The Missouri State women’s track and field team competed in two invitationals with several setting new personal best in preparation for the conference championship.

At the Pittsburg State Invitational, Missouri State had five top-five finishes.

Senior Taryn Smiley finished second in the 60-meter dash with a 7.59 mark. She also placed 10th in the 200-meter run with a personal best 25.17 time.

Junior Grace Breiten also finished in second place setting a personal best 4:57.23 mile.

In the long jump, senior Sidne’ Williamson and junior Jamilah James placed second and fourth. Williamson marked a 5.78-meter leap and James jumped 5.67m.

Freshman Edna Dar also finished in the top 10 in the 800-meter run. Dar placed fifth with a 2:17.08 run.

One week after the Pittsburg State Invitational, the women’s track team traveled to the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska. The invitational hosted events for the first two days of February.

“For our indoor season, outside of the conference championship, the meet in Nebraska is always the biggest regular season meet, just in terms of competition and opportunities for us to improve our marks,” interim head coach Jordan Fife said. “So, we always come here hoping that we’re ready for some of that big-time competition.”

Missouri State started the Sevigne Husker Invitational with two top-10 finishes in the long jump. 

James produced a season-best 5.84 jump, allowing her to finish in fifth place.

“She’s been jumping really well to start the year,” Fife said. “She came out of the gate with a couple of really good jumps to start things off and was able to finish pretty high in the long jump.”

Williamson also finished in the top 10, claiming 10th place with a 5.67 mark.

Senior Olivia Ott competed in the indoor pentathlon for the first time this season. Ott ended with 3,180 points and a career-best 2:35.48 in the 800-meter run.

Smiley qualified for the 60-meter finals on Feb. 2 with a sixth-place finish with a 7.60 time.

“It’s very difficult to make the final here in Nebraska,” Fife said. “It’s always exciting to be on the start line with the caliber of athletes that make the final like this. It was a really good situation for her to be in to test those nerves.”

Also racing in the 60-meter dash was freshman Tomi Bamigbade and sophomore Amalie Gunn. Bamigbade ran a 7.76, and Gunn ran an 8-second flat 60m.

In the 60-meter hurdles, junior Chicago Bains just missed out on qualifying, finishing in 14th place with an 8.85 time.

The next day in Nebraska started early for the Bears with the 200-meter dash.

Smiley set a new career best in the 200-meter dash with a 12th place 24.89 time. Bamigbade finished with a season best 25.24 mark, allowing her to place 21st. Williamson placed 26th with a personal record of 25.37. Gunn also used a season-best performance to finish 37th.

The mile run saw sophomore Erica Wollmering set a new personal best. She finished 13th with a time of 5:02.88. Junior Paityn Howat and Dar also placed 18th and 23rd, respectively.

Senior Kayla Fallis set a new career best with a 2:16.29 time and 15th place finish in the 800-meter. Junior Madeline Saville placed three places behind Fallis with a 2:18.52.

The 3,000-meter run had Breiten place at 13th with a 10:13.23 mark, while junior Jordyn Capra finished 19th with a 10:25.81 time.

Competing for the Bears in the 4x400-meter relay was Bamigbade, Smiley, Williamson and Gunn. The team earned a season-best 10th place.

The Bears now have one more meet before they head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Feb. 23-24.

“Everybody circles the conference championship as the big one,” Fife said. “So, we know everybody is going to bring their best. We haven’t seen our best quite yet, but I feel confident over the next couple of weeks we’re going to put ourselves in that position. Then we’ll be ready to have our best when we need to have it.”

Missouri State will compete in the Gorilla Classic on Feb. 8-9 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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.