Mizzou Track Concludes Missouri Relays
COLUMBIA -- The Tigers wrapped up day two of the Missouri Relays on Saturday afternoon at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium, pushing through the cold and the wind to bring home another set of exciting performances. Ten new personal record performances came out of Saturday's competitions, along with eleven event wins. This brings the tally up to 23 new PRs for the weekend, and 21 first place finishes for the black and gold as they kick off the new season.
"The biggest thing I'm impressed by is the heart of the team, the commitment, the desire, and the willingness not to be deterred by the elements," said Head Coach Brett Halter. "These are really difficult conditions for track and field. But we had a whole truckload of personal bests, all-time bests, and it shows you where their desire is."
The short, explosive events are certainly the most difficult to navigate in the cold weather, but the Tigers perservered and competed with conviction Friday and Saturday to earn six new PRs in the 400m dash and under. Friday saw the indoor 60m dash School Record Holder, freshman Chelsie Stevens, back on the track for the 200m dash. She took the win and bested her indoor top time with a 24.60 finish, and was followed closely by juniors Cara Forte and Lauren Flaker in second and third, respectively.
Stevens and Flaker were both back in action on Saturday with the 100m dash, where they took first and second, respectfully. Stevens finished in 11.80, and Flaker earned a new PR with her final time of 11.93. Freshman Ayo Adewole and sophomore Jasmine Webb claimed second and third in the 400m dash, with Adewole besting her indoor time with a 58.35 final time.
Finishing out the women's sprints were the hurdle races, starting with senior Kelcy Vanarsdall in the 100m hurdles. Primarily a multi-event athlete, Vanarsdall kept busy this weekend competing in the hurdles, 4x400m relay, high jump, shot put, and javelin. She earned a PR mark in the javelin (38.57m / 126-06) and tied her high jump best (1.50m / 4-11) on Friday and ran to a new 100m hurdles PR (15.40) on Saturday, just slipping under her previous best by 0.01 seconds.
In the 400m hurdles, sophomore Sha'Rone Greenlaw ran to the win and a new PR time of 1:03.10, also just nudging out her previous best of 1:03.16.
On the men's side, freshman Kyle Smith claimed the win in the 110m hurdles, while junior Andy Schuckenbrock was just beat out of the win in the 400m hurdles by 0.03 seconds. Smith also competed in the discus and javelin throws, placing fifth in the latter.
The mid-distance crew continued the streak of strong performances laid down by junior Chris Spudic and freshman Sam Dickerson in the 3k steeplechase, and junior Hayden Legg and freshman Courtney Brown in the 5000m on Friday night.
The 1500m run kicked off Saturday's track events, with sophomore Liz Reida and senior Blake Irwin taking the wins in the women's and men's races, respectfully. Irwin, primarily an 800m runner, took the win in 3:51.81 to just miss his PR of 3:51.66, made at the Tom Botts Invitational last year. Fellow-senior Dan Quigley finished second, and sophomore Merid Seleshi third.
"I am happy with my performance, it is always nice to get a good race to start the season off. It was cold and windy, so when the weather decides to cooperate I have a good feeling that things are only going to get better," said Irwin. "I have a lot of major goals ahead of me. When the SEC meet arrives, I will be going all-out to win. I have a lot to prove to people and myself, and with the solid performance today I know I am headed in the right direction."
In the women's 1500m, senior Bailey Belvis was just behind Reida for second, and freshman Courtney Brown returned to finish fourth after earning a PR of 17:31.37 in the 5000m run Friday night. Junior Chelsea Chrisman joined Reida in the top spot with her first collegiate win in the 800m run.
Saturday's throwing events also had a lot to live up to after strong showings by both the men and women Friday afternoon. Sophomores Brian Duncan and Ser Whitaker took home a pair of wins on the men's side Friday night with the hammer and javelin throws, respectively. Both earned new PRs in the events, with Whitaker overtaking his previous best mark of 52.99m (173-10) with a toss of 55.07m (180-8) and Duncan making the huge jump from 59.66m (195-8.75) to 62.55m (205-2.5).
On the women's side, Friday saw first place finishes from senior Bethany Pfeiffer in the weight throw and sophomore Katrine Haarklau in the javelin. Pfeiffer finished with a new PR mark of 55.35m (181-7) and was followed closely by sophomore Kearsten Peoples in second, senior Laura Greenfield in third, senior Megan Collins in fourth, sophomore Jill Rushin in fifth, senior Cortni Ervin in sixth, and junior Katie Evans in seventh. Rushin's top throw of 50.48m (165-7) was also good for a new PR, overcoming her best mark of 49.89m (163-8) from last year.
The women claimed the top spots in both throwing events on Saturday as well, with Ervin and Peoples taking wins in the shot put and discus throw, respectfully. Rushin finished second in the discus with another PR performance of 48.64m (159-7), and sophomore Morgan Whitson, primarily a multi-event athlete, had a big fourth-place finish in her first discus competition since high school. She adds that mark to her PR performance in the javelin on Friday, where she overcame her previous top mark of 32.19m (105-7.25) with a throw of 34.74m (114-0).
The women earned first-place finishes in all three Mizzou jumps competitions, starting on Friday with freshman Kerri Furbert and sophomore Emilee Dailey claiming the titles in the long jump and high jump, respectfully. Sophomore Maggie Givens continued the trend on Saturday with her win in the pole vault.
The Tigers will look for some better weather next weekend as they head down to Fayetteville, AR, on March 30 for the Razorback Spring Invitational.
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