April 17, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Missouri Track & Field teams have a big week of competition ahead as athletes head to multiple meets throughout the country. Starting on Wednesday, the Tigers will begin competition at the 85th annual Kansas Relays. Competition in Lawrence will run through Saturday afternoon and will feature many unique relay events, along with many elite level individual events. Out west in the Los Angeles area, a group of Tigers will compete at the Mt SAC Relays, Bryan Clay Invitational, and Long Beach Track & Field Invitational from Thursday through Saturday.
"The Kansas Relays is a great event which is steeped in track and field history. Our team is looking forward the challenges the meet will present over the four days of competition as many of our athletes competed at the relays during their high school years," said Men's and Women's Head Track & Field Coach Brett Halter.
The Tigers will feature many athletes placed within the NCAA's elite at Kansas. Fresh off her Most Outstanding Performer showing at home this past weekend in the Tom Botts Invitational, Kearsten Peoples (Ottawa, KS) will look to continue the success she has had throughout the spring. Peoples enters this weekend's event ranked 4th in the NCAA in the shot put and among the nation's top 40 in both the hammer throw and discus. The meet will be a homecoming of sorts for Peoples, as she is from nearby Ottawa, Kansas.
Leading the charge on the track is junior Laura Roxberg (Overland Park, KS), another Kansas native. Roxberg, a Kansas Relays Champion while in high school at Blue Valley Northwest HS, will be competing in the 1,500 meters. This past weekend, Roxberg was one of 8 Tiger women who came away victorious in their event at the Tom Botts Invitational.
With the season winding to an end over the next few weeks, many Tigers will be looking to improve or move into the ever-important "Top 48" in the NCAA West Preliminary Round in their events. Along with Peoples and Roxberg, other Tiger ladies to watch for this weekend currently holding this distinction are Heather Green
(Jefferson City, MO) and Katrine Haarklau
(Bergin, Norway) in the pole vault; Jill Rushin
(Jackson, MO), Cortni Ervin
(Marshall, MO), and Laura Greenfield
(Liberty, MO) in the shot put; and Haarklau, Hailey Twietmeyer
(Cheney, KS), and Bethany Pfeiffer
(Boonville, MO) in the javelin.
On the men's side, the Tigers will be led by a slew of throwers looking to improve upon strong early season marks. Leading the charge is junior Brooks Mosier (Lee's Summit, MO), who will be competing in the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. Joining Mosier in trying to keep their West Regional Top 48 ranking will be Tim Opfer (Higginsville, MO) in the discus, Brian Duncan (Iberia, MO) in the hammer throw, and freshman MaCauley Garton (Shawnee, KS) in the javelin. Garton, who is a two-time Kansas High School State Champion in the javelin, won the event in the high school division of the 2011 Kansas Relays by over 23 feet.
On the track, senior Kellyn Fogarty (Marshalltown, IA) comes in with a season best of 52.66 in the 400-meter hurdles. Forgarty was an NCAA West Preliminary Round qualifier in 2011. Two other Tigers to keep an eye throughout the weekend will be the senior duo of Ryan Blackwell (Fenton, MO) and Matt Pickerel (Columbia, MO) in the 400 meters.
Action in Los Angeles will kick off Thursday afternoon at the Mt. SAC Relays held in Walnut, CA. Competing Thursday night in the 10,000 meters will be Tigers Max Storms (Kansas City, MO), Phillip King (Columbia, MO), and Hayden Legg (Mexico, MO). On Friday morning, racing will begin at 10:30am at the Bryan Clay Invitational held at Azusa Pacific University. The trio of Merid Seleshi (Ontario, Canada), Kyle Rood (St. Peters, MO), and Kenny Cushing (Wentzville, MO) will be competing in the 1,500 meters. Later that afternoon back at Mt. SAC, Tiger school record holder Leslie Farmer (Jefferson City, MO) will looking to better her time of 58.06 in the 400 meter hurdles. That mark currently ranks Farmer 12th in the NCAA. Under the lights Friday evening, past NCAA qualifier Kaitie Vanatta (Littleton, CO) will be competing in the 5,000 meters for Missouri. Wrapping up action at Mt. SAC following Vanatta will be 2012 All-Big 12 Indoor 5Ker Dan Quigley (St. Louis, MO) competing in his first 5,000-meter race of the outdoor season. Quigley, who last time out broke the meet record in the 1,500 meters at LSU's "Battle on the Bayou", also broke the Missouri school record in the 5,000 meters during the indoor track & field season. The Tigers will also compete at the Long Beach Invitational on Saturday morning before traveling back to Columbia.
"The Mt. SAC Invitational is regarded by many to be the best meet of the NCAA Track & Field season, especially for distance runners. We are excited to see what our men and women are capable of doing against not only the nation's best track and field athletes, but many who will line up in London this summer at the Olympic Games," said men's distance coach Joe Lynn.
Full results and a recap from Lawrence and Los Angeles can be found on mutigers.com following each meet.
Next week, Missouri will travel to the historic Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa for action on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Drake University will play host to the NCAA Track & Field Championships in June.
For all the latest on Mizzou track and field, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MIZ_TrackField