Track & Field Set for Bergan Invite

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Andy Oaker met the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in the shot put last weekend.</i>
Andy Oaker met the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in the shot put last weekend.

Jan. 27, 2010

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Meet Info: Innaguarl Bill Bergan Invitational
Date: Combined Events: Jan. 28-29; Bergan Invitational: Jan. 30
Time: Combined Events: 1 p.m.; Bergan Invitational: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Ames, Iowa
Arena: Lied Recreation Center
Live Blog:

What You Need to Know
• Mizzou will compete its combined event athletes for the first time this season in Ames this weekend. Three-time All-American Nick Adcock, All-Big 12 honoree Lauren Begany and freshman Kelcy Vanarsdall will all be competing in the combined events this week.

• Mizzou set two NCAA provisional qualifying marks at last week's Adidas Classic. Shannon Leinert ran a time of 2:07.64 in the 800m run while shot putter Andy Oaker tossed 18.00m (59-0 3/4). Both Leinert and Oaker claimed their respective event titles as well. Blake Irwin came within .06 second of provisionally qualifying in the 800m run as well, clocking a time of 1:50.56 last weekend.

• 2010 marks the first-ever Bill Bergan Invitational, which is hosted by Iowa State. The meet pays homage to the legendary Cyclone coach that brought two NCAA Men's Cross Country Championships to Ames.

This Saturday
For the second-straight weekend, the Mizzou track and field program will hit the road, this time heading to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Bill Bergan Invitational which will be held at the Lied Recreation Center at 10:30 a.m. Kansas State, Minnesota (men only), North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota will all join the Tigers and Cyclones at the meet. The Kansas State men enter the meet as the highest-ranked program, coming in at No. 23 in this week's USTFCCCA Weekly Rankings. The Missouri men - highlighted by Blake Irwin and Andy Oaker - stand as the next-best team at the meet at No. 34 nationally.

About the Meet
2010 will mark the first season in which the Cyclones will pay homage to their former legendary coach with the Bill Bergan Invitational. Bergan coached at Iowa State for 23 years, bringing the program unprecedented success in track and cross country. He guided the Cyclones to NCAA Division I men's cross country championships in 1989 and 1994. He was inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame in 2006.

Last Time Out
Mizzou had arguably its best meet of the indoor season at the Adidas Classic last weekend in Lincoln, Neb., as it claimed six event titles and set a pair of NCAA provisional qualifying marks. Shannon Leinert - the Big 12's defending 800m champion - won the 800m run with at Big 12-best 2:07.64 in her first 800m competition of the season. Shot putter Andy Oaker also set a provisional standard at the event, tossing 18.00m (59-0 3/4) to claim the event title. Aaron Dixon turned in the program's second-fastest time in the 1,000m run as he clocked in at 2:22.38 to claim his first event title of the season. Blake Irwin, Leslie Farmer and the women's 4x400m relay team also claimed event titles at the meet. Combined event standout Nick Adcock also reset his own school record in the 60m hurdles, clocking in at 8.01.

What to Watch For
The Bill Bergan Invitational is a three-day event that will feature two days of combined event competition, starting on Thursday (Jan. 28). The bulk of Mizzou's team will compete solely on Saturday while three individuals - Nick Adcock, Lauren Begany and Kelcy Vanarsdall - will head to Ames for Thursday and Friday's combined events. The competition will mark the first time this season that the Tigers will compete athletes in the combined events.

Highlighting Saturday's action will be a crucial showdown in the women's 600-yard run between Mizzou's Leslie Farmer and Iowa State's Kianna Elahi. Elahi currently ranks second in the Big 12 in the event while Farmer ranks just behind her. The two are separated by half a second in the standings and trail only Mizzou's Shannon Leinert, who the 600-yard run is an off-event for, setting up an intriguing early-season match-up. Leinert will also be part of an interesting race as she will square off against Sara Stokes of Kansas State in a rematch of last week's Adidas Classic 800m run which Leinert won.

The women's 1,000m run will also offer some excitement for the Tigers as Mizzou freshman Laura Roxberg will be challenged by one of the league's best 1,000m runners in Erin Penticoff of Iowa State. The two currently rank fifth and fourth, respectively, in the conference and have run the top two times in the event among runners that will be at the meet on Saturday.

The weight throw will be one of the top-contested events on the men's side. Both Mizzou's Andy Oaker and Chris Holly rank in the Big 12's top 10 in the event and will be pitted against Eric Thomas, a junior from Kansas State who holds the third-best weight throw mark in the Big 12 this season. Oaker offers the most competition for Thomas as he stands at fifth with a throw of 18.41m (60-4 3/4), set at the MU-KU Border Dual two weeks ago.

