New Meet Record Highlight of MU Relays Day One
COLUMBIA - It was a chilly day for Mizzou Track & Field as they kicked off their outdoor season at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium with the Missouri Relays. Despite the less-than ideal conditions, the Tigers were able to deliver some solid performances, including a new Missouri Relays meet record in the men's 3k steeplechase by junior Chris Spudic. His performance makes the Tigers three-for-three in new home meet records this year, as top marks fell at the Missouri Invitational and Collegiate Challenge during the indoor season.
Spudic, who came to Missouri this year from Harper College as a five-time NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-American, including the 2012 3k steeplechase National Champion title, finished tonight's race in 9:13.46, taking down the previous record of 9:21.91 by Kevin Baileu (Illinois State) in 2000. This was also a new personal record (PR) for Spudic, improving upon his previous top mark of 9:40.51 by 27 seconds.
"It was more than I expected. I just wanted to come in and PR, I wanted to place well, and just get back into outdoor racing mode," Spudic said. "It gives me confidence and reiterates that 'yes, this is the event, this is why you're here'. [I hope to] eventually run sub-9:00, get into First Round of Nationals."
Also under the meet record was freshman Sam Dickerson, who won the event last year as an unattached athlete. He finished with a 13-second PR of 9:16.69.
The 5000m run also saw some big pr performances, starting with the winning time of 14:20.05 by junior Hayden Legg. Legg battled it out with a South Dakota State competitor before laying the hammer down with 400m to go, earning his first collegiate win and a 19-second personal best in the process.
"The men's 5k was an electric race, quite frankly," said Cross Country/Distance Coach Joe Lynn, currently in his second year at Missouri. "That was a huge confidence-builder for Hayden. He can run with the best 10k runners in the country I think, if he continues to develop as he has. So really excited to see that breakthrough."
Legg's previous top time was during the indoor season, when he finished the 5000m run at the SEC Championships in 14:39.10. Legg, primarily a 10k runner, entered the race with a previous outdoor best of 14:47.56.
"I'm just happy. I knew I had the potential [for a performance like this], I just didn't know it was going to happen tonight," Legg said. "It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and the 10k. I had good competition, which definitely helped a lot."
Senior Phil Bascio also walked away from the men's 5k run with a new PR, finishing sixth in 14:40.80. This bests his previous top time of 15:17.86 by 37 seconds, earned in Kentucky this past indoor season.
The women's distance crew also had its share of successes, including a win in the women's 3k steeplechase by sophomore Courtney Wood. In the 5000m run, freshmen Courtney Brown and Maria Effinger claimed second and third, respectively. Brown's time of 17:31.37 was enough for a new PR, taking down her previous best of 17:57.04, earned while running unattached last year at the Kansas Relays. Effinger was close behind in 17:31.68.
Freshmen Faith Summey and Sam Garrett earned sixth and eighth, respectively, with Garrett besting her indoor 5k time with an 18:11.91 finish.
"Our last few weeks of training have been really geared towards strength again. So I knew coming in that we were going to be really strong. The same thing happened last year at this point, we came in very strong and ran fast, and just got faster as the year went on," Lynn said. "I'm really happy with the guys in the steeplechase, Courtney ran well by herself in the steeple to win it. In the women's 5k, we had three out of four PRs there, and two really big PRs up front for [Courtney and Maria]. Those were big breakthroughs and really big confidence builders."
Freshman Chelsie Stevens took the win in the women's 200m, running a PR of 24.60. This tops her previous top mark of 25.77 from indoor. Juniors Cara Forte and Lauren Flaker claimed the second and third spots in the 200m, running 24.77 and 24.92, respectively. This was a new outdoor personal best for Forte, knocking down her previous top time of 24.93.
Senior Kelcy Vanarsdall, sophomore Ser Whitaker, and freshman Kyle Smith all qualified for the 100m/110m hurdle finals, set to go off tomorrow.
The Tigers also found success off the track, beginning with junior Bethany Pfeiffer's win in the women's hammer throw. Pfeiffer finished first overall with a new PR of 55.35m (181-7), besting her previous top mark of 53.50m (175-6.25) by just over six feet. Mizzou claimed the next five spots in the competition, with sophomore Kearsten Peoples finishing second, senior Laura Greenfield third, senior Megan Collins fourth, sophomore Jill Rushin fifth, and senior Cortni Ervin in sixth. Rushin's fifth mark of 50.48m (165-7) was the second PR mark of the competition for the Tigers, as she overcame her previous top throw of 49.89m (163-8).
Sophomore Brian Duncan took the win for the men's hammer throw, marking a new PR of 62.55m (205-2) to best his previous record throw of 59.66m (195-8.75). Freshman Nick Sublett claimed third in his first hammer throw competition as a Tiger, and junior Alex McDonald finished in fifth.
Mizzou saw another win in the javelin throw, with Whitaker throwing a new PR of 55.07m (180-8) to top the competition.
The Tigers claimed a pair of wins in the women's jumps, as sophomore Emilee Dailey and freshman Kerri Furbert took home top spots in the high jump and long jump, respectfully. Dailey's 1.69m (5-6) finish beats out her previous top mark of 1.66m (5-5.25)
Competition will continue Saturday at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium, with day two of the MU Relays commencing at 10:00 a.m. with the high school girls' discus, and then 11:00 a.m. with the collegiate 1500m run.