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Pehkonen, Broaddrick shine on Missouri track

The quarter mile and 3,000-meter racers highlighted the men’s track team at the Missouri Southern Open Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Track and Field Head Coach Wade Miller said he was glad to see some of his young runners perform well this weekend.

“Some of our athletes ran for the first time in college this weekend and I was glad to see some good performances,” Miller said.

On the first day of the meet in Joplin, Austin Kruzich posted a career-best in the 60-meter dash and Sawyer Pehkonen posted another top-10 finish in the 200-meter race.

Pehkonen marked the first Eagle runner to cross the finish line in the 200-meters, finishing ninth with his time of 22.49 seconds. Landon Huslig ran the next fastest time, 22.94, placing him 23rd. Kruzich came in as the third Eagle, placing 25th with his time of 23.16 seconds.

Kruzich also ran in the 60-meter race, alongside freshman Eli Sherrill. Sherrill covered the 60 meters in 7.14 seconds, fast enough for 23rd while Kruzich came in one second behind Sherrill at 24th with a time of 7.15 seconds, his personal best.

On Saturday, the highlight finishes came in the 400-meter and 3,000-meter races.

Pehkonen and Ryan Lutterloh posted two top-six finishes in the 400 meters. Pehkonen placed third, at 49.68 seconds and Lutterloh ran his first 400-meter race for Oklahoma Christian in 50.79 seconds, fast enough for a sixth-place finish.

Kyle Broaddrick led Oklahoma Christian in the 3,000-meter race and placed third with a personal-best time of 8:45.39. Evan McQuirk, competing in the Oklahoma Christian jersey for the first time, finished 5th in 8:50.76 and followed by seventh-place runner Sisay Gillock at 8:54.56. Senior Bryant Keirns rounded out the Eagles in eighth place with his time of 8:59.71.

The Eagles’ top 4×400 relay team, consisting of Huslig, Josh Jones, Sherrill and Pehkonen, placed sixth with its time of 3:24.96.

Miller said this meet would build some confidence for his team moving forward.

“I believe we gained some confidence and momentum from this meet, and we are looking forward to what the next few weeks hold,” Miller said.

The Eagles will attempt to qualify for and compete in the Pittsburg State Invitational on Jan. 29.

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