Vincent Kiprop Breaks Records, Secures National Championship

Sophomore Vincent Kiprop kept up his winning pace during the 2016-17 year, breaking records in the process.

The distance runner from Kericho, Kenya, won his third national championship in March by taking the top spot in the 5,000 meters during the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships in Birmingham, Ala. His time of 13:42:42 broke not only his Missouri Southern record by nine seconds, but the Division II National Championship meet record by two seconds.

Just a few short weeks later, he set a new facility record – and broke his own outdoor 5k record by 22 seconds – during the Washington University Invite. Kiprop finished the race in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 13:53.74, 34 seconds in front of the second-place finisher in the race. The time is the fastest overall in Division II this year, and is the second-fastest time in the NCAA in all divisions.

He also holds national championship rankings in the indoor 5k, the outdoor 10k and cross country. His success comes hot on the heels of a successful 2015-16 track and field season.

During his freshman year, the nursing major won the Division II National Championship in the 10,000 meter at the 2016 Division II Outdoor Championships. He was also a repeat champion at the MIAA and NCAA Division II meets.

“We are all getting to witness first-hand one of the most dominating distance runners the NCAA and Division II has seen,” said Jared Bruggeman, Director of Athletics. “I think I speak for everyone here at Missouri Southern by saying we are very proud to have him wear the Green and Gold.”

Athletics Spring 2017

Sophomore Emily Presley Setting a High Bar for Success

A sophomore at Missouri Southern State University is soaring to new heights as a member of the women’s track and field team.

Emily Presley, a pole vaulter from St. Clair, Mo., won her event five meets in a row this spring and was named MIAA Co-Field Athlete of the Week three times. At the Pittsburg State track meet, she won the pole vault by clearing 14-00.00, which solidified her spot as the top pole vaulter in Division II.

Presley has been pole vaulting since seventh grade, when she attended a camp at Missouri Southern. She says her experience with the MSSU track and field team has been amazing.

“I am just super happy that we have the coaches and staff that we do here in the athletics department overall,” she says. “I still have a lot of room to grow and I have a lot of goals that I have set for myself.”

She says she has thought about going pro, and that she feels that she is on track to get there.

“I just need to stay on task because I have a set of tasks that I need to accomplish every season.”

Presley says her favorite part about pole vaulting is the rush of adrenaline that comes along with it. “I can practice all week and then I get to the meet and it’s a whole new ball game,” she says.

“The adrenaline I get from clearing a big bar is like nothing else.”

Athletics Spring 2017

Frazier, Santiago Inducted into MIAA Hall of Fame

Former Missouri Southern point guard Eddin Santiago and former MSSU athletic director and football coach Jim Frazier have been inducted into the MIAA Hall of Fame.

Frazier led MSSU to the NAIA National Football Title during the 1972 season and is the school’s all-time winningest football coach. Frazier would then serve as the director of athletics, where under his tenure, the school won 23 conference championships and one NCAA Division II National Championship. He helped in the development and improvement of several MSSU facilities including Young Gymnasium, Fred G. Hughes Stadium and the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
He was inducted into the MSSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

Santiago was the Lions’ starting point guard from 1998-2002 where he helped the team to MIAA and NCAA regional titles. The 1999-2000 season saw the Lions go 30-3 and advance to the NCAA Elite Eight, falling in the semifinals.

Santiago holds the MIAA career record in both steals and assists. His 383 career steals rank second all-time in Division II. He was a three-time first-team All-MIAA selection and was twice named an All-American earning MVP of the 2000 NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament. Santiago is one of just 19 men’s basketball players at Missouri Southern to score 1,000 points and is 16th all-time in MSSU history with 1,108 points. Santiago was selected to the MSSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

The pair join five other individuals (Sallie Beard, Pat Lipira, Rod Smith, Tom Rutledge and Warren Turner) as well as the 1992 NCAA National Champion Softball Team as MSSU members of the MIAA Hall of Fame.

