Tigers Round Out Weekend with Strong Multi-Event Showing
OXFORD, MS - The Tigers rounded out the weekend at Ole Miss with some stellar performances in the multi-event competitions, as the five Tigers head home with 21 PR's, six individual event wins, and one overall winner in the women's heptathlon with sophomore Katrine Haarklau. Haarklau took home the win with 5,374 points over the weekend, putting her at No. 12 in the national rankings as released by the Track & Field Results Reporting System (TFRRS) and No. 7 on the All-Time Top Ten list for Mizzou.
"We are in a great place with our performances right now," said Combined Events and Associate Head Coach Dan Lefever. "To give relevance to Katrine's point total, she would have been a blink away from the national meet last year with 5,374 [points]. We didn't have favorable winds in some of the events, so we can expect more from her."
Haarklau made her presence known early in the competition with a win in the first event: the 100m hurdles. Haarklau cruised to a 14.28 PR to earn 939 points. Senior Kelcy Vanarsdall also earned a PR in the event, taking eighth with a time of 15.35.
The Tigers finished 1-2-3 in the shot put later that day, as Haarklau once again earned a PR to take the win, throwing 13.35m (43-9.75). She was followed by sophomore Morgan Whitson in second, who also PR'ed with a toss of 12.51m (41-0.50), and Vanarsdall in third.
Day one ended with a final PR performance from Whitson, who hit 26.65 in the 200m to place tenth. The Tigers left the track on Saturday with Haarklau sitting in second, Whitson in fourth, and Vanarsdall in eighth overall.
Haarklau added another win on Sunday, taking first in her strongest event of the heptathlon: the javelin. She is currently ranked at No. 24 in the nation for the open event. The day concluded with the 800m run, where Vanarsdall finished second in 2:18.59, Haarklau took fourth with an outdoor PR of 2:21.67, and Whitson finished ninth with a final PR of 2:31.98.
"Morgan and Kelcy are in a great place at this point in the season," said Lefever. "We will tweak some things, get some quality training, and they will be ready for total point breakthroughs."
Haarklau took the win by a decisive 133 points, Whitson remained in fourth with a final tally of 4,768, and Vanarsdall moved up into sixth with 4,614 points.
"I am just very happy in general. My last heptathlon was in 2010, so it is just amazing to be back on track and be competing in the heptathlon again," Haarklau said. "[Moving forward] I'm just working on staying relaxed and focused. I hope to make it into Nationals for the heptathlon, pole vault, and javelin."
On the men's side, sophomore Ser Whitaker had an overall PR performance of 6,865 points in the decathlon to place second in the competition and take the No. 7 spot on the All-Time Top Ten list. Fellow-sophomore Tim Gilman finished 12th overall, earning six PR's en-route.
"Ser's decathlon is a huge step forward for him," Lefever said. "It is his second actual decathlon and he showed great presence throughout the ten events, a lot more than you would expect from someone so new to the decathlon."
Both men started the competition with PR performances in the 100m dash, where Whitaker finished first in 10.97 and Gilman eighth in 11.58. They followed that up with another pair of personal bests in the long jump, as Whitaker leapt to a fourth place finish in 6.75m (22-1.75) and Gilman to an eighth place finish in 6.33m (20-9.25).
The string of personal bests continued to the shot put, where Gilman placed second with a toss of 12.70m (41-8), and Whitaker follwed in third with 12.20m (40-0.50).
Whitaker rounded out day one five-for-five in PR performances, taking home new personal bests in both the high jump and 400m dash. He marked in at 1.87m (6-1.50) for fifth in the high jump, and hit 50.29 for third in the 400m. He came out of Saturday in second place with 3,729 points.
Sunday morning started much the same for Whitaker, as he finished first in the 110m hurdles with a PR of 15.15. Gilman followed that up with a PR in the discus, placing fifth with a mark of 32.80m (107-7). Whitaker hit another PR and took another event win later in the day with the javelin, marking in at 57.86m (189-10).
"I feel really good. This is my first time competing healthy since my senior year of high school and to cap it off with a series of PR's is a huge confidence booster moving into the second half of the outdoor season," Whitaker said. "This experience will be huge for competing in the decathlon at SEC's and further in my career. I hope to make it into the top 24 in the nation and compete at nationals."
The two Tigers ended the weekend with another pair of PRs in the 1500m, with Gilman finishing fourth in 4:45.95, and Whitaker timing in at 5:04.01.