Dixon Dazzles
Junior Aaron Dixon had one of the best performances of his career at the Adidas Classic last Saturday, running the program's second-best 1,000m time en-route to earning the event title. Dixon clocked in at a Big 12-best 2:22.38, just behind the 29-year-old school record of 2:21.91, set by Scott Clark back in 1981. His time was just ahead of Jeff Pigg, who earned a 2:22.98 clocking back in 1985. Dixon in the only Mizzou athlete to break 2:23.00 in the event over the last quarter of a century. The time is nearly two seconds better than his previous personal-best in the event.

Shannon Tops the Big 12
Senior Shannon Leinert, who is the defending indoor and outdoor Big 12 800m Champion, sits atop the league in a pair of events after the first three weeks of the season. Not only does she own the league's best 800m time - she set an NCAA provisional mark of 2:07.64 at last week's Adidas Classic - but she also owns the Big 12's top mark in the 600-yard run at 1:21.90, nearly half a second better than the next closest competitor. Her 800m time is more than three seconds better than the next-best time in the conference.

Hurdling Away
Senior and three-time All-American Nick Adcock will make his debut in the combined events this weekend, doing so on the heels of a great performance at last week's Adidas Classic. After running a time of 8.16 in the preliminary heats of the 60m hurdles, Adcock was clocked at 8.01 in the finals, earning him fourth place. What is even more impressive is that his time reset his own school record in the event. The mark had been 8.09, but Adcock shaved 0.08 off of that time to improve his school-record time.

The Best For Last
Heading into the final round of throws in the men's shot put at the Adidas Classic, senior Andy Oaker already had the event title locked up. But that did not stop him from unloading an NCAA provisional qualifying throw of 18.00m (59-0 3/4) in his final attempt. In fact, he was the last competitor to throw in the event as he truly saved the best for last. Oaker's mark ranks him third in the Big 12 so far this season behind a pair of freshmen - Mason Finley of Kansas and Hayden Baillio of Texas. The three are the only shot putters in the conference to have hit the 18.00m mark this season.

So Close for Irwin
Although Shannon Leinert and Andy Oaker set NCAA provisional marks last week, teammate Blake Irwin came extremely close to doing so in the men's 800m run. He clocked in at 1:50.56, just .06 seconds shy of provisionally qualifying for the Championships.

Making Strides
At the beginning of the 2010 season, Mizzou was faced with the task of replacing two of the top throwers in program history as both Chris Rohr and Krishna Lee - who are both volunteer assistants with the program now - saw their eligibility expire. Although most of the throwers this season are young, they have started to put up big marks, highlighted by several notable performances at last week's Adidas Classic.

Freshman Corey Jones placed second in the men's shot put with a mark of 17.20m (56-5 1/4) to highlight the men's performances while the women saw a slew of personal-bests. Katie Evans (second) and Katie Vanarsdall (third) both set personal-record marks in the shot put while Melissa Coil (third) and Cortni Ervin (sixth) both set massive personal-bests in the weight throw.

Fantastic Farmer
Sophomore Leslie Farmer has been one of the Tigers' top performers in the 600-yard run all season and the results have showed. After the first three weeks of competition, Farmer ranks third in the Big 12 (second among athletes whose top event is the 600-yard run) with a time of 1:22.84 and is less than a second behind the current second-place athlete, Kianna Elahi of Iowa State. It is still early in the season, but Farmer has established herself as one of the favorites to bring home the 600-yard Big 12 title this season. Farmer as also ran as the first leg of the women's 4x400m relay team, which remains undefeated so far this season through the first three weeks.

Back in Blackwell
Staying on the topic of the 600-yard run, Ryan Blackwell just missed clocking a personal-best in the event, coming in at 1:11.33, which is currently the second-best time in the Big 12 this season. His best in the event is 1:11.09, meaning he missed setting a new best mark by just 0.24 seconds last Saturday.

After returning all but one runner from last year's school-record setting 4x400m relay team, the Tiger women knew that they would have one of the best foursomes in the league again in 2010. Kaela Rorvig ran as the second leg of last year's team but with her graduation, Layne Moore was moved into her spot and the group has not missed a beat this season, winning the event in each of the Tigers' first three meets this season. The team, comprised of Leslie Farmer, Moore, Shannon Leinert and Lana Mims, has posted a season-best time of 3:45.11 at the MU-KU Border Dual and is currently ranked fifth in the Big 12 this season amongst some of the best sprinting groups in the nation.

McGuire's Swan Song
After 27 years as the Head Track and Field Coach at the University of Missouri, Dr. Rick McGuire announced his intention to retire from that position following the completion of the 2010 outdoor season, with his final day in the role scheduled for July 30th.

