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Central Missouri Mules track and field team heads to St. Charles, Mo. for the 2015 MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Mules track is ranked for the fourth straight week. They check in at No. 21 in the latest rankings with 57.30 points and remain fourth in the Central Region poll.

Winning a conference championship is main priority for the mules according to Coach Kirk Pederson. ” We put a lot of emphasis on the conference meet, we like to be a balance program and score at every event,” said Coach Pederson.

UCM and Pittsburg State have been the only teams to capture an MIAA outdoor championship. During that 15 year stretch, UCM has claimed 10 titles to PSU’s five, but the Gorillas have won the last three titles. ” I think they are better outdoor team than indoor, so we are going to have a great competition to beat them it should be some good track and field,” .said Coach Pederson.

The Gorillas won the indoor championships in March by just 12 points over the Mules.

The success of the woman’s team has overshadowed mules and certain athletes that have performed well this season. Junior thrower Canigga Raynor leads the conference in both the discus and hammer throw. Raynor won the weight throw at the MIAA champions and was named an All-American in the event. ” He has been real consist all season. He is definitely  a key to our success and one of many to help us win,” said Coach Pederson.

Indoor All-American Cole Phillips seeks to double up on his pole vault championship from the indoor season. He’s currently third in the MIAA at 16 feet 6.75 inches. ” He had a consist indoor season but due to some injuries he hasn’t been consist during outdoor. But he is a good athlete and has a good head on his shoulders so I’m sure he will be ready to go,” said Coach Pederson.

The 4×400 meter relay is always one of the more exciting events of the championships. This weekend should be no different as the top six teams are all separated by less than three seconds and have all ran at least three minutes and 15 seconds. The Mule’s 4×400 meter relay team placed fifth at the indoor championships. They currently rank fifth in the MIAA this season. ” we have had some injuries and haven’t felt like we have put a team on the track that’s our best. We want two things, win conference title in relays and qualify for nationals so we have to run faster,” said Coach Pederson.

The three day event takes place on the campus of Lindenwood University May 1-3. Day one starts on Friday with the men’s pentathlon and the women’s heptathlon at 2 p.m. Saturday will see the conclusion of the multi-events at 10 a.m. Field events start at 1 p.m. with the first track events starting at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the final day, will crown team champions. The day gets underway with field events at 11 a.m. and track events at 11:30 a.m.

PHOTO BY AUSTAN JONES

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