After having one month off from their second-place finish at the Missouri Holiday Opener, the Missouri State women’s track team went to the Arkansas Invitational with four athletes setting new personal bests.

As the team returned to school, interim head coach Jordan Fife said it looked like the training went well over break. 

“Coming back from Christmas break, you don’t really know what to expect,” Fife said. “We’re kind of in a good spot to start the new year and get ready for our conference championships.”

During the invitational, some MSU runners set new personal bests. Senior Sidne’ Williamson finished second place — the highest placing for the team — with her personal best 5.71-meter leap in the long jump. This was the second-straight meet where she improved her personal best.

Junior Chicago Bains placed the next highest, claiming third place in the 60-meter hurdles and setting a new season best at 8.86 seconds. Following behind her for Missouri State, senior Olivia Ott finished seventh with 9.31, and freshman Tomi Bamigbade finished eighth with a time of 9.37.

In the 200-meter dash, senior Taryn Smiley finished 10th in 25.19 seconds. Bamigbade also ran in the 200 and set a season best of 25.69 seconds and finished 13th. Ott and Bains also finished 17th and 19th with new personal bests at 26.40 and 26.47 seconds, respectively.

Smiley also set a new season best with a 7.62 seconds ninth place finish in the 60-meter dash. Bamigbade and Bains also added season highs in the 60 at 7.84 and 8.09 seconds, respectively.

Junior Grace Breiten took 10th place in the mile with a personal best 5:06.76. Following right behind her was sophomore Erica Wollmering who finished 11th with a 5:11.9. Junior Jordyn Capra trailed three places behind Wollmering, finishing with a 5:21.37.

Even with good performances from Missouri State runners, Fife said he knows the team could be even better down the road.

“We just need to get sharper, and that’s going to happen just as the season goes along,” Fife said. “We worked really hard during this phase of the season knowing that some of the results are not going to be the real fancy headline results.”

Missouri State will head to Terre Haute, Indiana, for the Sycamore Team Invitational on Jan. 19.

“These meets give us a chance to work out those things outside of a practice environment,” Fife said. “It gives us a chance to be in a better facility with race-like conditions and get us used to that feeling, so when we go to a conference meet, we don’t get overwhelmed.”

Bryce is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in communication. He started writing about sports for The Standard during the spring semester of 2018.