Wood, McClendon shine for Tigers at SEC Championships

Wood and McClendon each received all-SEC honors at the conference championships on Friday and Saturday.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

A bit of a learning curve was to be expected for Missouri’s men’s and women’s track teams alike as they sent over 20 athletes to their first conference championships on February 22 and 23.

Despite some strong individual performances on both squads, the men finished 12th out of 13 competing teams and the women finished 10th out of 14 teams at the weekend’s wrap of the SEC Indoor Champions.

In postseason play, a points system is used to rank team performances and create standings. At the end of the day on Friday, the men found themselves in 11th place overall, scoring four points through six team events.

The men had a strong start in field events from freshman Roberto Vilches. Making his SEC meet debut, he finished fifth in the high jump and ninth in the long jump. Redshirt senior Will Fife finished 10th in the shot put with a distance of 17.59 meters.

In multi-events, sophomore Jason Edwards finished sixth overall in the heptathlon after coming in seventh in the 60-meter dash, fifth in the long jump, eighth in the shot put and sixth in the high jump.

Redshirt freshman Jayson Ashford led the way in track events with a third place finish and personal record of 21.34 in the 200. Sophomore Nylo Clarke came in third in his own race, the 400. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Quisenberry had a PR of 1:52.81 and a 13th place finish in the 800. Junior Kieran Wood and freshman Martin Prodanov qualified for Saturday’s final heat of the mile with fourth and ninth place finishes, while redshirt sophomore Dustan Davidson and redshirt senior Zach Cook missed the cut. Lastly, the distance medley relay team of Wood, Ashford, Prodanov and junior Robert Kuhlmann also failed to qualify for Saturday’s finale.

At the start of Saturday, the men had their work cut out for them. Freshman Georgi Nachev got the start they needed, coming in sixth place in the triple jump and scoring three points for his team. Redshirt senior Avery Carter and redshirt junior Patrick Kunza finished ninth and eleventh, respectively, in the weight throw.

At it again in the heptathlon, Edwards finished seventh overall on Saturday thanks to a seventh place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, a sixth place finish in the 1000-meter run, and not placing in the pole vault.

In track events, junior Justin Loquercio came in 41st in the 3000, while the 4X400 relay team of Ashford, Clarke, Kuhlmann and junior Caulin Graves came in eighth. The highlight of the day for the men was Wood, who scored six points on his way to a third place finish in the mile run.

The women also had their share of success in the competition.

In the distance medley relay, the team of redshirt sophomore Melissa Menghini, junior Karina Liz, and freshmen Tori Findley and Morgan O'Neal earned a third place finish with a time of 11:30.71, rewarding Mizzou six points and making its mark as 10th fastest time in program history.

Freshman Suenomi Norinh finished eighth in the pentathlon, scoring Missouri one point. She also reached a new personal best of 3,716 points.

In the women’s shot put, redshirt sophomore Sophia Rivera and redshirt senior Gabi Jacobs placed fifth and seventh, respectively. Rivera earned the sixth-best mark in school history with a throw of 16.10 meters, while Jacobs matched her PR with a mark of 15.86 meters. The pair totaled six points for Mizzou.

On the second day of competition, the women kept the intensity up.

Menghini finished fourth in the 3000 at 9:33.57, earning five points for her team. Freshman Mirieli Santos hit a new PR in the triple jump at 13.21 meters and surpassed her school record, adding one point to her team’s total.

In the weight throw, senior Jordan McClendon placed third with a 21.04 meter throw, earning six points. Senior CeCe Johnson followed in ninth with 18.69 meters and sophomore Sydney Oberdiek in 10th with 18.28 meters. McClendon received All-SEC honors and has a possibility of competing in the NCAA championships.

Coach Brett Halter praised his team’s toughness at the end of the competition.

“Our staff is proud of the intensity, tenacity and grit of our teams,” Halter said in a press release.

The NCAA Indoor Championships take place on March 8 and 9. It will be announced in the coming week whether any Tigers have qualified.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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