PREVIEW: #UTTylerTF to compete at Missouri Southern Open

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
by Wes Bloomquist ||

TYLER – The UT Tyler Indoor Track & Field team will compete at the Missouri Southern Open being held at the Mercy Indoor Track on Friday and Saturday in Joplin, Missouri.

The Patriots are coming off strong individual showings at last week’s season-opening meet at the University of Houston and will send 11 athletes to Missouri for the two-day event at Missouri Southern State University which competes in NCAA Division II.

Two-time Indoor All-American Whitney Simmons headlines the contingent of Patriots after winning last week’s Weight Throw in Houston. Simmons, a senior from White Oak, opened her season with a throw of 18.19 meters which is currently the top mark in NCAA Division III. Simmons finished as the 2014 DIII National Runner-up and fifth at last year’s Indoor Championships. Simmons is also the defending NCAA DIII National Hammer Champion in Outdoor Track & Field.

Gabriel Perez will represent UT Tyler in the Weight Throw on the men’s side after establishing a new program record last week with a throw of 17.08 meters in Houston. His previous top mark was 15.09 meters last season.

On the track, the Patriots will see Zach Richardson, Ricky Hall, Logan Houser, Conner Benson and Nathan Adams running on the men’s side and Mari Rodriguez, Tristin Salem, Michaela Heys and Daina Wilde on the women’s side. Richardson won the 200-meter at UH with a time of 22.95 which is the second-best time in UT Tyler history and will run the 200 and 400 in Missouri. He will compete against Houser in the 200, while Houser will also run in the 800. Hall will compete in the 200 and 400, while distance runners Benson and Adams will run the 3,000 meter and 1-mile. Benson finished second at the UH meet with a time of 9:18, while Adams will be competing in his first Indoor meet. Richardson and Houser are sophomores from Waxahachie who helped the Patriots to a 4x400 meter relay ASC Championship last season, while Benson was the ASC Outdoor High-Point Athlete last season. Benson won the 5,000 and 10,000 at last year’s Outdoor meet and was the 2014 ASC Cross Country Champion.

Rodriguez started her Indoor season by finishing third at UH by running a 2:31 in the 800. She will be joined by Salem and Heys in the event this week, while also running the 200 with Salem. Wilde is set to compete in the long jump and the 60-meter dash.

“We started off so well, I’m just looking for them to build off that and compete,” UT Tyler coach Chris Stonestreet said. “I want them to stay within themselves and trust the technical improvements we have made this week. If we do that, it will be another great week.”

UT Tyler will return to action after Missouri by traveling to Boston, Massachusetts next week where it is set to compete at the Terrier Invitational at Boston University.