Athletics Spring 2017

Sallie Beard Inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Former Missouri Southern coach and Athletic Director Sallie Beard has joined the impressive ranks of those who have helped define athletics in Missouri.

Beard was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as part of the fourth-annual Women’s Sports Luncheon presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation on March 30 in Springfield, Mo.

“If you had told me when I was a student at Missouri Southern that I would have been fortunate enough to have the career that I would have, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Beard said. “As I reflect on my career, I feel very fortunate to have the breadth of experience I was afforded. I am humbled and honored by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame deciding to recognize my career.”

Beard served Missouri Southern State University as both coach and athletic director for 37 years before her retirement in 2009. She single-handedly created women’s athletics at Missouri Southern when she started the first women’s sports teams, serving as head coach of basketball, softball, tennis, and track and field. For 25 years, she was the women’s athletic director. In 2001, she was named the first athletic director to oversee both the men’s and women’s athletic programs at the university.

In 2014, Beard was awarded the Nike Lifetime Achievement Award by NACWAA, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. She is a member of the Missouri Southern State University Athletics Hall of Fame and the Joplin Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2010 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the MIAA Hall of Fame.

Athletics Spring 2017

Putting Himself on the Line – Senior Lars Lindquist Battles Back from Illness

Lindquist’s story of perseverance and his desire to come back is definitely reflective of his personality and willpower.

It was the spring of 2015 and Missouri Southern senior football player Lars Lindquist was working out in the weight room when he felt light-headed and tried to sit up.

When he got up, Lindquist blacked out. The next thing he remembers is waking up on the floor, covered in blood and soon being put into an ambulance.

“I had been having issues with my lungs for a little while and I thought it might have been a cold or allergies, so I didn’t really pay too much attention to it,” he said. “It progressed to shortness of breath and I started having issues sprinting without being entirely out of breath and almost passing out then. That wasn’t me, I’m usually in much better shape than that.”

What Lindquist was feeling would turn out to be a pulmonary embolism: a blood clot that usually starts out in the legs and travels to the lungs. Prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death, but situations like this are very risky.

Missouri Southern athletic trainer Amanda Wolf saw Lindquist come out of the weightroom and collapse. She immediately rushed to treat Lars and that prompt attention helped him on his road to recovery.

“He was lying face down and wasn’t breathing normally,” Wolf said. “I rolled him over and began preparing to give him CPR, but once he rolled over, he began to breathe normally again.”

Not only did Lindquist recover, he got himself back in playing shape.

“Lars is very lucky to have had the opportunity to come back and play,” Wolf said. “He had to be very patient and put in a lot of work at the same time. For some, it would have been more than what they wanted to take on. It would have been easy to say, ‘I’m done with football.’ But Lars wanted to finish his college career on his own terms. He had a goal to come back and play football. And he did.”

Lindquist, a native of New Mexico, had to watch all of 2015 from the bench.

“It was really tough watching that season,” Lindquist said. “Those were my guys, the seniors that I came in with. Your natural instinct is to want to help and I felt I could have been a help. But we got through that and here I am.”

When he returned to the field, he also had to adjust to a new position. Coach Denver Johnson saw potential for him on the offensive line rather the other side of the ball. During the 2016 season, he started in all 11 games for the Lions.

“I had a lot of fun with this group of guys on the line,” Lindquist said. “Coach Bill Bleil is the best offensive line coach I’ve ever had and he definitely helped me out and refreshed me on my technique. He was very understanding and he just got me back and helped shake the rust off really fast.”

Lindquist’s story of perseverance and his desire to come back is definitely reflective of his personality and willpower.

“Lars wasn’t going to let this stop him from fulfilling his goal,” Wolf said. “So he listened to the doctors, listened to his body and did
what he needed to come back and play.”

A professional and technical writing major, Lindquist will graduate in May and hopes to become a sports journalist.

“I like hearing the backgrounds of athletes,” he said. “There’s a lot of interesting stories and I like hearing champions speak. I would love to have the opportunity to help tell their stories.”

Athletics Spring 2017