Track and field athletes earn All-American honors

The Missouri Southern men’s and women’s track and field teams recently sent 10 individuals to the 2016 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kan.

Six of those student athletes came away with All-American performances, while Jayce Thomas earned All-American honors in multiple events.

Thomas finished fourth in the heptathlon to earn All-American honors, while also placing eighth in the high jump to be named All-American. During the season, Thomas was the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships High Point Winner, while scoring an MSSU school record of 5,615 points in the event. That point total is the fourth-highest ever in Division II history.

Sophomore Kennan Harrison was an All-American as well; the Carthage native finished seventh in the triple jump.

On the women’s side, the Lions had two All-Americans in the pole vault, including the national runner-up Melanie Bower. Bower placed second in the event, while freshman Emily Presley was eighth.

Kaylee Morgan had an impressive day in the long jump as she earned All-American honors and set a new school record in the process. Morgan leaped to a mark of 20-02.25 to place third overall. She is the only women in MSSU Track and Field history to jump beyond 20 feet in the long jump.

Emily Harris earned her second-straight All-American honor in the mile as the junior finished seventh in the finals of the event. She is the school record holder in the women’s mile.

In other news, women’s head coach Patty Vavra, an MSSU alum and Athletics Hall of Fame member, announced her retirement after 22 years in the position. She will continue to teach in the Kinesiology Department, while Bryan Schiding, the men’s coach, will take the reins of both programs next season.

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