#TeamMO well represented at 2017 World Championships in London

#TeamMO well represented at 2017 World Championships in London

 2017 IAAF World Champs London Logo WP470x140

Chris Auckley

August 4, 2017, updated August 13

MOTrackFanatic @ outlook.com

Twitter: @MOTrackFanatic


Missouri Track Fanatic & Running Junkie

The 2016 Rio Olympics was a great opportunity for many Missourians to experience the pinnacle of worldwide sports competition. Six former Missouri natives and high schoolers made the US Olympic Track and Field team, while another was the U.S. Women’s head coach. Another native born in Missouri but raised elsewhere also made team USA, while eight former or current Missouri collegians were on rosters of other countries in Rio. One Missouri native coached an athlete from another country, while two other coaches who competed in high school or college in Missouri had athletes competing for Team USA. Finally, Missouri native Jeff Hartwig, himself a two-time Olympian, who now coaches at MICDS and is an agent, had two clients compete and win medals for the US in the vault.

You’d think that amount of representation would be hard to beat, but in one way it has been bettered for the IAAF Outdoor World Championships in London that kicked off today. The world governing body for track and field, cross country, race walking, and road, trail, mountain and ultra-running, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), holds the Outdoor World Championships every other year in the year following one Summer Olympics, and before the next. While it also holds the Indoors World Championships in March of a Summer Olympics year and two years later.

Seven former Missouri high schoolers are on Team USA for the meet this year, as are two others born in Missouri; one of which competed at a Missouri college, married a Missouri High School state champion and lived here post collegiately for a couple of years.

While the number of Missourians on Team USA are up from last year’s Olympics, the number of foreign Missouri collegians scheduled to compete at the World Championships appears to be down to three.

The IAAF Outdoor World Championships schedule is like the Olympics, 10 days of competition with a morning and evening session most days. All field events have a preliminary or qualification round, followed by a final round made up of the top 12 finishers a day or two afterwards. The top 8 athletes after three attempts advance to get three more. Unlike most competitions, preliminary or qualification round marks don’t follow an athlete to the finals. The scoreboard is wiped clean for the finals.

In track events shorter than 10k, there are 2-3 rounds per event, with the 100-meter dash, and 100 and 110-meter hurdles final two rounds held often in the same evening session, usually 2-3 hours apart. In other words, there are either a prelim and final, or a first round, semifinals, and finals.

Missourians Gwen Berry and Michael Rodgers probably have the best chance for medals. After a sixth-place finish in the 100-meters at the USA championships, Rodgers is in the 4×100 relay pool and may get the chance to run the prelims and or finals. Rodgers will look to add to his silver medal from the 2013 World Championships in the 4×100. In 2015, Rodgers placed 5th in the 100, then looked like he would anchor the USA to upset Usain Bolt and Jamaica in the 4×100 and stop their winning streak. However, Rodgers took off too early and the baton was passed out of the exchange zone, disqualifying the US. Rodgers, who has a World Indoor Silver in the 60-meter-dash in 2010, led off the US 4×100 in Rio last year. The team took third to earn the bronze, but were disqualified when officials ruled Tyson Gay touched the baton before the exchange zone as Rodgers extended it. That was just the latest mishap in the recent history of US men 4×100 struggles. Rodgers is hoping for redemption and to beat legend Usain Bolt in his last race before retirement.

Berry is currently second on the world performance list in the hammer throw, and has posted not only the American Record in May with her 250-10 toss in the hammer throw, but has four of the top 10 US marks all-time, all this year.  But don’t count out DeAnna Price either in the Hammer Throw. This will be the third straight outdoor global championships for Troy High School graduate. After two straight NCAA titles, Price made the Olympic team last year and advanced to the finals, taking 8th in Ro. Price is currently 8th on the world list with her PR of 245-9.

Just like Berry is having a phenomenal year with one great performance after another including her World Record in the weight throw indoors, Emily Sisson has been tearing up roads and track since disappointment at the 2016 Olympics Trials. Sisson took 10th in the 10k at the 2016 Olympic Trials and then scratched out of the 5k. She has since rebounded in her second year as a pro. On the USA Running Circuit, Sisson has posted two runner-up finishes at the 20k and 5k distances while winning her first US senior national title with road 10k title in October. Those three finishes earned her a cool $23,000. In February, Sisson ran 15.02.10 for 5k indoors, putting her fourth on the US All-time list. In March Sisson went 68:21 at the NYC Half-Marathon, moving to fifth on US All-Time List. In May, Sisson ran to a 4th-place finish at the Payton Jordan 10k in a PR 31:32, then ran 15:10 for 5k at the Prefontaine Classic.

