MSU Track Team Picked Sixth in MVC Pre-Championship Poll
The Missouri State track and field team has been selected to finish sixth by the league coaches in this weekend's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship. The championship meet is Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, at the SIU Recreation Center in Carbondale, Ill. Defending champion Wichita State was unanimously voted to win the 2007 title. Northern Iowa was picked to finish second in the poll, followed by Indiana State, Southern Illinois, Illinois State, MSU, Drake and Bradley.
Freshman Leander Ernest is leading the Bears this season with three top-five finishes in the 400-meter dash and one win in the 800-meter run. At the University of Nebraska Husker Invitational, Ernest ran an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 54.38 in the 400-meter dash and finished second to the reigning NCAA champion, Kineke Alexander of Iowa. Her time ranks at the top of this season's Valley best list.
Last season, Missouri State finished third overall, highlighted with performances by former Bears Tracy Partain, Tanya Cyrus and Danielle Norville.
Current MSU distance specialist Carrie Vestal recorded a fourth-place finish at the 2006 league championship in the 5,000-meter run and a fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run. Kim Carter also returns this season after placing seventh in the long jump last season.