Track and Field Bears Finish Fifth at the MVC Championships
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The pre-championships coaches' poll proved prophetic as the Track and Field Bears finished fifth at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships, as predicted, at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Wichita State took home the team championship, narrowly upsetting the defending champion Southern Illinois Salukis, 151.5 to 145.5. Indiana State and Illinois finished three-four, while the Bears' 69 points were good enough to edge Drake, UNI and Bradley. It is only the fourth time in 14 years under head coach Ronald Boyce that the Bears have finished outside of the top three.
A strong start to day-two action had the Bears looking like a top-three contender. Freshman Kimsue Grant's (Arlington, Va.) third-place finish in the triple jump combined with sophomore Jodiann Walker's 60-meter dash win to propel the Bears into third place after 10 events scored. But MSU could not keep up the pace.
It was quite the weekend for Walker. After finishing second in Saturday's 60-meter prelims with Missouri State's second-fastest time ever, 7.51, the Montego Bay, Jamaica native won Sunday's final in 7.54, which is good for the fifth-fastest time in school history. Rashida Allen (Jr., Montego Bay, Jamaica) and Corteneé Boulard (Sr., Beaumont, Texas) joined Walker in the finals and finished seventh (7.78) and eighth (7.86), respectively.
Grant's top-three finish in the triple jump came on the heels of her personal-best 39-06.50 performance. Fellow freshman Jordan Bond (Normal, Ill.) helped the Bears efforts with an eighth place, 38-06.00, finish.
Staci Nelson (Sr., Chatham, Ill.) continued her strong weekend with a sixth-place finish in the mile run, which opened up after pre-championship favorite Terry Phillips (So., Kansas City, Mo.) withdrew with a heel injury. Nelson ran a 4:58.32, her first sub-five minute mile in indoor competition.
In the 5,000-meter run, junior Stephanie Harres (Columbia, Ill.) took home seventh place with a 17:54.73, setting a personal best by more than 31 seconds.
Allen and Yaneika Malcolm earned fourth-place finishes in the 200- and 400-meter dashes. Allen ran a 24.94, while Malcolm's 400 time was 56.64.
In addition to Grant's good work in the triple jump, field scores were also earned by senior Mareneika Goffe (Montego Bay, Jamaica) and sophomore Jeláni Kelly (St. Louis, Mo.). Goffe finished second in the high jump with her best height of the 2010 indoor season, 5-07.00. Kelly notched a near personal best in the shot put, 44-09.00, and finished seventh.
A strong showing in the 3,000-meter run helped move the Track and Field Bears into fifth place after day one at the championships.
Sophomore Terry Phillips (Kansas City, Mo.) won the event with a personal-best 9:35.40, her third-straight meet with a personal best, and senior Staci Nelson (Chatham, Ill.) placed third in 9:42.83, setting a personal best by nearly 20 seconds. The duo, now Missouri State's third and fourth all-time performers in the event, combined for 16 of the Bears' 20 day-one points (Phillips 10, Nelson 6). The top-three finishes also ensure that Phillips and Nelson will be named All-MVC performers for the indoor season.
In a day heavy on preliminaries, head coach Ronald Boyce's squad earned its additional four points from day one's only other track final, the distance medley relay. The all-freshmen grouping of Abby Schlater (Council Bluffs, Iowa), Kimsue Grant (Arlington, Va.), Maggie Sutor (Mokena, Ill.) and Emily Beaver (Diamond, Mo.) teamed to finish fifth, 12:10.94.
A slew of Bears qualified for Sunday's event finals. Jodiann Walker (So., Montego Bay, Jamaica) advanced after running the second-fastest 60-meter dash time in Missouri State history, 7.51, while finishing second in the events' semifinals. Corteneé Boulard (Beaumont, Texas) and Rashida Allen (Jr., Montego Bay, Jamaica) will join Walker in the finals, coming off personal bests of their own, 7.51 and 7.73, in the prelims.
Boulard and Allen also dashed their way to the 200-meter finals, running in 25.30 and 24.88, respectively. Allen finished second in the preliminary round and looked to top her 2009 championships' third-place finish in Sunday's final.
The only Bear representative in the 400-meter dash preliminaries, senior Yaneika Malcolm, lived to see the finals by running a 57.40 time and finishing fifth. The Montego Bay, Jamaica native is a four-time conference champion.
All-Missouri Valley Conference Performers (Top-Three Finish in Event)