At USA’s Sisson passed Olympic 10k medalist Shalane Flanagan, who was reportedly coming off injury and just a couple of months of training over the last two laps, and held on for a third place finish and PR 31:25 to make her first USA Senior Team after representing Team USA as a junior three times.

Actually, all four Missouri distance women could put a scare into the rest of the world. Steeplechasers Collen Quigley and Courtney Frerichs both had impressive Olympic debuts with 8th and 11th-place finishes in Rio. While Quigley was hurt or recovering most of the 2015-16 season, she was able to run a 4:12 1500m a few weeks before the 2016 Olympic Trials then take 3rd to make the Olympic team. This year is much the opposite. She set a PR of 9:20.00 in the steeple a few weeks after Rio last August. Quigley has raced plenty and had lots of success this year. In December, she won the USATF Club Cross Country Championships title. In February, ran a 4:24.88 mile indoors to move to 8th on the All-Time US list. Ran to a 3rd place finish at USA’s to secure her third-straight global championships berth.

Last month, Quigley won a 1500-meter race in Europe in 4:03.93, making her world class in that event as well as the steeplechase. That time puts her 22nd on the world senior performance list. Quigley appears primed and ready to improve on her 8th-place finish in Rio and she and her US teammates could hang with the Africans to the end.

For Frerichs, 2015-16 couldn’t have gone much better. After an All-American career at UMKC, Frerichs followed coach James Butler to New Mexico for her fifth-year of eligibility. She took 4th at the 2015 NCAA CC Champs, leading the Lady Lobos to the national team title and then got engaged at the meet to her former UMKC teammate and former Rock Bridge High runner Griffin Humphreys. Then without indoor college eligibility remaining, Frerichs ran a PR 15:31 5k. She capped her capped her college career with the 2016 NCAA DI steeplechase title and broke Jenny Simpson’s college record with a 9:25. Soon after, Frerichs sighed with Kimbia Athletic management company, like Missourians before her Matt Tegenkamp and Collen Quigley. Frerichs NCAA title moved her up one place from 2015 when she was second to Quigley.

After a new-year’s eve wedding, Frerichs posted a 4th-place finish in the 10k at the USA CC Championships. After an early May 9:54 steeple, Frerichs scored a small PR with a 9:19.09 at the Prefontaine Classic. Then she took 2nd for the second straight year at USA’s making her fourth USA team in the steeple, second senior team.

While so many young talents have grabbed attention in recent years for Team USA, veteran Serena Burla looks like to be in her best form ever. The St. Louis born, Wisconsin raised, former Mizzou 10k All-American has been one of the top Americans on the roads over the last eight years. She ran 2:26 for the marathon in January in Japan. That time puts Burla 8th on the US All-Time List. She’ll try to improve on her 2015 World Champs 10th-place finish. She’s has also represented the USA on the roads internationally.

Kansas City, MO born Mason Finley became the first American man to make the Olympics discus final in quite some time in Rio. Raised in Colorado where he set the high school record of 237’, Finley was an All-American in the shot and discus at Kansas and Wyoming. It took him several years though to have the kind of success you might expect from the 6-8 350 lb. after his high school performances.

Chris Nilsen made his name known with his high school pole vault record of 18-4.75 at MSHSAA Sectionals in 2016. Nilsen went on to clear 18-0 two more times before college and won the USA Jr title last year to make the World Junior Championships. Nilsen competed at the 2016 World Junior Championships, where he suffered a torn labrum during the finals, though managed a seventh-place finish. Nilsen rehabbed and didn’t need surgery on the injury. Indoors he continued to big up achievements on his resume. He set the USATF Junior Indoor pole vault record, and then won in his first NCAA Meet, capturing the national title in College Station, Texas in March. Outdoors he saw his high school record go down by Louisiana’s Armand Duplantis, who represents his mother’s native country Sweden.

Soon after, Nilsen claimed the USATF Junior outdoor record with his PR 18-9.5. Nilsen took second in the Drake Relays Invitational pole vault, but had to turn away the $3,000 check to keep his collegiate eligibility. Nilsen took third at the NCAA outdoor meet. At the USA Championships, Nilsen was entered in both the senior and junior pole vault. If he didn’t finish in the top three in the senior event to make the World Championships team, he could shoot for another junior title, and Pan Am Junior Championships team berth. Well, Nilsen only needed one competition. He finished third and is the second youngest member of the US World Championships team, by just a few days ahead of Vashti Cunningham.

Two of the USA women’s 1500-meter runners have Missouri ties. Jenny Simpson, the 2011 World Championships Gold medalist and Rio Bronze medalist is married to Jason Simpson. Simpson was an All-Stater runner at Liberty High School before a college career at Truman State University. Kate Grace placed 8th in Rio last year in the 800. The former Yale athlete is the daughter of Stephen Grace, a Webster Groves native who attended St. Louis University High School and The University of Missouri.

