Tigers feeling right at home

As hosts, Missouri confident entering NCAA Mideast Regional meet
Friday, May 25, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:38 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008
Missouri junior Shernelle Richards, who threw the discus 163 feet, 10 inches this year at the Kansas Relays, practices Thursday for the NCAA Mideast Regional today and Saturday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

For the first time in the 11-year history of Audrey J. Walton Stadium, the venue will host the Mideast Regional competition. Nearly 900 of the region’s top athletes from more than 87 universities will be in Columbia this weekend for the meet.

Nineteen Missouri athletes qualified for the regional on their quest to reach the national competition June 6 through 9 in Sacramento, Calif. Those athletes have spent the past few weeks preparing for the regional.

“With homefield advantage, you know the field better than you competitors, and you’ll have a favorable crowd.” said Missouri junior Jason Morris, who qualified in the men’s discus and hammer throw.

Brett Halter, Missouri’s associate head coach in charge of throwers, said he recognizes the benefits of home field advantage. Besides sleeping at home and not worrying about traveling, “it’s a great place to be a thrower with all the community and department support.”

Despite challenges posed by mild and wet spring weather during training season, the Missouri athletes and their coaches said they still feel extremely prepared for this weekend’s competition.

“We’ve had a really weird season,” senior Bobby Musil said, “but the past few weeks we’ve been able to train. We’re really focused,”

Musil, who holds the Missouri hammer throw record, will be one of the first Tigers athletes to take the field when the meet begins at 11 a.m. today.

Athletes qualified throughout the outdoor season for this weekend’s regionals.

“We’ll be at our peak performance during championship season,” said sophomore Krishna Lee, who will compete in the women’s shot put and hammer throw. “Big 12, regionals and then nationals.”

Junior Elizabeth Robe, who will be competing in the women’s shot put and in the hammer throw, said she is “ready to roll.”

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