Sophomore Mitch Hatten has improved every meet this season, and finished 6th to earn his first All-SEC honor
Feb. 24, 2013
Fayetteville, Ark. - The collection of All-SEC honors continued to grow for the Tigers as they leave day two of the nation's toughest conference championship with six more top-eight finishes. Four throwers and two jumpers earned scoring marks for Mizzou, including sophomore Jill Rushin, who took second in the shot put with a 1'5.25" PR of 16.67m (54-8.25).
"I never placed All-Conference in the Big 12, so it feels great to get my first medal at SEC's our first year," said Rushin. "My goal was to PR, and I did that. So I'm happy with my performance."
Rushin had two personal best marks during the competition, throwing 16.59m (54-2.25) to top her previous best of of 16.23m (53-3), before going on to hit 16.67m (54-8.25) on her second toss. She was tied for the lead going into finals, before getting nudged out by 4.50" on the final throw. This mark puts her up to No. 16 in the national rankings, on the cusp of qualifying for the NCAA National Championships next month.
Joining Rushin on the All-SEC list for shot put was senior Cortni Ervin, who was Indoor All-Big 12 in the weight throw last year. Ervin also threw a PR mark today, coming in 2'5" beyond her previous best throw to land at 15.33m (50-3.50) and an eighth-place finish.
"On my third throw I just felt relaxed and trusted my technique, stayed back, and it all came together. It's always the plan, to blow it up at the Championship, so I'm very enthused and excited about that," said Ervin. "I am so stoked [for weight throw tomorrow]. Shot put was going to be icing on the cake if I could score a couple points, but weight throw I know I'm going to come out and put some fear in the competition."
Before the shot put, though, was the men's weight throw and the first two scoring performances of the day for the Tigers. Senior Jacob Bullinger and junior Brian Duncan both earned new PR marks en route to their All-SEC finishes. Duncan began landing his best marks from the start, overcoming his previous PR of 19.01m (62-4.5) with his first throw of 19.07m (62-6.75). He went on to hit 19.15m (62-10) on his second attempt, and 19.18m (62-11.25) on his fifth before launching a 19.37m (63-6.75) on his final throw to land him in eighth.
"Yeah, I was definitely feeling it [today]. I think good things are coming in the next couple of weeks," Duncan said, before going on about his teammate. "[Jacob Bullinger] is a good teammate, a good training partner, and we just have to keep up the tradition. Coming into the new conference, we just hav to bring what we had in the Big 12's."
Bullinger also had a PR mark to push him into a fourth-place finish in the event. He extended his best from 19.89m (65-3) to 20.25m (68-5.25) on his fourth attmpt to move him up in the meet, as well as in the national rankings, where he currently sits at No. 27.
"I did really well. Obviously, you always want to do better, but looking back at it, it was a pretty good performance and hopefully I can improve on that the rest of the year," said Bullinger. "It was a really tough competition with two of the best guys in the nation. I did my best up against the best."
"I thought [the throws crew] did terrific. Anytime you can come into an environment like this and deliver your best, that's absolutely sensational," said Head Coach Brett Halter. "And that's all we really ask of our athletes. The only thing we can control is our own emotions and how we deliver our best, and the athletes really did that today. I'm really proud of them."
The ring was certainly not the only area of success for the Tigers today, as two more scoring performances came out of the jumps crew. First up was senior Malcolm Pennix, who continued his outstanding season with a fifth-place finish and a PR-tying mark fo 7.82m (25-8). In an event dominated by SEC athletes, and a competition which saw the new top mark in the NCAA, Pennix's finish will keep in the No. 8 spot in the national rankings, and give him the opportunity to compete at the NCAA National Championships next month.
"I'm kind of hard on myself, so I got to do better. But it feels good. I'm just clawing away at the [school] record, that's where I want to get right now," said Pennix. "[I need to keep working on] mechanical things, and staying positive throughout the entire series of jumps, not losing focus."
"[Malcolm] just has to keep doing what he's doing," said Coach Halter. "That was the best competition in the world this year, there's nothing else like it except the NCAA Championships in two weeks. Malcolm did brilliant, he opened up and put the pressure on those guys that were winning the competition. He's doing all the right stuff, competing hard, and that's all we can ask. So we're really excited with where he is going into the second phase of our championship season."
Finally, it was sophomore Mitch Hatten's turn to continue his season-long string of PR performances in the high jump to earn sixth overall in the event. For the fifth-consecutive meet, Hatten has raised the bar on his performance, coming in at 2.08m (6-9.75) today to earn his first All-SEC performance. Hatten sailed over the first three bars in first attempts before getting knocked out at 2.13m (6-11.75).
"Obviously, it's the most important [meet], so it's the PR I'm happiest with," said Hatten. "It was just good that I was able to come and deliver. It's been a matter of practicing and getting better every week."
The All-SEC finishers weren't the only ones coming out of the day with positive performances. Freshman Markesh Woodson tied his school record time of 6.63 in the 60m dash to win his heat and advance to the finals on Sunday. Senior Laura Roxberg and sophomore Merid Seleshi also qualified for Sundays' final round in the mile. All three are looking to add their efforts to the Mizzou scoresheet.
There were also PR performances across the board for the Tigers, starting with freshman Kyle Smith in the 60m hurdles. Smith topped his previous best of 8.15 with a seventh-place finish in his heat, crossing the line in 8.13. In the mile, freshman Will Corcker ran one second below his previous best to finish in 4:13.71. Sophomore Drake Stuedemann also continued to lower his 400m PR, last beat at the Husker Invitational, running 48.36 to win his heat. In the 200m, junior Cara Forte knocked her time down to 24.60 for second-place in her heat. Finally, sophomore Eric Dillon and freshman Liz Reida took the opportunity to lower their best times in the 3,000m run, the final event of the day. Dillon finished 14th with his five-second improvement of 8:19.21, while Reida claimed 12th in a 9:48.67.
Events will continue tomorrow with Woodson in the 60m dash finals, Roxberg and Seleshi in the mile finals, and strong performances in the women's weight throw, men's and women's triple jump, men's pole vault, men's shot put, women's high jump, men's and women's 5,000m, and men's and women's Distance Medley Relays.
"This is the greatest conference ever assembled on the planet. We have a lot of people playing, and I'm really proud of how people are competing," said Coach Halter. "I think the folks back home would be thrilled if they got to be down here to see the Tigers competing in person. So we'll do what we can tomorrow and see how it shakes out."
For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.
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