Bears Picked to Finish Fourth in MVC Track and Field Outdoor Championship
The Missouri State track and field team has been selected by the conference coaches to finish fourth at the 2007 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Track and Field Outdoor Championship. The Bears placed second last season behind the Shockers at the outdoor championship. The meet is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, May 11-13, and will be hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Wichita State received all eight first-place votes and will look to claim their sixth-consecutive women's track title after wining each of the past three outdoor titles and past two indoor titles. Indiana State was slated to finish second, followed by UNI, Missouri State, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Drake and Bradley.
MSU senior Tanya Cyrus and junior Carrie Vestal are the only two outdoor conference champions returning from last season and will look to defend their titles. Cyrus won the 400-meter dash at both the 2006 indoor and outdoor track and field championships and currently ranks fifth in the Valley in a time of 55.65. She won the outdoor 400-meter dash last season in a time of 54.85. Distance specialist Vestal took home gold in the 10,000-meter run in 2006 and holds the top time in the conference this season with 35:55.53. She will also compete in the 5,000-meter run.
Freshman Leander Ernest, who was named this week's MVC Track Athlete of the Week, leads the Valley in the 400-meter dash and in the 800-meter run. Ernest will focus on winning the 800-meter run and will play a vital role in the Bears' relays.
Genna Williams will also be a big contributor to the Bears' points. Williams will compete in both the 100- and 200- meter dashes. The senior leads the conference in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.69 and ranks second in the 200 with a time of 24.51.
Senior Kim Carter placed third in the heptathlon at the 2006 outdoor championship and will look to improve at this year's meet. Carter will also compete in the javelin throw and long jump. She currently ranks second in the Valley in long jump with a distance of 19'8.75".
The remaining sprinters for the Bears will include Yaneika Malcolm in the 400-meter dash and Cortenee Boulard, Alexandria Oembler, and Anda Udris in the 100-meter dash. Boulard, Udris and Oembler will also compete in the 200-meter dash with Williams.
Chloe Key, Jamie Vest, Auvia Miller, Staci Nelson, Lauren Nystrom and Kristin Wolkey round out the Bears' distance team. Vest and Key will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as well as the 5,000-meter run. Vest has ran the second-fastest time in the Valley in the steeplechase. Nystrom and Wolkey will look to score points in the 1,500-meter run. Wolkey will also compete in the 800-meter and 5,000-meter runs. Miller and Nelson will join Key, Vest, Vestal and Wolkey in the 5,000-meter race.
The hurdlers for Missouri State will be April Brooks, Oembler, Leneice Rolle and Angelique Stephens. All four athletes will compete in the 100-meter high hurdles with Brooks and Stephens also in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Oembler ranks third in the conference with her season-best time of 14.18 in the 100-meter hurdles.
In field events, the Bears have twin sisters Maraneika Goffe and Zaleika Goffe competing in the high jump. Both girls have personal-best jumps of 5'5" which ties for fourth in the Valley. Brooks will compete in the javelin throw and Deandrea Rolle will throw the discus and compete in the shot put for Missouri State. Liz Blase completes the MSU field events team and will compete in the pole vault.
Missouri State will also run two strong relays including the 4x100 and 4x400. The Bears have run the second-fastest time in the Valley in each relay.
The meet will kick off Friday at 11 a.m. with the men's decathlon and will end Sunday at 4:35 with the 4x400-meter relay. An awards presentation will follow the conclusion of the meet.