There are three former Missouri collegians competing for other countries at the Championships. Donald Thomas ended up on the Junior Varsity basketball team at Lindenwood University from the Bahamas. After being challenged to try the high jump, he did just that, and changed the trajectory of his life. Thomas was an NAIA runner-up in 2006, teaming up with Michael Rodgers to help the lions win the Indoor National Team title. Thomas transferred to Auburn, where he won an NCAA title, and the ’07 Mideast Regional title in Columbia, MO. at Mizzou. Then, Thomas shocked everyone, winning the 2007 World Championship. He has competed in three Olympics and many Indoor and Outdoor World Championships since He has a PR of 2.37m/7-9.25.

Semoy Hackett got to Lincoln University already an Olympian. She was a many-time NCAA short sprint and relay national champion and NCAA DII record setter before finishing her career at LSU where she earned All-American honors. She’ll run the 200 and 4×100. She has been close to medaling in the Olympics and World Championships in the 4×100.

Tyrone Smith was born in Bermuda, but moved to Chicago at age 5. He showed up Missouri S&T (Missouri-Rolla) as 21’ long jumper but Coach Bryan Schiding turned him into the 25’’ jumper. Smith was set to retire after his third Olympics last year in Rio, but he reconsidered, and it’s paid off. He’s improved his PR by 5.5’’ to 27-4.5, which puts him fourth in the world. His girlfriend is USA pole vaulter Sandi Morris, a former NCAA Champion at Arkansas, Jeff Hartwig client, and won the Silver in Rio last year.

Dawn Harper-Nelson is from just across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Il. She, like Jackie Joyner-Kersee went from East St. Louis to UCLA for great college careers. Harper-Nelson won the 2008 Olympic Gold and 2012 Silver in the 100-meter hurdles. She has one World Championships medal, bronze in 2011. She took fourth at USA’s but with Keni Harrison’s Diamond League title in the event last year, she had bye, giving the US four spots in the event. Harper-Nelson was previously coached by Bobby Kersee, Jackie’s husband and former coach.

Two coaches with Missouri ties will have had hands on what’s going on in London. Nat Page is an Illinois native who was an NCAA high jump champion at Mizzou. He coaches at Georgia Tech and is on the Team USA coaching staff, overseeing the men’s jumps. Heather Burroughs is a Kansas City, Ks. Native who was a Missouri distance running state champ for Pembroke High School in Kansas City, MO. Burroughs is a Colorado assistant coach and works with Jenny Simpson.

Jeff Hartwig will almost surely be in London. The St. Charles native, 2x Olympic pole vaulter and MICDS coach, is also an agent. His clients include USA vaulters Sandi Morris, and Sam Kendricks, who both earned medals in Rio last year.



Gwen Berry

Hammer Throw

Born: Centerville, Illinois DOB: 6/29/1989

Florissant, MO, McCluer High School ’07, Southern Illinois University ’11 Psychology/Criminal Justice

New York Athletic Club/Nike, Coach: John Smith


All-State Triple Jumper at McCluer HS, Went to SIU to

compete in pentathlon/heptathlon before eventually concentrating on throws. NCAA Qualifier in the shot put, weight throw, and hammer throw. One of top thrower in college during her time, but never had a great NCAA meet.

4 USATF Team Berths, 2 USATF Global Championship Berths: 2016 Olympics, 2017 Worlds,

2010 NACAC Under-23 Championships Team, Hammer Throw-Bronze Medal

2014 Pan Am Sports Festival Team, Hammer Throw Gold Medal

2012 Olympics Alternate

2016 Olympics 14th 229-4/69.90m

Won her first USATF Outdoor title in June

Berry has won 4 USATF Indoor Weight Throw Titles, one later vacated.

Has 5 of top 10 All-time US and World marks in Weight Throw

World Record Holder in the Weight Throw 84-0/25.60m

American Record Holder in the Hammer Throw 251-10/76.77m

Holds 4 of top 10 US Hammer tosses all-time

Set the American Record in the Hammer Throw twice, once was never ratified and eventually vacated.


