Missouri Western track and field traveled to Bolivar, Missouri, to compete in the Southwest Baptist Invitational, a meet that features many MIAA schools. The Griffons had a very strong showing as the women finished fifth out of 16 teams, and the men finished eighth out 14.
Missouri Western had three first place finishers including freshman Savannah Simmons who won the 100m dash with a time of 11.97. Her time also broke the school record.
“She ran an extremely relaxed 100m dash,” head coach Yuriy Litvinski said. “That was a school record, and she won the event which was great. She looked at the time clock and she said, ‘I can’t believe I ran that fast coach.’ I just told her she’s going to be running really fast by the end of the year.”
After a grueling week of practice, Simmons surprised herself with her performance.
“I wasn’t running it quite 100 percent,” Simmons said. “Coach just told me to run it relaxed, and I felt like I ran it too relaxed. When I came across line I thought there was no way I broke a 12 [seconds], but I broke a 12.”
Simmons also had no idea she broke the school record until the next day.
“I had no idea I set the school record until I looked at the recap,” Simmons said. “I was like, oh cool, my coach didn’t tell me about that, but it’s cool.”
Sophomore Hanna Williams picked up right where she left off for outdoor season, as she won her first 400m dash since her hamstring injury she suffered late in indoor season. Williams ran a 54.69, which is a school record for outdoor and hit a provisional qualifying mark. Although Williams won the race, the hamstring injury still lingers in the back of her mind.
“It’s still a little challenging. It still hurts, but going at it day-by-day to get better,” Williams said. “I was not expecting to race this well. I felt like when I started, I was not doing good, but I kicked it in at the end. I was just thinking about [my hamstring] too much, but after I got past that part I told myself to just run.”
Other notables for the Griffons are Jordan Garr, who won the shot put with a throw of 16.88m; Simone Baldeh, who won the hammer throw with a throw of 45.34m; and Julia Odir, who finished third in the triple jump with a jump of 11.97m. Odir’s mark was good enough for a provisional mark.
The women scored 71 points and finished fifth in a competitive meet. Williams loves how her team is performing and thinks this is just the start.
“I’m not as surprised because I know we have really good people who are peaking right now,” Williams said. “I know we care more this year opposed to last year. I can feel the potential in this team.”
Litvinski thinks being outside in the sun has upped his team’s morale, as well.
“The excitement is high because we are now outside,” Litvinski said. “We get to see the sun, which we didn’t have much of during indoors. It’s exciting, our kids have great energy going around.”
Missouri Western will look to keep the sunny disposition as they compete in two meets this week. First up, Missouri Western will send a few athletes to the K.T. Woodman Classic in Wichita, Kansas, on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, on Saturday the team will compete in the 11th Annual David Suenram Gorilla Classic in Pittsburg, Kansas.