Missouri men’s and women’s track leave competition in dust at Missouri Intercollegiate

Freshman Roberto Vilches broke a school record in the high jump.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

As winter weather brewed over mid-Missouri on Friday, track and field athletes from several area schools competed inside Hearnes Center, in an attempt to show coaches the progress they made on their own over winter break.

From the get go, it wasn’t much of a competition. With few exceptions, the Tigers enjoyed a clean sweep of area competition from Columbia College, Western Illinois University and Avila University.

Missouri senior Avery Carter and junior Patrick Kunza got things started in field competition, coming in first and second in the weight throw respectively and matching their performances in the season-opening meet on Dec. 8.

Sophomore Jason Edwards later won the men’s pole vault, with a personal best of 4.65 meters. Freshman Georgi Nachev won the triple jump with a finish of 14.99m and senior Will Fife and Carter finished at the top of the field in men’s shot put.

The Tigers got a pair of particularly outstanding performances in the high jump and long jump on Friday. Freshman Roberto Vilches broke a 42-year-old school record with a finish of 2.26m in the high jump. The finish broke the longest-standing school record in track events. In men’s long jump, junior Ja’Mari Ward posted the best mark nationwide so far this season, with a finish of 7.81m. Ward wasn’t done for the day, and neither were the rest of the Tiger men, as their dominance extended to the field events.

Ward, fresh off his record-setting performance in the long jump, won the men’s 60-meter dash with a time of 6.93 seconds. Sophomore Jayson Ashford won the 200-meter dash, as he did in the Holiday Opener over a month ago.

Freshman Martin Prodanov came in first in the 600-meter run. Dustan Davidson came in first in the mile run, with a time of 4:17.25, followed by redshirt sophomores Justin Loquercio and Dylan Quisenberry in third and fourth.

The women also excelled in their field events with some first place finishes of their own, including freshman Arianna Fisher, who placed first in the triple jump at 11.95m.

Junior Emily Stauffer also dominated her competition by winning shot put with a throw of 15.17m. Freshman Suenomi Norinh finished behind Stauffer, placing sixth with a 11.00m throw.

The Tigers shined in the women’s weight throw, with all four competitors placing in the top four. Senior Jordan McClendon earned a new PR of 21.18m and placed first, followed by seniors Becky Keating, CeCe Johnson and sophomore Sydney Oberdiek.

Results were similar for the track events, with close to a clean sweep all around. In the 60 meter, senior Maya Cody won with a time of 7.58, followed by Fisher in second at 7.89. Freshman Morgan O’Neal and redshirt sophomore Karina Liz also placed first in the 200-meter and 400-meter dash.

The Tigers were well represented in the 800-meter run, with all five Tigers placing in the top five. Freshman Mikayla Reed led the pack finishing at 2:18.74, followed by Susan Forbis, Lilly Hamilton, Elly DeTurris and Kiley Deain.

Continuing her success from cross-country season, freshman Tori Findley won the mile run at 4:59.99, followed by senior Hannah Thomas in second with a new PR of 5:01.99.

Missouri coach Brett Halter was quite pleased with the results.

“Today was a terrific January opener for our teams,” he said. “Both teams certainly put in work over the holiday.”

Looking ahead, the Tigers’ schedule will ramp up in competition, with weekly events throughout the rest of the season, starting with the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa next Friday and Saturday.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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