Berry won the 2016 USATF Indoor Weight Throw title in February of last year and then set the American Record in the Hammer Throw in May 2016 of 250-4/76.31m. However, she was taking an inhaler medication that contained a banned substance. Berry didn’t test positive for the substance, but she declared that she was taking the medication at the 2016 USATF Indoor meet, and months later was banned by USADA in late May/early June of 2016. Instead of fighting the charge to keep her national title, American record, and $30,000 in prize and bonus money from February through May, Berry accepted a suspension, causing her to lose those things, but allowing her to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials, and a chance to make the Olympic Team. Berry did just that, taking second at the Trials, making her first Olympic/World Championship team that had eluded her for years. Berry came up just short of the hammer throw finals in Rio, placing 14th, while her teammates were 6th and 8th. This year, Berry has rebounded nicely from Rio disappointment. On her final toss at the USATF Indoor Championships, Berry earned a mark of 84-0/25.60m in the weight throw to set the American and World Record. The event is held almost exclusively in the US and has been around about 30 years. Berry a volunteer assistant coach at Ole Miss for head coach Connie Price-Smith (the St. Charles native, 4-time Olympic shot and discus competitor, and former SIU Coach), and throws coach John Smith. At the Ole Miss Classic on May 6, Berry had tosses of 249-6/76.04 and /251-10/76.77m, both good enough for new American Records. Berry has four of the top 10 US All-Time tosses, three at the Ole Miss meet, and a fourth at the USA Championships in June. Berry’s record toss puts her second on the world performance list, behind only Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, who dominates the event. Wlodarczyk is a two-time Olympic and World Champion and has thrown farther than the rest of the world in seven different meets this year. Her season best of 271-10/82.87m is 20-feet farther than Berry and the rest of the world this year. She holds the 10 best throws in world history. Berry sits just off the All-time top 10 World list, tenth being 252-0/76.83m. Berry hopes to be the first US woman to medal in the event at the Olympics or World Championships, and just the third to medal in any of the four throws events at the Outdoor World Championships. Volunteer assistant at Ole Miss



DeAnna Price

Hammer Throw

Born 6/8/1993, St. Charles, Missouri

Old Monroe, MO. Troy Buchanan High School ’11, Southern Illinois University ’16 Accounting,

New York Athletic Club, Coach: James Craig Lambert

Standout Softball player and thrower at Troy HS, choose track and field at SIU over other college softball scholarships.

NCAA All-American in the Weight Throw and Hammer Throw,

2x NCAA Champion in Hammer Throw, Set NCAA Championships meet record in both 2015 and 2016,

5x USATF Team Member, 4x USATF Team Member at Global Championships

2012 World Jr Championships 18th 189-8/57.82m

2015 NCAA Champion & Meet Record setter 234-6/71.49m

2015 Pan Am Games 5th 225-10/68.84m

2015 NACAC Sr Champs Silver 2nd 233-10/71.27m

2015 World Championships 18th 225-4/68.69m

2016 NCAA Champion & Meet Record setter, 234-8/71.53m, broken this year

Had one of if not the longest throws in college history in July 2016, but not considered CR

2016 Rio Olympics 8th 232-9/70.95m, 9th in Prelims 232-3/70.79m

Threw 245-9/74.91m on June 10 which is the 7th best throw in US history, putting her 3rd on US all-time performance list, behind only Gwen Berry and Amanda Bingson.

Currently 8th on World Performance list this year.

Engaged to former SIUC All-American thrower and current coach James Lambert, who is still a top US HTer

Works part-time at bank and is volunteer assistant at SIUC




Emily Sisson


Chesterfield, MO, Parkway Central HS ’10, Wisconsin ’11, Providence ‘15

New Balance, Run Providence, Coach: Ray Treacy,

Born: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, October 12, 1991

Resides in Providence, Rhode Island

Father Mark was 4:02 miler at Wisconsin, Mother Nancy was Gymnast at Wisconsin

Sister Annika was 4×200 All-Stater, then 800, 4×800, and CC All-Stater at Lee’s Summit West

Spent first two years of high school at two different high school’s in Omaha, Ne.

Moved to Chesterfield, MO, and Parkway Central HS before junior year, taking same path Meredith Snow did five years before, moving from Omaha, Ne. to West St. Louis County (Eureka HS) and becoming state champion and Foot Locker National qualifier. Sisson came up just short of Snow’s previous state cross country meet record in 2009, winning her second straight Class 4 state title.

4x Foot Locker HS Cross Country Championships Finalist, placing 3rd as a freshman and senior.

New Balance Indoor Nationals 2-Mile Runner-Up in 10:10 in 2010

New Balance Nationals Outdoor National Champion in 5k in 2010

Many Time Nebraska and Missouri State Champion

Missouri State Meet Record Holder in 4×800, 3200m State Record 10:16? 3200m

Many-time High School All-American

3x USATF Jr Team Member: 2009 Pan Am Jr Champs: 4th 3k, 2010 World Jr CC 18th , 2010 World Jr Outdoor Champs 10th 3k, 6th 5k,

Set National High School Record with 15:48 5k at 2010 World Jr Championships in Canada, broken in 2014

Skipped her senior of track competition at Parkway Central to train and race on her own schedule, which likely allowed her to break the US High School 5k record at 2010 World Jr Champs.

