It was a program first in Pittsburg, Kansas, over the weekend, as Missouri Western competed in its first-ever MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.
Missouri Western had nine events with top ten finishes and broke eleven school records. Senior Phil Thompson was again amongst the standouts as he finished fifth in the men’s triple jump with a jump of 49-1 ½ and eighth in the men’s long jump with a jump of 22-6 1/4.
The women jumpers also had a good weekend with a couple of top-five finishes. Junior Julia Odir finished fourth in the women’s triple jump and hit an NCAA provisional mark with a jump of 38-8 ¾. Junior Mallory Vawter finished fifth in the women’s long jump and also hit an NCAA provisional mark with a jump of 18-9. Vawter was pleased with her performance.
“It’s a pretty good feeling, especially coming into a new program,” Vawter said.
She also hopes her experience and performance sets a good example for all the young athletes on her team who are witnessing college track championships for the first time.
“I’m taking it as an opportunity to maybe start something so then they can follow in my footsteps,” Vawter said.
One freshman who made the most of his first championship track meet was Graham Buresh. Buresh set a school record in the men’s 400-meter prelims with a time of 49.28. He went on to finish eighth in the event. Buresh did not know what to expect at an event like this.
“There were a lot more people than I thought there was going to be,” Buresh said. “It was pretty loud. There was also a lot of adrenaline though with all the people screaming.”
Buresh was also a part of the men’s 4×400 team that took eighth as well. Buresh, along with Jalen Pauley, Chris Stanley and Nate Jelinek had a time of 3:19.56. Buresh knows he will keep getting better in his freshman year and knows the rest of the team will do the same.
“Just keep doing what we are doing,” Buresh said. “A lot of people ran their best races of the year at this last meet, so if we keep doing that, we should be good.”
Coach Marc Bierbaum thinks his team showed a lot of effort even though most of them had never been a part of anything like a conference championship track meet at the collegiate level.
“I think it was quite the experience,” Bierbaum said. “I think we took in the energy well.”
Bierbaum is also happy his athletes finally got to compete in a track meet where team points are kept score, adding a new element to the meet.
“That level of competitiveness that everybody is bringing out and the cheering, it’s more than just a time it’s about the place,” Bierbaum said.
Other standouts this weekend was freshman Hanna Williams who finished fourth in the women’s 400-meter dash (55.83), Junior Kaitlyn Shoemaker finished seventh in the 3,000 meter (10:20.92), and the women’s 4×400 meter relay team (Morgan Doyle, Alison Nutt, Madison Roumph, and Hanna Williams) finished ninth with a time of 3:57.48.