Track and Field Bears Announce 2011-12 Schedule
Oct. 24, 2011
Springfield, Mo. -
The Missouri State track and field squad has announced its 2011-12 schedule which includes eight indoor meets and six outdoor meets, as well as both Missouri Valley Conference Track and Field Championships.
The Bears will begin their season Dec. 2 at the ASU Kickoff Classic in Jonesboro, Ark. Missouri State will then be off until the new year when they head to the Bill Easton Classic (Jan. 7) in Lawrence, Kan. The Salukis Open (Jan. 13-14) and the Indiana Relays (Jan. 27-28) will conclude January competition.
Ron Boyce, Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, is excited for his team's opportunity at Indiana.
"That's Big 10 territory, and we look to do some damage there," said Boyce. "It is always nice to go there and see that level of talent."
The Bears then kickoff February at Wichita State with the Shocker Quad meet (Feb. 2). Boyce is also looking forward to the challenge for his squad at Wichita State.
"It is exciting for us to go to Wichita State," said Boyce. "They are the defending (conference) champions, so it's nice to go into their backyard and let them know we're coming."
February meets also include the Tyson Invitational in Fayettville, Ark. and the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa. Both meets are scheduled for Feb. 10-11 and will be the last meet to prepare for the Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
UNI will again host the MVC Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Feb. 25-26. The Bears look to get back on track after a seventh place finish in the MVC Championships last season. Despite the final turnout, Missouri State did see a strong performance out of its triple jump group with Kimsue Grant earning All-MVC accolades after a second-place finish. Ashane Johnson and Jordan Bond added to the stellar triple jump group performance with fourth and fifth place, respectively. This group was responsible for three of the Bears top-five finishes during the meet.
Bears hoping to potentially qualify for the NCAA National Championships will participate in the Last Chance meets in Ames, Iowa or Fayetteville, Ark. (March 2-3). This will conclude the indoor regular season with the NCAA Indoor Championships taking place on March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho.
The outdoor season begins with the Bobby Lane Invitational in Arlington, Texas on March 24. Boyce is thrilled about the opportunity that the meet provides for the squad.
"We haven't been there in a while, and we'll see a whole different set of people," said Boyce. "The weather should be good and the competition will be fierce. It will be an early test for us and we really look forward to that."
Missouri State then heads to the University of Arkansas' Razorback Spring Invitational (March 24). April meets kickoff in Columbia, Mo. with the Tom Botts Invitational (April 6-7). The Bears will see some steep competition against their rival neighbor, the University of Missouri.
The Bears then finish out April with the Kansas Relays (April 18-21) and Drake Relays (April 26-28). Missouri State looks forward to the Big 12 competition at the Kansas Relays and have had much success in the past at the event. The Bears recognize another great opportunity at the Drake Relays.
"The Drake Relays are extremely exciting", said Boyce. "There are typically 20,000 people in the stadium and we should be in position again this year to be very successful there."
Missouri State then heads back to Fayetteville, Ark. for the second time during outdoor season for the Arkansas Twilight (May 4), that meet will finish up the Bears outdoor regular season.
"It's always fun to go to Arkansas, one of the better facilities in the country," said Boyce. "That is SEC territory, so we look forward to both Arkansas meets."
The Bears will head to the MVC Outdoor Championships May 11-13 in Wichita, Kan. Last season Missouri State finished fifth at the championships. Shantelle Llewellyn earned three second-place finishes in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100 meter relay. Again, the Bears triple jump group shined with Kimsue Grant taking home second in the event and Jordan Bond finished fourth. Grant also saw runner-up performances in the long jump and 4x100 meter relay. Missouri State had six athletes finish with All-MVC honors (Theresa Brokaw, Ariel Butzine, Kara-Aretha Graham, Kimsue Grant, Shantel Llewellyn and Pernell Joseph).
The first round of the NCAA Outdoor Championships will take place in Austin, Texas (May 24-26). The Bears have four returning NCAA Regional Qualifiers from last season in Shantel Llewellyn, Kimsue Grant, Jordan Bond, and Jeláni Kelly. Boyce has faith in these top-performers and looks for Llewellyn to spearhead the squad.
"Shantel wants to win, and she wants to win badly," said Boyce. "When someone makes their mind up like that it's pretty hard to stop them. She and Kimsue have been second quite a bit and both are tired of being second."
With three solid NCAA qualifying returners, a maturing sophomore group and a stellar newcomer class, the Bears will look to make waves this season.
"It's going to be exciting," said Boyce. "We've been able to put together a pretty in depth squad. I think versus the last three or four years what we'll find is a lot of participation across the board which will make our meets pretty exciting and productive."