Tigers make school history across the board in impressive performance at Nebraska.

Kieran Wood became the first ever Tiger to run a sub-four minute mile.
Sophomore Nylo Clarke running a 400-meter race at the Husker Invitational on Feb. 1, 2019. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

After a strong home performance at the Mizzou Open at Hearnes Center Feb. 1, the men’s and women’s track teams hit the road last weekend to take on competition from the Big Ten Conference, such as Illinois, Iowa and host Nebraska, among others at the Husker Invitational.

The meet was a two-day event that took place on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2. The Tigers got strong performances on each day from members of the men’s team. On Friday, redshirt sophomore Ja’Mari Ward and sophomore Nylo Clarke each took first place in their events, the long jump and 400-meter dash. After that, sophomore Jayson Ashford finished 18th in the 60-meter dash prelims, and the duo of redshirt senior Avery Carter and redshirt junior Patrick Kunza were competitive in the weight throw, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.

The Husker Invite was also the first meet of the season that had what are called “multi events,” such as the pentathlon and heptathlon, which consist of individual track and field events to be completed in succession. After competing in the 60-meter dash, shot put, long jump and high jump, sophomore Jason Edwards placed fourth overall in the heptathlon.

On Saturday, Edwards shined once again in the heptathlon, this time placing sixth overall after competing in the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1000-meter run.

In both track and field events, Tigers had personal record performances almost across the board. The star of the show on Saturday, however, was junior Kieran Wood, who finished second in the mile run with a time of 3:59.64. Not only did he PR, Wood became the first Tiger ever to run a mile in under four minutes. Not far behind Wood were freshman Martin Prodanov and junior Dustan Davidson, who finished with PR times of 4:03.76 and 4:05.17.

The men enjoyed much success in other events as well. Freshman Roberto Vilches placed first in the high jump, while redshirt senior Will Fife placed fifth in the shot put and collected a PR along the way.

Ashford enjoyed a personal record in the 200-meter dash on his way to an eighth place finish. Redshirt sophomores Robert Kuhlmann and Dylan Quisenberry finished seventh and eighth in the 800-meter run, while each eclipsing their personal bests.

Also achieving their personal bests for the women were redshirt sophomore Michaela Hackbarth and freshman Emma Roth in the 800-meter run, earning 19th at 2:19.05 and 20th at 2:19.12, respectively. redshirt sophomore Karina Liz led the Tigers in the event finishing ninth at 2:15.21.

In addition, freshman Mikayla Reed hit a new PR in the women’s mile run at 4:55.93 and finishing sixth. Also running the mile was redshirt sophomore Melissa Menghini in second, freshman Tori Findley in fourth, senior Hannah Thomas in 10th and sophomore Jenna Lutzow in 21st.

There was more success seen on the field events as well. In the women’s shot put, redshirt senior Gabi Jacobs and junior Sophia Rivera both reached a new PR, with throws at 15.86 and 15.77 meters, respectively. Jacobs earned third, while Rivera placed fourth, and junior Emily Stauffer followed in sixth.

Other successes for the women include senior Maya Cody earning fourth in the 60-meter dash and sixth in the 200 dash. Senior Valeria Kostiuk also finished seventh in the high jump.

According to Mizzou Athletics, coach Brett Halter says that the coaching staff cannot remember “a more complete competitive team effort.” Halter is also proud of Wood for breaking what he called the “magical four-minute barrier” in the mile competition.

Missouri will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the University of Arkansas, to compete in the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 8.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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