High School PRs: 4:44 mile at Adidas Dream Mile, 10:10 2-Mile/10:16 3200m: both MO HS records

11x NCAA DI All-American at Wisconsin and Providence

3x NCAA DI Cross Country All-American, would likely have been 4x, but was recovering from illness and sat out of regionals as sophomore and team shockingly failed to advance to nationals.

Led team to NCAA CC Team title in 2014 with her 7th place individual finish.

Set collegiate record with 15:12 Indoor 5k in 2015, Won 2015 NCAA DI Indoor 3k & 5K, and Outdoor 5k

Competed at 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials: 12th in 5k final in 2012, 10th in 10k in 2016 before scratching 5k



Colleen Quigley

3k Steeplechase

Born: 11-20-93, St. Louis, MO, Nerinx Hall ’11, Florida State ‘15

Nike/Bowerman Track Club

Coach: Jerry Schumacher & Pascal Dobert

Resides in Portland, Oregon

Many-time MO HS All-Stater and 2x state track champion at Nerinx Hall HS for her father Gaylerd Quigley

Foot Locker CC Nationals qualifier, placing 20th as senior in 2010.

3x NCAA DI Cross Country All-American, helping team to 2-3 top 4 team trophies,

3x NCAA DI Steeplechase AA with 5th, 2nd, and National Champion in 2015

NCAA Indoor DMR and Mile All-American

Ran 4:29.67 mile in February 2015 which put her 5th on all-time collegiate indoors list, now 9th,

Won 2015 NCAA steeple title in 9:29.32, 2nd was Courtney Frerichs, time put her 3rd on collegiate list, now 4th,

Made Steeple final on first USA Team- placing 12th at 2015 World Championships

3rd at 2016 Olympic Trials, despite being hurt most of year and racing just once before meet

8th at 2016 Rio Olympics, second straight global final in event

Won 2016 USATF Club CC Championships race in December, 2nd at USATF Indoors Mile,

Ran 4:24.88 mile in February 2017 to move to 8th on All-Time US

3rd at 2017 USATF Nationals

Ran 4:03.93 1500m at Heusden-Zolder meet in Europe in July for victory, put her 22nd on 2017 World Perf List

21st on 2017 World list in steeplechase with 9:25.40

PR: 9:20.00 in August 2017 in Paris

HS PRs: 800-2:14, 1600-4:52.17, Mile-4:52.83, 3200-10:27.62



Courtney Frerichs

3k Steeplechase

Born: 1-18-1993 in Barrington, Illinois, Nixa, MO, Nixa High School ’11, UMKC ’15 Chemistry, New Mexico ’16

Nike/Bowerman Track Club

Coach Jerry Schumacher & Pascal Dobert

Resides in Portland, Oregon

Moved with Salem, MO area native parents to Nixa from Illinois at age four. Married to former Rock Bridge High School and UMKC runner Griffin Humphreys in 2016.

Gymnast/soccer player who triple-jumped, ran 400, 800, and relays in track at Nixa while also playing soccer.

Ran cross country her senior year of high school, was in 8th place in C4 State race before falling w/ 160m to go.

16th at 2010 World Jr Championships in 10:35, as UMKC freshman

4th NACAC U23 Champs

2x CC All-American at UMKC for coach James Butler. 5k Indoor All-American and 2x Steeple AA for UMKC

Was 2nd at NCAA Outdoors to Colleen Quigley in 2015, After graduation, transferred to New Mexico for 5th year of eligibility for Coach Butler, 4th at 15’ NCAA CC Champs, leading Lobos to Nat title. Got engaged at meet.

Won 2016 NCAA DI Steeplechase title in collegiate record of 9:24.41, breaking Jenny Simpson’s record.

Took 2nd at 2016 USATF Olympic Trials, Made Rio Olympics final, taking 11th overall.

Ran PR 9:19.09 at 2017 Prefontaine Classic

2nd on USA All-time Steeple list



Chris Nilsen

Born: 1-13-1998 in Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO. Park Hill High School ’16, South Dakota ’20 Kinesiology and Sports Science

Resides: Vermillion, South Dakota

Coach: Derek Miles

2 Team USATF Teams

2015 & 2016 MSHSAA Class 5 State Champion and State Meet Record Holder, All-State high jumper

Set US High School National Record in May 2016 with 18-4.75 clearance at Sectional Meet, since broken by Louisiana’s Mondo Duplantis in April of 2017, who represents his mother’s native Sweden internationally. Nilsen still holds American High School Record

Won 2016 Great Southwest Pole Vault

Won 2016 New Balance Nationals title

Won 2016 USATF Jr Nationals Title

Went over 18-0 at least three times as high school senior

2016 World Jr (Under 20) Championships: suffered torn labrum, finished 7th.

Set USATF Jr Indoor Record with 18-8.25 in February at Tyson Relays in Arkansas.

