The conditions were prime for a breakout day on the track, and Fayette took full advantage of the opportunity Monday at the Lewis & Clark Conference track and field meet.
Under sunny skies and above-average temperatures, the Falcons thrived at the conference meet. In addition to winning three events, Fayette athletes set 10 personal records at the meet, which was held at Hairston Track/Estes Field in Fayette.
“That’s been our goal, to post good times for districts,” Fayette head coach Tom Oakley said. “The last two meets, we’ve set a lot of season-bests. I’ve been saying all year that we want to peak at the end, and we are.”
There would have been even more personal records set in the track events, but because the times were handheld and not automatic, the official times are rounded up to the nearest tenth, and then 0.24 seconds are added to the times. Some of the time additions prevented Fayette athletes from setting more personal-bests.
Stopwatches had no effect of Fayette athletes setting seven personal-bests in the field events. Sophomore Chance Roberts gave Fayette its first conference title of the day in the pole vault. Roberts earned a personal-best at 12’-0”, beating his previous top height by six inches, and it puts him six inches from tying the school record.
“It was big for him to get 12 feet,” Oakley said. “He’s been clearing 11’-6” by a bunch. I’m glad he finally got past that marker and there’s no place to go but up now.”
Some athletes did just enough Monday to break their previous personal records. Sophomore Ashley Oakley, who finished sixth in the long jump with a leap of 15’-2.5”, broke her own record by a couple of inches. Max McKinney, who took fifth place in the long jump with a jump of 18’-10”, also broke his personal-best by two inches.
Some athletes went out and shattered their personal-bests. Senior Collin O’Connell, competing in his seventh high school track and field meet, took second place in the shot put with a throw of 42’-1.5”. He broke his personal record by more than three feet.
“We got more points out of the field events than we’ve been getting,” Oakley said.
Other Fayette personal-bests in the field events include Tommy Phillips in the shot put (29’-8.5”), Jada Gaines in the long jump (14’-0”) and Sam Moore in the long jump (17’-6”).
Although it wasn’t a personal-best, Haleigh Strodtman earned a top-three finish in the girls shot put with a throw of 31’-11”.
In the track events, Gaines earned two first-place medals for the Lady Falcons. She set a personal-best in the 100-meters with a time of 12.70 seconds, edging Westran’s Allison Minor by one-hundredth of a second.
The girls 100-meters was one of two events that Fayette qualified three runners in the finals. Kelsey Oakley took third place with a time of 13.48 seconds and Clara Beaman finished sixth in a time of 14.34 seconds.
The Fayette boys also placed three runners in the 200-meter finals. Jason Esau led the Falcons with a second-place finish in the event with a time of 24.38 seconds, a personal-best for the senior. He was followed by Ahmad McCutcheon and McKinney, who took third and fourth place, respectively, in times of 24.70 seconds and 24.75 seconds.
“It’s nice when you get three kids up there high (in the finals),” Oakley said. “We’re a young team and it’s fun watching all these freshman and sophomore girls doing well. It definitely makes me excited about the future.”
Ryan Linhart set a personal record in the 110-meter hurdles, taking fifth place in a time of 19.08 seconds. He set his personal-best time in the preliminaries at 18.95 seconds.
The Fayette girls’ 4×100-meter relay team set a season-best time Monday, winning with ease in a time of 53.74 seconds. The team of Natalie Bishop, Gaines, Ashley Oakley and Kelsey Oakley are two seconds ahead of last year’s relay time at this point of the season. The 4×100-meter relay was the only event in which the Lady Falcons qualified for sectionals.
“Our 4×100, we were hoping to get 52 (seconds),” Oakley said. “We were quite a ways out front and didn’t get pushed on the backstretch. We’ll take the 53, which will give us a better seed going into districts.”
The Fayette boys’ 4×100-meter relay team of Esau, McKinney, Dillian McDonald and McCutcheon came in second place in a time of 46.53 seconds.
Both 4×200-meter relay teams placed in the top-three as well. The girls’ team of Bishop, Abbie Jefferies, Gaines and Ashley Oakley took second place in a time of 1:55.77, while the boys’ team of Leif Dezner, McKinney, Esau and McCutcheon came in third place in a time of 1:39.51.
As for other top individual finishes, the Fayette boys picked up a total of 14 points in the 100-meters. McCutcheon took second place in a time of 11.39 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second behind Westran’s Zane Jacoby. Esau came in third place in a time of 11.77 seconds.
McDonald took third place in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 17.45 seconds in the finals.
The Fayette boys tied for third place in the team standings with Paris at 91 points, while the Lady Falcons came in fourth place with 65 points.
The Marceline boys (135 points) and the Salisbury girls (187 points) won the team conference championships. Marceline’s Morgan McCormick and Paris’ Zane Lockhart each won the individual high points medals, repeating as conference individual champions.
The conference meet concludes the regular season for Fayette. The Falcons will compete this Saturday in the Class 2 District 4 meet, which begins at 11 a.m. in Brookfield.
The only win Fayette recorded at Friday’s South Callaway Relays in Mokane came in the girls’ 4×200-meter relay.
The relay of Natalie Bishop, Jada Gaines, Abbie Jefferies and Ashley Oakley posted a time of 1:57.18. It’s the relay team’s third win this month.
The Lady Falcons came in sixth place in the team standings with 47 points and the Fayette boys were also sixth with 54 points.
Dillian McDonald had the boys’ best finish of the day, setting a personal-best time with a second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles 17.22 seconds.
Harrisburg also competed at South Callaway. The boys tied Fayette for sixth place with 54 points and the girls came in ninth place with 25 points.
The girls had three top-three performances. Macy Arp took third in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 7’-6”. Krista Cochran was also third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 54.77 seconds.
Both Arp and Cochran were also on the 4×400-meter relay, which finished in third place as well. Along with Lauren Crowley and Mikaela Lewis, the relay finished with a time of 4:48.27.
On the boys’ side, the 4×800-meter relay team of Austin Buckridge, Noah Strawn, Will Nichols and Blake Williams came in third place with a time of 9:35.98.
Harrisburg wraps up its regular-season schedule Wednesday at Glasgow’s Larry Littrell Invitational.