time of 6.79 that ranks third nationally. Senior Clark Tanksley picked up a provisional in the triple jump with a second-place finish in a distance of 47-06.25.

Senior Michael Juergens earned a provisional in the pole vault with a height of 15-05.00.

Coach Patty Vavra said, “It was a good meet to open up with. Having been away from organized practice for five weeks, it was nice to shake the rust off and get things started at home makes it more comfortable.”

Next the track team will travel to Lawrence, Kan., for the Jayhawk Classic at Kansas University, and to Warrensburg, Mo., for a UCM meet. It will be the first away meet of the year.

“KU will be a big meet with very good competition,” said Vavra. “That competition is what we need to be able to hit the performance indicators that we need to make it to a national meet.”

Although an away meet does take mental preparation, the team still does have to get physically ready as well.

Junior pole vaulter Melanie Bower is currently dealing with a back injury but hopes to be back as soon as possible.

“The biggest difference with away meets is getting all of the equipment and athletes ready for the trip,” said Bower. “Some of the athletes actually leave a day early if they compete in the morning. The main thing is to make sure our minds and bodies are ready to go to compete at our best.”