The Missouri State women’s track and field teams took 17 athletes to compete in 14 events across distance, sprint and field events. Missouri State had a solid finish to the weekend, setting a new school record, sending several athletes to the finals and placing top 10 in a handful of events at Drake Relays.
Grace Breiten earned her spot in Missouri State’s record book, posting the fourth fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time in school history.
Breiten placed first among the collegiate runners and second overall behind a professional athlete. The junior set a new personal best by almost 30 seconds, putting up a time of 10:28.67.
“This performance will probably get her to the national meet,” interim head coach Jordan Fife said.
Missouri State set a new school record in the 4x800-meter relay, previously set in 2017, beating it by nine seconds. Freshman Edna Dar, junior Paityn Howat, senior Kayla Fallis and junior Madeline Saville reset the school record with a time of 8:58.06 for a 10th place finish.
Fife said it was very encouraging to see the athletes come together and run for each other to get the school record.
“It was exciting to see them pull that together,” Fife said. “I still think that record will continue to go down and down over the next few years.”
The 4x100-meter relay qualified for Saturday’s finals with an eighth place prelim finish. Sophomore Timeka Jordan, junior Taryn Smiley, freshman Tomi Bamigbade and freshman Namibia Clavier paced the Bears to a 46.44 race.
Missouri State finished second in the finals of the 4x100, posting a time of 47.05.
“With the type of talent at this meet, for that team to be the second-place team at the Drake Relays, says a lot about their tremendous performance,” Fife said.
Capturing an eighth place finish in the 4x1,600-meter relay was Breiten, sophomore Erica Wollmering, Dar and Howat with a time of 20:31.20.
Smiley ran an 11.70 race in the 100-meter prelims, qualifying her for the finals. Smiley was seeded seventh going in to Saturday’s contest but finished fifth overall with a 11.95 time.
“Making a final at the Drake Relays is a really big deal,” Fife said. “For her to represent Missouri State the way she did in the final, we are certainly very happy with that.”
In the 800-meter final, four Bears placed in the top 25. Fallis led the way with a 2:13.64 ninth place finish. Saville set a new career best for a 2:15.34 17th place finish, followed by teammates Howat, who placed 22nd, and sophomore Jasmine Crawford in 23rd.
Two distance runners set personal records in the 1,500-meter run. Dar posted a season-best time of 4:34.46 taking 14th place, while Wollmering ran a career best time of 4:34.56 for 15th place.
In field events, junior Jamilah James leaped a mark of 12.26 meters, earning seventh place in the triple jump.
The running Bears will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championship in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Fife said Drake Relays is a good precursor to the conference meet, giving the younger athletes a chance to compete on a big stage and see how well they could execute.
“With conference two weeks away, the biggest thing for us is confidence,” Fife said. “Some of our athletes look up to people in their events and think that they are unreachable. We feel like, now, we could be just as good as them or better.”