Won 2017 NCAA DI Indoor National Title as freshman

Set USATF Jr Outdoor Record with 18-9.5 clearance in April 2017 in Sioux City. SD

3rd at NCAA DI Outdoor nationals

3rd at 2017 USATF Sr Nationals to earn spot on World Championships Team, scratching out of Jr PV at USAs

Married former Lee’s Summit West vaulter Kelly Vogel last month.




Michael Rodgers

4×100 Relay Pool

Born: 4-24-1985 St. Louis, MO, STL/Florissant, MO, Berkeley High School ’02,                                                  Lindenwood University ’06, Oklahoma Baptist ‘07

Resides: Round Rock, Texas, Coach: Darryl Woodson,


2x World Championships Medalist

2x Olympian 2012 4×100, 2016 4×100,

Committed to Iowa State during high school, but following his legendary coach Rod Staggs to Lindenwood University. 4x NAIA National Champion for Lindenwood and Oklahoma Baptist. Helped Lindenwood to NAIA Indoor Team Title in 2006. Transferred to OBU after coaching change at LU.

2006 NAIA Indoor 60 and 200m National Champ, 2006 NAIA Outdoor 200 champ, 100 runner-up, 4×1 Champ,

One of the all-time great 60/100-meter sprints in USA history.

60m Indoor PR: 6.48, .02 off of US All-Time Top-10, .03 off of World All-Time Top-10.

100m PR: 9.85 in 2011, Ties him for 6th All-time in US wind-legal list, only behind: Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Maurice Greene, Christian Colman, Trayvon Bromell. Tied Leroy Burrell, .01 ahead of Carl Lewis wind-legal PR.

200m PR: 20.24 May 2009,

3x World Indoor 60m finalist: 4th in 2008, should have been called for false start and had another chance for medal(2 false starts before DQ then), but was throw off with bad start, 2nd in 2010, 6th in 2016.

4x World Outdoor Competitor

Reportedly tested positive for banned substance that was in energy drink before 2011 World Outdoors, was suspended for nine months and replaced on the team by fellow Missourian on 4×100 relay pool Maurice Mitchell.

9th in 100 at 2009 World Champs, missing final by 1 place. On 4×100 that was DQ’d in prelims.

6th in 100 at 2013 World Champs, .09 from bronze. Ran 2nd leg of 4×100 that took 2nd to Jamaica-Silver Medal with Charles Silmon, Rakieem Salaam, and Justin Gatlin.

On one of two relay squads that are tied for American 4×100 record of 37.38. Set by National team at World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas in May 2015 with Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Ryan Bailey,

5th at 2015 World Champ in 100 in 9.94, behind only Bolt, Gatlin, Bromell, and De Grasse, beat Gay & Powell.

Looked like he and USA were going to end Jamaica’s 4×100 win streak, but Rodgers took off too quickly on anchor leg, receiving baton late and outside of zone. Finished 2nd but earned USA another 4×100 DQ.

Finished 4th at 2012 Olympic Trials, earning spot on 4×100 relay pool. However ended up with broken bone in foot, and was sent home from Olympic Training Camp outside of London and replaced. Again took 4th at 2016 Olympic Trials for 4×100 berth. Ran lead off leg in prelims and final. In final, team finished 3rd behind Jamaica and Japan, but was later disqualified for an exchange zone violation. Rodgers extended the baton for second leg Tyson Gay. Gay touched the baton just before the exchange zone, but the hand off appeared to be made inside the zone. An appeal was denied and the DQ was upheld.

Sisters Alishea and Ashley Usery sprint/hurdle stars at Berkeley High School and University of Florida. Alishea was one of MO HS greats, state champion at 100-200-400m, with some of state’s fastest times ever. She now coaches at Southern Illinois University.



Serena (Ramsey) Burla


Born St. Louis, MO, 09/27/1982

Waukesha, WI, Waukesha West High School ’01, Mizzou ‘06

Former Ellisville, MO resident for a few years after graduation, Silver Spring, Maryland

Nike/RIADHA, Coach: Isaya Okwiya

2015 World Championships Marathon 10th

2009 World Half-Marathon Championships

10k All-American at Mizzou with 6th place 33:52.59 in Sacramento at 2006 NCAA Championships

Helped Mizzou women to two Top 13 place finish at NCAA Cross Country Championships

Ran for father Chris in High School at Waukesha West in Wisconsin.

Survived cancer, had malignant tumor removed and much of her hamstring.

