Clark, McShea Make Statements Final Day of Championships
Clark hold his plaque high.
Clark hold his plaque high.

May 18, 2014

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CARBONDALE, Ill.—Cirron Clark and Kelly McShea make gold-medal statements Sunday afternoon, as the duo earns Missouri Valley Conference titles in the pole vault and 5,000-meter run, respectively, on the final day of the 2014 MVC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Competing in two events on the day, Clark gave a gutsy performance in the pole vault, exceeding his former personal-best mark by 11 inches. The freshman pole vaulter opened up at a height of 4.63 meters and would not quit, as he continued to move from height to height with ease. With three competitors remaining at 5.18 meters (17-00.00), Clark made it look easy crossing the bar on his second attempt. Corey Szamlewski of Northern Iowa and Byron Ferrell of Indiana State failed to meet that mark, giving Clark the outright title. Clark attempted 5.20 meters, but failed to vault above the school-record mark set by Darren Nichols in 1988. This height propels the pole vaulter to a possible regional bid with a current regional ranking of No. 44. Clark also notched a ninth-place performance in the triple jump, as he finished with a long-mark of 13.67 meters (45-00.50). Chase Pavelonis also vaulted to points for the Redbird men’s squad, as he finished in fifth with a best mark of 4.98 meters (16-04.00).

McShea earned her solo first-place title of the weekend and second All-Conference nod, as the junior distance runner finished first with a 28-second personal-best time of 16:43.75 in the 5,000-meter run, capturing a facility record with the time. McShea stayed patient throughout 4,000-meters, and made her move towards the end, as the threesome of McShea, Alyvia Clark of Loyola and Sadie Darnell of Southern Illinois separated from the pack with 1K remaining. It was neck-and-neck to the finish line for the trio of runners, but McShea kicked with 100 meters to go to claim the outright title. Alyvia Clark finished with a time of 16:44.81 and Darnell clocked 16:47.41.

Ryan Rutherford captured another All-Valley performance, as he finished second behind All-American John Mascari of Indiana State with a 5K time of 14:25.55 to earn another facility record. Mascari and Rutherford made it another exciting race, but the junior distance runner could not hold onto the lead the last two laps. Rutherford will head to regionals with two All-Valley performances.

“I was a little disappointed in that we did not get some of the finishes we wanted, and I know we are very capable of doing that. But there is nothing we can do, and losing Andy (Devonish), Rachael Brewer and Sean Senf really hurt us, but it is just what happens,” head track and field coach Elvis Forde said. “On the other hand, we had some very good performances. Kelly McShea ran a fantastic 5,000 meter PR. The last couple years she was racing very well. She had a rough start to the beginning of the year, but I think she is starting to find herself again. Maybe, Rachael’s injury was inspiration, but whatever it was, she ran with a lot of confidence and power. Kudos to her. Ryan Rutherford had a great performance again. The young man from Indiana State (Mascari) ran extremely well this weekend, and Ryan has nothing to hold his head down about because regionals is in a couple of weeks. In the field events, Cirron was outstanding in the men’s pole vault. He has put in a lot of hard work this season and worked to achieve that goal. I am very proud of Cirron for his performance this weekend.”

Curt Jensen earned another All-Valley title, as he finished third in the discus with a best throw of 51.52 meters (169-00).

Fabian Norgrove notched a spot on the podium, as the senior sprinter finished third in the men’s 400-meter dash to earn All-Valley honors with a time of 47.74. Norgrove also helped his 4x400-meter relay team of Antonio FarleyCoty Kramer and CJ Hamilton to an All-Valley, third-place finish with a time of 3:11.28. Anderson Devonish succumbed to an injury during the 4x100-meter relay and was not able to compete in the 4x400-meter relay.

Shandel Ellis finished second in the women’s 400-meter sprint to capture All-Conference honors, as the senior clocked a time of 54.23. Ellis also finished fifth with a time of 24.06 in the women’s 200-meter sprint to score points for the Redbird squad, while Sarah Mussallem picked up a fifth-place 400-meter dash personal-best time of 56.04.

Also on the track, senior Kristen Zillmer earned her second All-Valley performance of the weekend with a third-place finish in the women’s 1,500-meter run. Zillmer led the pack of runners alongside Alyvia Clark and Emily Delvo of Bradley. With 100-meters remaining, the trio raced neck-and-neck to the finish line, with Zillmer finishing third in the end, clocking a time of 4:33.68.

Deshaun Jordan finished the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.99 to place sixth.

Both the Redbird men and women’s squads finished in sixth-place. The men totaled 87 team points, while the women amassed 81 points. Indiana State won the men’s competition, while Wichita State was the champions for the women.

“I know we have a lot to look forward to this next year,” Forde said. "It is unfortunate the athletes go home and realize they can’t do anything more. We will fill holes next year, and I am looking forward to it. We did a good job this weekend, and I can assure you, it was not for a lack of effort because we had a lot of victories, and kudos to the athletes.”

Select Redbirds will compete in the NCAA West Regional meet in Fayetteville, Ark., May 29-31.

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