Lions pick up 4 provisionals, prep for Tyson Invitational

Andrew Ford

After hovering below the 12-foot barrier for years, Ciara Lipsey, a junior from Wichita, leaped six inches higher Saturday afternoon.

Besting her personal record by six inches, she also grabbed a provisional height and a second-place finish.

Seven track athletes have notched provisional numbers after the Radio Shack Invitational Saturday inside Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

On the last day of the meet, four athletes ran away with provisional numbers including Lipsey, junior thrower Emilie Miesler, junior distance runner Kimi Shank and freshman distance runner Seth Hackney.

Provisional athletes earn trips to the Div. II indoor track national championships in March.

Russell Ellis, senior graduate assistant, has worked on simplifying jumps with Lipsey during her training.

“I try to simplify,” Lipsey said. “It’s (pole vaulting) a really complex mental sport. When you think too much, you get in deep, then it sinks you.”

For the Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas this weekend, 14 athletes were invited. However, due to a flu virus circulating through the team, Men’s Head Coach Tom Rutledge said two or three may not make the trip.

“You like to have a close team, but sometimes when you start spreading the virus around you don’t know if that’s too close,” he said.

“My responsibility is to get them healthy. All these young kids think they’re invincible.”

The team used last weekend as a tune-up for several athletes to hone in their times for next weekend’s meet in Fayetville.

Rutledge said generally they will have runners do longer distances in the early parts of the season to increase their endurance and shorter races toward the end of the season to increase food speed.

The 3,000-meter run had a herd of Southern runners leading the pack.

Dustin Dixon, Jarkko Jarvenpaa, Brennon Benkert and Josh Mathis placed first, second, third and fifth, respectively.

Benkert cut three seconds off his personal record to notch an 8:47.

Freshman Seth Hackney and sophomore Kyle Hancock were a 1-2 underclassmen punch for Southern in the shot put, placing first and second with throws of 52-feet 8 inches and 50-feet-7 and a half inches, respectively.

Seager Wilson and Corey Shumate placed first and third in the pole vault with jumps of 15-feet-1 and one half inches and 14-feet -7 and one half inches, respectively.

Aki Nummmela, won the 800m run with a time of 1:56.60.