To date, Coach McGuire has led Missouri athletes to 137 All-American honors, 106 individual conference championships, seven NCAA individual or relay titles and eight NCAA Regional Championships. Beyond the NCAA season, McGuire has coached 46 Olympic Trials qualifiers and 27 USA National Team berths, even coaching four athletes to the pinnacle of athletic competition: the Olympic Games. Both Natasha Kaiser-Brown and Christian Cantwell went on to win Olympic silver medals. Cantwell has also won three world championships.

A hallmark of McGuire's program has been an emphasis on academic achievement, as evidenced by his team's long-standing presence on the USTFCCCA All-Academic list. The women's team has earned this status for 44 consecutive seasons, starting at the inception of the award in 1994. The men are now at 22 consecutive seasons. Individually, hundreds of his athletes have earned All-Academic honors. Under McGuire, Missouri track and field student-athletes have been awarded 22 NCAA Post Graduate scholarships at the conclusion of their undergraduate studies.

McGuire is recognized as a significant leader in the world of track and field, both at the collegiate level and beyond. He recently finished serving a three-year term as president of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Coaches Association, and prior to that served for four years on the NCAA Track and Field Committee. He was chosen as a member of the United States Olympic Team staff for both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. He founded and for 28 years has served as the chair of the USATF Sport Psychology program. He has been honored by his peers with his induction into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame and the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Dr. McGuire has also served for 25 years as a Graduate Professor of Sport Psychology in the University's nationally prominent Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology. He began both the Master's and Doctoral programs in Sport Psychology. Today Missouri's graduate program in Applied Sport Psychology is considered one of the leading programs in the nation. It is McGuire's intention to continue in his academic and teaching role, as well as contributing sport psychology support for the athletes, teams, coaches and staff in Missouri's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Longtime assistant and current associate head coach Brett Halter has been named interim head coach and will work closely with Coach McGuire in this transition. Coach Halter has earned the distinction as one of the world's finest coaches of throws. His athletes are consistently among the NCAA and Big 12 Conference leaders. He is the coach of former Tiger Christian Cantwell, the reigning World Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist in the shot put.

Tiger Academic Success
The Mizzou track and field/cross country program was honored by the US Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for its academic success over the past calendar year. Both the men's and women's cross country teams were honored as All-Academic teams as fall grades have been announced. The women's cross country team earned a term grade-point-average of 3.467, earning the 44th-straight All-Academic honor for the Mizzou track and field/cross country program, doing so in every semester since the inception of the award 16 seasons ago. Mizzou is the only program in the nation to have accomplished that feat. The Tiger men's cross country team finished the fall semester with a term GPA of 3.06, earning the All-Academic award as well.

Two members of the women's cross country team - Shannon Leinert and Kaitie Vanatta - earned a perfect 4.00 GPA during the fall 2009 semester, while Phillip King brought home a perfect GPA for the men's team.

The success during the fall semester for the program did not stop with the cross country student-athletes. In all, the women's track and field team compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.289 and four others - Cortni Ervin, Leslie Farmer, Laura Greenfield and Katie Vanarsdall - all joined Leinert and Vanatta with perfect GPAs. The term GPA of 3.289 means that the women's program will garner its 45th-straight All-Academic team honor from the USTFCCCA when those are announced after the outdoor track and field season.

In all, 18 of the 40 women's track and field team members finished with a GPA better than 3.50 and 30 of the 40 women's track and field student-athletes finished with a GPA better than 3.00.

Adcock at the Thorpe Cup
Mizzou track and field junior Nick Adcock placed fifth overall amongst a field of 14 elite decathletes as part of the Thorpe Cup competition in Marburg, Germany. The competitors at the meet included multiple Olympians and former national champions.

Adcock represented the United States at the Thorpe Cup, a combined events dual meet between the United States and Germany. He set a season-best mark in the pole vault and a career-best in the discus. His overall score of 7,646 points is his best of the 2009 season and is just 11 points shy of his personal-record total.

Cantwell Claims IAAF World Title
Former Tiger track and field standout Christian Cantwell won the shot put World Championship at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Berlin, Germany, after tossing 22.03m (72-3 ½) in his fifth attempt on Aug. 15, 2009. His mark was a new season-best, shattering his previous mark of 21.81m (71-7), set at the Aviva London Grand Prix. The event title is the first-ever Outdoor IAAF World Championship for Cantwell, adding to his two Indoor IAAF World Championships, claimed in 2004 and 2008.

Follow Mizzou Track & Field's Blog!
The 2010 Mizzou track and field season will not only offer some of the most exciting competition, but it will also provide some of the best ways for fans to follow their team. has developed a blog in order to keep fans in the loop about everything regarding Mizzou athletics. Each sport will have its own official blog so fans can stay current with each program. The track and field blog can be found here:

Next Up
Mizzou will head to South Bend, Ind., for the prestigious Meyo Invitational on Feb. 5-6. The meet is hosted by Notre Dame University and features one of the most recognized mile races in the nation.



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