Lipsey breaks record, 6 Lions headed for national meet

Junior pole vaulter Corey Shumate gets ready for a vault during the MIAA Conference Championships Feb. 28. Shumate finished third in the event.

Jim Quist

Junior pole vaulter Corey Shumate gets ready for a vault during the MIAA Conference Championships Feb. 28. Shumate finished third in the event.

After competing in the conference meet last week, the Missouri Southern track and field teams look to improve as the national meet draws closer.

Six Lions have qualified for the meet, which will be held March 13-14 in Houston, Texas.

Juniors Kimi Shank, Ciara Lipsey, Emilie Mieseler, Channell Lloyd, and sophomore Nicole Green qualified for the women’s team. Senior Phillip Horn qualified for the men.

“I am extremely proud of these young ladies,” said Women’s Head Coach Patty Vavra. “This is the mark of a great team, when someone is not there to fulfill their role, some else steps up to do it.”

The women’s team finished second at the conference meet by a margin of 1.5 points. First-time conference contender University of Nebraska-Omaha took the title.

“We came up just a little bit short,” Vavra said. “It’s tough to swallow, but this group of young ladies showed heart and determination.”

Shank, who did not compete in the conference meet, automatically qualified for the national meet in 5,000-meter run.

Lipsey won the pole vault competition with a vault of 12 feet, four and three quarter inches.

“Ciara accomplished three things at the conference meet,” Vavra said. “She won. She qualified for the national meet, and broke the school record.”

The previous record was set by Erica Culver in the 2007 MIAA Championships. Culver’s vault was 12 feet, four and a half inches.

Mieseler qualified for nationals in the weight throw after winning the event in the conference meet. Meiseler’s throw was a distance of 56 feet, 10 and three quarter inches.

Green qualified in the shot put, while Lloyd qualified in the triple jump.

The women’s team had 22 All-MIAA performers. Senior Kara Eckard earned All-MIAA honors with a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter run, third in the mile relay, and second in the distance medley relay. Junior Courtney Waltbillig placed second in the 5,000-meter run and third in the 3,000-meter run, earning All-MIAA honors.

“Kara and Courtney stepped up for us big time,” Vavra said. “They gave everything they had.”

On the men’s side, Horn was named All-MIAA after competing in the heptathlon. He will enter the national meet ranked fourth in the nation. Horn will be the only Lion on the men’s side to attend the national meet.

“Phillip had an outstanding meet,” said Men’s Head Coach Tom Rutledge. “He competed great. We had a lot of people who were on the bubble and people who were close, but Phillip is the only one who got in.”

The team finished fifth overall in the conference meet.

Senior Seager Wilson finished second in the pole vault, while junior Corey Shumate and Horn finished third and fourth.

“They’ve been unpredictable all season,” Rutledge said. “But, they came through for us at the conference meet. Seager stepped for us and Corey vaulted well. He had a good strong third.”

Horn also finished second in the 60-meter hurdles. Sophomore Josh Mathis finished fourth in the 5,000-meter run. Mathis also ran in the mile relay and 3,000-meter run.

“Josh had three tough events,” Rutledge said. “And, he competed well in all three. He did all he could do to push through for us.”

Junior Chris Brown finished third in the high jump with a height of six feet, six and three quarter inches, earning Brown All-MIAA honors.

“Chris is jumping well,” Rutledge said. “I wish he would have made it to the national meet. He’s coming along though. He’ll be fine.”

Southern will see the return of junior high jumper Corey Reynolds in the outdoor season.

Sophomores Aki Nummela, Jarkko Jarvenpaa, Kevin Wright and junior Derek Wright earned All-MIAA honors with a third-place finish in the men’s distance medley relay.

“Right now, we’re licking our wounds,” Rutledge said. “We can’t go back and change and it. All we can do now is be a better outdoor team. We will be better for the outdoor season.”