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As the Missouri State women’s track team gears up for their outdoor season, they hope to improve upon their performance during the indoor season. The team placed sixth out of 10 teams at the outdoor conference championships. 

“We know our best is going to be better than it was indoor,” interim head coach Jordan Fife said.

Indoor track meets are held at different types of facilities — a 200-meter flat track, 200-meter banked track or 300-meter flat track — whereas outdoor meets are all held at 400-meter flat tracks. 

Outdoor meets add many events not held indoors, which change the events of many people on the team. Instead of the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, outdoor meets hold the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles. Outdoor meets also add the 400-meter hurdles, javelin, hammer throw, discus, steeplechase and 10,000-meter run. 

“Some people will keep their same events, and others are kind of forced into something shorter or longer or with a hurdle,” Fife said. 

New events, especially field events, should boost the team’s potential at the outdoor conference championships. 

“In the javelin, we’re excited. We think we can have two of the top scorers in the conference with Rochelle Etienne (sophomore) and freshman Rachel Buschling,” Fife said. 

Etienne placed second as a freshman in last year’s conference meet. 

Another key component for a successful season is junior jumper Jamilah James. She punched her ticket to the NCAA tournament last season and was a major contributor throughout the season.

“Jamilah James was an 18-point scorer at the indoor conference championships, and we think she can score that much or even more outdoors,” Fife said.

Fife went on to discuss the distance runners. 

“Distance-wise, we are lead by Grace Breiten again, primarily focused on the steeplechase,” Fife said. “We’re looking for another big year for her, as she has every year since she’s been here.” 

As a cross country runner, junior Breiten will be competing in her third season of the year and is excited to watch the team’s hard work pay off. 

“Collectively, we’ve gotten a lot stronger as a team this past indoor season,” Breiten said. “We continue to work on our depth and push each other in races and practices. I’m confident that if we continue working on our confidence and staying calm before races, that we will see big results.”

The sprint group will move from their indoor training in McDonald Arena to outdoor training to better prepare for the different events. Junior Chicago Bains and senior Taryn Smiley will lead the charge for that group. 

“Based on previous performances and how they did at the conference meet last year, we know that they can be right there at the top,” Fife said.

The biggest change for the team moving forward is preparation, Fife said. Whether be physically or mentally, they want to prepare even better than they have in the past. 

“We have some events that really help us as we transition from indoor to outdoor,” Fife said. “We want to be more competitive when we get to the conference meet.”

The track Bears opened their outdoor season with a second place finish at the Oral Roberts University Invitational last weekend. The successful meet was boosted by first place finishes from Breiten in the 5,000-meter run and junior Madeline Saville in the 1,500-meter run. 

The Bears will compete at the Mizzou Spring Open on April 5-6.

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