The men’s and women’s track and field teams earned first place in the Wendy’s/PSU MIAA Challenge at home on Saturday, Jan. 30.
The men compiled 178 points while Emporia State followed with 152 points and MSSU placed third with 117 points.
The women gathered 161 points followed by MSSU with 135 points and Lincoln University with 79 points.
On the men’s team, Matt Wilson broke the school record in the 600-yard run, winning the race in 1 minutes, 11.54 seconds to break Dinsdale Morgan’s 25-year-old mark of 1:11.85 from 1995.
Several competitors won events. Konner Swenson won the shot put and Cameron Wright won the pole vault. Swenson and Wright earned NCAA provisional qualifying marks while Swenson picked up a second PQ mark with his second-place finish in the weight throw. Tim Johnson added another individual event victory in the high jump.
In other action, Cameron Johnson placed second in the pole vault while Raymond Brass finished second in the 60-meter hurdles. Tevin Wright-Rose finished second in the 60 meters and Colin Webber placed second in the 800 meters. Graham Hudelson finished second in the 600-yard run. The 4x400m relay team of Trey Mooney, Brass, Hudelson and Bailey Stone placed second. Mooney also earned third place in the long jump. Makai Blades placed third in the 200 meters, Jared Becker placed third in the 60-meter hurdles, and Chase Dalton earned third place in the weight throw.
On the women’s team, Camryn Williams won the shot put and the weight throw. Haven Lander won the pole vault with an automatic qualifying mark. Hannah Honeyman placed first in the 3,000 meters and Auna Childress added another victory in the triple jump with a PQ mark.
In other action, Asia Anderson secured second place in the long jump and the triple jump. Trace Mosby placed second in the 60-meter hurdles and third in the long jump. Megan Eckman placed second in the high jump and Marissa Dick placed second in the 3,000 meters.
Paige Rantz earned third in the pole vault, Monica Jirak placed third in the weight throw, and Madelyn Marquez finished third in the 60-meter hurdles.
Lander, a graduate student in human resources, was proud of the team for their effort and their victories.
“I think that the team did amazing this past weekend,” Lander said. “It’s always a lot of fun to go out and compete with all of your teammates but it’s even better to watch them all excel in what they do.”
Williams, a junior in recreation, hospitality, and sports management, also thought the team did really well at the competition.
“I think the team did amazing, a lot of personal bests and effort (was) put into that weekend,” Williams said. “Also, I noticed a ton of support from other group events getting to know each other more personally and I think that’s amazing.”
The collaborative effort of the team was one of the highlights of the competition, according to Lander.
“It felt really good to see where our team is at as a whole,” Lander said. “Seeing all of us come together and put enough points together to put us on top was a really good feeling. It gives us a good look at where we’ll be for conference so that is always really nice to see.”
With the MIAA Indoor Championships coming up, as well the NCAA DII Indoor Championships right around the corner, Williams thought that winning this competition was a good way to “set the tone for conference,” among other things.
“…I think it’ll boost the confidence in some (competitors) and show anyone new to the team that we show up to win,” Williams said.
Williams won the shot put and the weight throw with best marks.
“Winning those events this weekend helped boost my confidence but lit a motivation within me to work harder in order to be ready for the next level coming up…” Williams said.
Lander is a four-time All-America in the pole vault.
“I’m always grateful when I can put another win under my belt,” Lander said. “It feels good to be able to see those accomplishments and see all your hard work pay off, as well as seeing where you need to improve in the future. It always is a good feeling though.”
Up next for track and field is the Bearcat Open on Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6 in Maryville. After that, the Gorillas will host the 6th annual Indoor Gorilla Classic. Following that is the MIAA Indoor Championships on Saturday, Feb. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 28 and then the NCAA DII Indoor Championships on Friday, March 12.
“(I’m) just excited to see where we end up at conference,” Williams said.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“This is definitely a rewarding sport,” Lander said. “You will always have your highs and lows throughout your years, but you will always overcome those hard times that you are having and become successful. I am very lucky and grateful to be able to do what I am doing.”