MU runners on the right track

Missouri indoor track is out of the blocks with a bang this season.

With only a few formal practices under its belt, the team turned in some stellar performances at its first meet of the year against Illinois State and Valparaiso in Normal, Ill.

Sophomore Derrick Peterson won the 800 meters in 1:49.23, just half a second off the school record. MU coach Rick McGuire said there were really two races going on.

"One Derrick and Klint [Wescom of ISU] were running one, and the rest of the people were running," McGuire said.

The time also provisionally qualifies Peterson for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

"It's the first time I've had anybody run that fast in January," McGuire said.

Senior Ray Hughes joined Peterson at the top with a 10-second win in the 3,000 meters, crossing the line in 8:23.18.

On the women's side, senior Erin Windler came within two seconds of the qualifying minimum for the NCAA meet with her 9:49.02 victory in the 3,000 meters. Juste Dahl and Kristen Allen backed her up in 10:08.97 and 10:09.17, respectively.

Cross country teammate Katie Meyer crossed the line first in the mile. She turned in the first sub-five minute mile in the Big 12 this season with her 4:58.52 time.

The middle-distance corps turned in a sweep of the 800 meters, led by Ashley Wysong at 2:15.36. Becky Rigel, Jessica Patton and Courtney Bell were close behind.

These races also will be strong at Saturday's Missouri Invitational at the Hearnes Center.

"Middle distance [and] distance will always be the strong races for us," McGuire said.

McGuire said the other teams competing in the unscored meet are strong in the middle distance and long distance races as well.

Kansas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Southeast Missouri, Lindenwood, Lincoln, Missouri Valley and the Illinois men's teams will compete at the meet.

However, the Tigers aren't limited to the longer races for good performances.

McGuire said the 400 meters on the men's side, with Chad Shade, will be a good race, as well as some of the field events.

"The high jump should be an excellent competition," he said.

The Tigers kick off their 1998 home season with the weight throw at 9 a.m. Saturday. Track events start at 11 a.m.

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