Married to former Adam Burla, a MO shot put state champion at Marquette HS before throwing at Mizzou


Mason Finley


Born in Kansas City, MO, 10/07/1990

Grew up in Colorado, Buena Vista High School ‘09, Kansas ’12, Wyoming ’14 Theater,

Resides in Chaffee County, Colorado,

Nike, Coach: Paul Barrett

Stands 6’ 8’’

Set High School Discus Record with 237’ toss in 2009,

Eight Time NCAA All-American in Shot and Discus

NCAA Qualifier and All-American in Shot Put at Kansas

NCAA Qualifier and All-American in Shot Put and Discus at Wyoming

2009 Pan Am Jr Championships Gold in both shot put and discus

2010 NACAC Jr Championships Discus-Gold

Won 2016 USATF Olympic Trials

PR of 218-11/66.72m at 2016 Olympic Trials Prelims

2016 Rio Olympics Discus 11th /203-762.05m

Won 2017 USATF title with best of 206-09/63.03m

Sits 17th on World performance list with SB of 214-10/65.48m

1st American to make Olympic Discus final in long time

Sisters Matia and Rebecca compete at UMKC



Foreign Missouri Collegians

Donald Thomas

High Jump


Lindenwood ’06, Auburn ‘07

2007 World Champion

3x Olympian

Somehow from the Bahamas ended up at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, on the Junior Varsity basketball team. Was challenged to try the high jump and the rest is history. Quickly became a 7-3 jumper, despite having a hard time getting comfortable. At one meet, after a couple frustrating misses, went back and put on training shoes and basketball shorts en route to 6-10/7-0+ clearance. NAIA All-American. 2nd at 2006 NAIA Indoors with 7-1.75 clearance, helping Lions win National Title. Transferred to Auburn where he was NCAA DI All-American and national champion. Won 2007 DI Indoor title by 3.25’’ with 7-7.75 clearance. Won ’07 DI Mideast Regional in Columbia, MO at Mizzou, before taking 3rd at NCAA Outdoors.

Shocked the globe by winning the 2007 World Championships with a first attempt clearance of 7-8.5, the world leading mark on the year at the time. Followed that up a month later with a victory at the apparently now defunct IAAF World Athletics Final.

Competed in 12 Indoor/Outdoor World Championships or Olympics. 6th at 2013 and 2015 Worlds.

Best Olympic finish tied for 7th in Rio 2016, 1.5’’ from tying for medal.




Tyrone Smith

Long Jump


Born: August 7, 1984, South Hampton Bermuda, Moved to North Chicago, Il. at age 5,

3x Olympian

North Chicago Community High School ’03, Missouri S&T’ 07

Bermudan National Record Holder

Resides in Houston Texas,

Was Flag bearer for Bermuda at 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations

NCAA DII All-American in long jump for Coach Bryan Schiding at Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri S&T)

Went from 21’ long jumper to 25+’ long jumper in college.

London will be his 11th Olympics or Indoor/Outdoor World Championships

Olympic Results: 16th 2016, 12th 2012, 14th in 2008, Best WC Finish 10th in 2015,

Was set to retire after 2016 Olympics, but came back in 2017 to set PR by 5.5’’-27-4.25, 4th World Perf List ‘17

Boyfriend of USA Olympic Silver Medalist pole vaulter Sandi Morris



Semoy Hackett

200, 4×100

Trinidad & Tobago

Lincoln University ’09, LSU ‘11

3x Olympian

Many time NCAA DII National Champion and DII Record Setter for Lincoln. All-American at LSU in sprints, helped LSU to 2011 NCAA DI Outdoor title, which was later stripped after Hackett tested positive for banned drugs.

25th in 100 & 4×100 DNF @ 2008 Beijing Olympics, DQ in 200 Final, 100 Semis, & 4×100 Prelims in 2012 Olympics, 16th in 100 semis, 20th in 200 semis, 5th in 4×100 in Rio 2016,


Adopted Missourians


Jenny (Barringer) Simpson


Born in Webster City, Iowa, Grew up in Florida, Oviedo HS ‘05, Colorado ‘09

Resides in Boulder, Colorado

New Balance

Coach: Mark Wetmore &Heather Burroughs, the KC, KS native who was MO State Champ @ Pembroke Hill HS,

Married to former Liberty High School, MO All-Stater and Truman State University runner Jason Simpson

2011 1500 World Outdoor Champion

2013 1500 World Outdoor Silver Medalist

2016 1500 Rio Olympics Bronze Medalist

NCAA Record holder in 3k, 5k, and previously the steeplechase

Many-time NCAA track champion,

3x Olympian: 8th Steeplechase in 2008, 18th in 1500 in 2012, 3rd in 1500 in 2016,

World Outdoor Championships: Steeplechase 22nd -2007, 4th -2009, 1500m: 1st-2011, 2nd-2013, 11th-2015,

Outdoor PRs: 800: 2:00.45, 1500: 3:57.22, Mile: 4:19.98, 3k:8:29.58, 5k: 14:56.26, Steeple: 9:12.50




Kate Grace


Born in Los Angeles, CA, 10-24-1988, Marlborough High School (LA) ’07, Yale ’11 Environmental Studies

Nike/Nor Cal Distance Project, Coach: Drew Wartenberg, Residence: Sacramento, CA

2016 Olympian, 800m Finalist, 8th place

Member of US Record holding 4×1500 at 2014 World Relay Championships in Nassau Bahamas, 16:55.33, for Silver medal

Father Stephen is Webster Groves, MO, native, who went to St. Louis University High School, and the University of Missouri.


