Mizzou Has Strong Showing at Tom Botts Invitational
COLUMBIA -- The University of Missouri Men's and Women's Track and Field teams continued their impressive seasons with a pair of great team performances at home on Saturday at the Tom Botts Invitational. On Senior Day at Audrey J. Walton Stadium, the Missouri women walked away with a dominating team victory, while the men finished a solid runner-up to Iowa.
Kearsten Peoples led the charge, winning both the shot put and hammer throw, while placing second in the discus. For her efforts, Peoples was named Most Outstanding Performer of the meet on the women's side.
The Tom Botts Invitational featured teams from Missouri, DePaul, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola (IL), and Missouri State. The meet is named in honor of Tom Botts, the University of Missouri's legendary coach who led the Tiger tracksters from 1947 to 1972. Botts left an athletic legacy which included the 1965 NCAA Indoor Track Championship, eight Big 8 Conference Titles, ninety-six Conference Champions, five National Champions, and two USA Olympians.
Peoples got the day started by throwing nearly a two-meter personal best, an effort of 58.42 meters (191'8"), for a victory in the hammer throw. Four other Tiger women placed in the top eight in the event as Melissa Coil, Cortni Ervin, Amanda Peiffer, and Bethany Pfeiffer all garnered points. Missouri continued the same dominance in the shot put.
Once again led by a meet record from Peoples with a throw of 17.10 meters (56'4.25"), Jill Rushin, Laura Greenfied, Ervin, and Katie Evans swept the top five places. Rushin's throw of 15.65 meters (51'4.25") also bettered the previous Botts Invitational meet record set in 2002. Peoples and Rushin also finished second and fifth respectively in the discus.
Tiger women mid-distance and distance runners showed some depth of their own on Saturday, winning all four of their events. 2012 Big 12 Indoor Mile Champion Laura Roxberg got her outdoor season started off on the right foot with a dominating victory in the 1,500 meters. Roxberg ran to a meet record of 4:23.91, while teammates Liz Reida and Bailey Belvis finished second and third. Reida's personal best run qualifies her for the USA Junior National Championships in the event. Freshman Courtney Wood also hit a USA Junior Nationals qualifying time in her victory in the women's 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:10.85. Landon Wachter and Aimee Bonte completed the sweep winning the 800 meters and 3,000 meters respectively.
In one of the most exciting and emotional races on Senior Day, Tiger senior Leslie Farmer just missed out on her own school record in the 400-meter hurdles in her last meet at home. Farmer ran to victory with a time of 58.10, just .04 off from her school record set earlier in the season.
Other notable performances on Saturday by the Tiger women included Lauren Flaker finishing second in the 100- meter dash with a personal best time of 11.91, second and third place finishes by Heather Green and Katrine Haarklau in the pole vault, Camille Hayes jumping to victory in the high jump, and Haarklau, Hailey Twietmeyer, and Pfeiffer placing third, fourth, and fifth in the javelin.
Missouri sophomore triple jumper Jeremy Lampley was the highlight of the day for the Tiger men on Saturday. Lampley jumped to huge personal best of 15.48 meters (50'9.5") on his third jump of the competition. The mark currently ranks Lampley 23rd in the NCAA and moved him into the top-five all time in Missouri history in the event. Finishing runner-up was teammate Jonathon Ilori with a season best of 15.10 meters (49'6.5"). Completing the Tiger dominance in the jumps was junior Malcom Pennix with a victory in the long jump. Pennix won with a leap of 7.46 meters (24'5.75").
Junior Brooks Mosier and freshman MaCauley Garton led Tiger throwers to a slew of points with victories in the shot put and javelin respectively. Mosier's throw of 17.77 meters (58'3.75") is a season best and moves him into the nation's top 35 in the event. For Garton, it was his second victory at home in as many events in his young career, as he tossed the javelin 61.73 meters (202'6") in his win.
Other highlights for the Tiger men on the day included a runner-up finish for junior Blake Irwin in the 1500 meters, senior Asa Wyatt finishing second to his teammate in the javelin, and senior Tim Opfer on the last throw of his collegiate career at home tossing a personal best of 54.44 meters (178'7") to finish second place in the discus.
In team competition, the Tiger women dominated the field, finishing with a total of 271.5 points, nearly double that of second place Iowa with 130. On the men's side, Iowa walked away on top with 252 points, while the Tiger men finished in second place with 178. To go along with Peoples as Most Outstanding Performers, Iowa junior Jordan Mullen won the honor for the men with his meet record victory of 13.88 in the 110-meter hurdles.
"It was nice to see the seniors perform really well in their last meet here at home", said Head Track & Field Coach Brett Halter. "We continue to get more consistent and better overall week in and week out. The next few weeks doesn't get any easier with us facing top competition from all over the country as our student-athletes prepare for the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Championship Rounds next month. It will be exciting to see how the team continues to perform."
Along with honoring Coach Botts on Saturday, the team also honored its eighteen graduating seniors with a ceremony following the meet. Those seniors included: Aimee Bonte, Ryan Blackwell, Melissa Coil, Leslie Farmer, Kinsey Farren, Pat Fitzgerald, Kellyn Fogarty, Sierra Gant, Phillip King, Kevin McKee, Layne Moore, Tim Opfer, Michael Pandolfo, Amanda Peiffer, Matt Pickerel, Kyle Rood, Matt Willingham, and Asa Wyatt.
Next week will serve as a busy one for Missouri, as the team splits to travel to a few meets across the country. From Wednesday through Saturday, the Tigers will be visiting Lawrence, KS for the Kansas Relays. Missouri will also again be in action on the west coast as they travel to the Los Angeles area. On Thursday and Friday the Tigers will participate in the Mt SAC Relays, and on Saturday compete in the Long Beach Invite.