BY MIKE URSERY
Head coach Tom Oakley sat with a smile on his face near the end of the Class 2 District 7 meet on May 6 at Putnam County High School.
Some of his athletes qualified to advance to the sectional meet on May 13 in at William Chrisman High School in Independence.
Twelve athletes in all will make the trek towards Kansas City for the sectional meet.
Seniors Jada Gaines, Natalie Bishop, Abbie Jefferies, Ryan Linhart and Tommy Phillips, juniors Chavez Kent and Brennen Hudson, sophomores Drew Whitley, Vince Roberts, Jennifer Nelson and Emma Hoover, and freshman Jack Kindle all qualified for sectionals.
Oakley was happy with not only his qualifiers, but with the way his teams competed in Unionville.
“I think we did an excellent job,” Oakley said. “I thought all of our kids competed well today. If you look at our jumpers, Drew (Whitley) and Vince (Roberts), had their best jumps today. Drew ran his best 400-meter time today. I think Ross (Hudson) might have ran his best time in the 400, as well. The kids came out ready to compete today, and I think we did a good job overall.”
Whitley qualified for sectionals by finishing second in the triple jump. His distance, 40-06.25, gave him a second place finish in the event.
Roberts had a 19-01 result in the long jump, finishing in fourth place and grabbing the last qualifying spot in that event.
Gaines qualified in all four of her events. Oakley said that she came down with strep throat the day before, but still went out and competed.
“She came into school yesterday sick,” Oakley said. “She went and got some medication yesterday for her strep throat. She was not feeling well today, but today is all about qualifying for next week. We knew she would be a little off today, but as long as she got top four we were gonna be happy with that.”
Oakley said that Gaines should be healthy on May 13, the day of the sectional meet.
Gaines finished third in the 100 (13.49) and the 200 (28.47). She won the high jump (16-03.5) and was part of the 4×100 relay team that finished first in the event (52.73). Seniors Natalie Bishop and Abbie Jefferies, and sophomore Emma Hoover were the other members of the 4×100 relay team.
Jefferies finished third in the 100-meter hurdles (17.80), so she will compete in two events in Independence on May 13.
Nelson is moving on to sectionals after finishing third in the discus (102-02). Her recorded distance was a new personal record.
Kindle won the 1600 (5:00.51).
“He dropped seven seconds off his time at conference,” Oakley said. “As a freshman, he’s not used to running up front. Today, he kind of hung back with the leaders. I’m really proud of the way he’s come out and worked this year. He’s self-motivated. Most of the time, he just runs on his own.”
Senior Ryan Linhart qualifed in both hurdles events. He was second in the 110 (17.56) and fourth in the 300 (43.40).
Linahrt, Hudson, Phillips and Kent made up a 4×100 relay team that finished fourth (47.27).
Roberts placed fourth (19-01) to earn a trip to Independence.
William Chrisman High School is located at 1223 N. Noland Rd. in Independence, Missouri.