Dawn Harper-Nelson


Born: East. St. Louis, Il. 05-13-1984, East St. Louis Senior HS ’02, UCLA ’06, Pyschology

Nike, Resides in Hawthorne, CA. Coached by Ryan Wilson

2x Olympian

Won Gold Medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics

Won Silver Medal at 2012 London Olympics

Formerly coached by Bobby Kersee, husband and former coach of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who is also East St. Louis, Il. native who lives part time in St. Louis, MO area.  Community Ambassador for United Way of Greater St. Louis. Currently studying French, preparing to earn PhD in Psychology.

Fifth Outdoor World Championships, Earned Bronzed in 2011



Nat Page

Team USA Men’s Jumps & Combined Events Coach

Illinois native who was 5x All-American at Mizzou including NCAA High Jump Champion in 1979,

1980 Olympian in High Jump, that was boycotted by US, Ranked in Top 10 in World 1978-1981.

Became World Class hurdler in mid-1980’s,

Longtime Georgia Tech jumps coached, in his 18th year in Atlanta, coaching 40 ACC Champions, 41 NCAA All-Americans and four NCAA Champions. 2x Regional Coach of the Year.

Coach of US High Jump Record Holder & 4x Olympian Chaunte Howard-Lowe, who won Silver at 2005 Worlds.


Heather Burroughs

Jenny Simpson’s coach and longtime University of Colorado assistant coach,

Kansas City, Kansas native, who was Missouri MSHSAA State Champion for Pembroke Hill High School, before becoming an NCAA All-American distance runner at Colorado.

Last year had two athletes she co-coached at Rio Olympics: Jenny Simpson (1500 Bronze) and Emma Coburn (Steeplechase Bronze), Burroughs though didn’t make the trip as she was home working with CU CC Team.




Jeff Hartwig

St. Charles native, Francis Howell High School, Florissant (MO) Valley Community College, Arkansas State grad

Former American Record Holder in the Pole Vault

2x Olympian,

Was coached at Arkansas State and professionally by Earl Bell, the former World Record Holder in the event, who earned the bronze at the 1984 Olympics and was fourth at the 1988 Olympics. Hartwig won four US outdoor titles and two more indoors. Hartwig was coached at Flo Valley College by Norrris Stevenson, the first African-American football player at the University of Missouri, where he also ran track. Stevenson coached track at Flo Valley and Forest Park Community College for nearly 30 years. Stevenson, who passed away in 2012, is a member of the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Hartwig is a Indoor World Championships medalist, winning the silver medal in 1999. Ranked 1st in the World in 2002. 1998 Goodwill Games Gold Medalist. At the age of 41, cleared 18-8.25 to take second at Olympic Trials in 2008. PR of 19-9.5/6.03m

Placed 11th at 1996 Olympics and Tied for 19th in 2008.

Agent for US Pole Vaulters Sam Kendricks and Sandi Morris. Morris won PV Silver in Rio, and the Silver at the Indoor Championships in 2016. Kendricks did the same, winning the Silver at the Indoor World Meet in 2016 and followed that up with Silver in Rio.

Hartwig is also an agent for Sharika Nelvis, who might be a 100H alternate, and  like Hartwig, a former star at Arkansas State. Nelvis is listed on the IAAF team USA roster, but not the USATF team roster.

Hartwig is also the pole vault coach at MICDS in St. Louis, a Gill track and field products representative, and the pole vault competition director for at one big track and field meet.




Missouri Athletes Schedule 2017 World Championships: MO Schedule

Meet Info: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-championships

Schedule: https://media.aws.iaaf.org/competitioninfo/11f3a5cf-5ac2-46df-89a0-d9987ac369e5.pdf

Schedule & Results: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-championships/iaaf-world-championships-london-2017-5151/timetable/byday

Live Radio, Updates, and Results: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-championships/iaaf-world-championships-london-2017-5151/live#timetableSession

USATF Team Info Hub: http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/2017/IAAF-World-Outdoor-Championships.aspx

TV and webcast schedule: http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/2017/IAAF-World-Outdoor-Championships/TV-Schedule.aspx

Social Media Hashtags:  #TeamMO #MOProud


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