All-SEC Finishes Highlight Day Three of SEC Championships
COLUMBIA - The 20+ mph gusts whipping through Walton Stadium may have made the day a bit more difficult for the athletes, but in true Championship form they persevered, still laying down impressive performances for the Championships' third day. The Tigers certainly gave the home crowd quite the show, ending the day with a couple All-SEC finishes and a 100m dash prelim that could only come out of the SEC Championships.
"It's fun to have [home] support, it's that little boost of extra adrenaline when the crowd gets behind you. It's just like any sport, you can feel that momentum and that energy behind you," Head Coach Brett Halter said of the Mizzou supporters out in force this afternoon.
The field events started off the afternoon's competition, with sophomore Macauley Garton and senior Malcolm Pennix bringing home the Tigers' first points of the day. Garton threw 65.06m (213-5) against the win to finish 6th in the javelin competition. Pennix finished about four inches shy of his PR, marking a season's best of 7.72m (25-4) to take fifth in the field.
Next up were the All-SEC finishers, sophomores Kearsten Peoples and Katrine Haarklau. Peoples bounced back strong on her second day of competition, hitting a season's best of 54.05m (177-4) in the discus to place 2nd overall. Peoples will end out the weekend with her strongest event: the shot put.
"She's learning how to be an elite thrower, and elite throwers have short memories both day-to-day and throw-to-throw. She did just that today, just kept fighting and working to find a rhythm, and it just shows where she is with her mindset right now. I'm really proud of her," said Halter. "The shot put is her baby, it's the event that she prizes the most. I think she's in a good position."
Haarklau also hit a season's best en route to her All-SEC finish, finishing the pole vault competition in 3rd with a final height of 4.10m (13-5.25). Haarklau also got some good looks at her school record height from last year, 4.20m (13-9.25). Like Peoples, she will be back in action again tomorrow, set to compete in her other School Record event: the javelin throw.
"For her to come through like she did, she just willed it to happen. She made sure she was going to be there in the end," said Associate Head Coach Dan Lefever. "She's capable of throwing really far [tomorrow], just has to relax and execute good technique."
"I'm just happy every day I plant a pole, and finishing third was crazy. [Now] I'm looking forward to javelin," Haarklau said. "I love [the home crowd]. The bigger crowds the better, and if part of the crowd is your friends or teammates, it is even better."
Events on the track began at 3:45 p.m. with the men's and women's 1500m run, where sophomore Kenny Cushing and senior Laura Roxberg both cruised to qualifications into Sunday's finals. Roxberg is the current Missouri School Record Holder in the event after finishing 2nd in the Drake Relays two weeks ago in 4:31.53. She will go up against a packed field in the final, as four of the top ten in the nation all sit in the top seven in the nation, according to the current rankings.
Also set to hit the track in a final tomorrow is freshman Markesh Woodson who will line up against a truly world-class field in the 100m dash to chase after another All-SEC title. Woodson enters the final ranked 4th in the event, behind Olympian Isiah Young and two top-ten ranked athletes in the nation with Harry Adams and Aaron Ernest. It is set to be one of the many power-packed finals that will blaze through Walton Stadium tomorrow.
Events will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday with the women's javelin and men's triple jump.