BY MIKE URSERY
After all the practices, duel meets and triangulars, the district meets and sectionals, the day is just over the horizon for the top track and field athletes in the state.
The MSHSAA track and field championships will be held May 19-20 at Jefferson City High School.
Athletes from around Howard County will be among those who are competing in Missouri’s capital.
For Fayette, seniors Jada Gaines, Natalie Bishop and Abbie Jefferies, sophomore Emma Hoover and freshman Jack Kindle punched their tickets to Jefferson City. These five qualified in their respective events at the Class 2 Sectional 4 meet in Independence on May 13.
“This is a proud moment,” Fayette head coach Tom Oakley said. “I’m proud for all these kids. The kids that are going through next week, we’ll get back to work at practice, and look forward to going to state and increasing our performances there.”
Gaines qualified in three events. She placed third in the long jump (16-11), fourth in the 100 (13.06), and was part of the 4×100 team that placed fourth (51.70). Jefferies, Bishop and Hoover are the other runners on the 4×100 team.
The girls 4×100 was highly contested between the four qualifiers, with five-hundredths of a second separating the second and fourth place teams.
“Many people will look at a fourth place finish and think ‘you know, maybe they’re down a bit,’” Oakley said. “But I’ll tell you, all four of the teams that finished here today and qualified, they’ll be running next Saturday in the finals. I guarantee it. This was an extremely tough sectional.”
Oakley said he likes the time and the way his 4×100 team ran, but he said he knows that corrections can be made and they can gain more speed.
“We’re right there,” Oakley said. “The times between the top four were razor-thin.”
Lathrop (51.24) won the girls 4×100. Lexington (51.65) was second and Plattsburg (51.67) finished in third place.
Gaines qualified for the same three events last year, and was part of the 4×100 relay team that won a state championship.
Kindle is going to Jefferson City after coming in third place (4:58.28) in the 1600.
Oakley said that with Kindle participating in two sports during the spring, the other being baseball, he hasn’t been able to attend track practice on a regular basis.
“It took him a little bit longer into the season to really hit his stride, because he didn’t have that structure at practice every single day,” Oakley said. “I know that he got out and ran on his own. He’s just a hard-working kid.”
Jefferies is the other athlete that will compete in more than one event. She qualified for state after finishing third (17.31) in the 100-meter hurdles. She qualified for state in the same event last year.
Seniors Ryan Linhart and Tommy Phillips finished their track careers at William Chrisman High School, the location for the sectional meet in Independence.
Linhart ran in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles races.
He finished in sixth place in both races.
Phillips ran in the boys 4×100 with Linhart, junior Brennen Hudson and sophomore Drew Whitley.
“I’m proud of the work they’ve put in,” Oakley said about Linhart and Phillips. “I know they have great things ahead of them.”
Whitley and sophomore Vince Roberts both advanced past districts to compete at the sectional.
Roberts placed eighth (18-04) in the long jump. Whitley finished seventh (38-05.25) in the triple jump.
“We have a couple of sophomore jumpers that got the experience,” Oakley said. “We look forward to them being back (next year).”
Sophomore Jennifer Nelson finished eighth (89-05.5) in the discus.
New Franklin will send five athletes to state, and they will be represented in four events after qualifying at their sectional meet in St. Louis on May 13.
“It was definitely our best meet of the year, and perhaps our best meet of the last two years,” head coach Adam Quest said. “The girls all worked their tails off this week in practice, and it really showed in the results, especially in the running events.”
Junior Madison Matney finished third (33-0.75) in the shot put. Sophomore Shelby Breshears finished fourth (04-10) in the high jump.
Breshears, with Madison Maupin, Jordan Leighton and Nicole Blumer, all qualified in two relay races.
They were first (53.42) in the 4×100 and second (1:53.23) in the 4×200.
“I have never seen this bunch as hungry and as determined as I saw them today,” Quest said. “They wanted badly to make it to State, and they were not about to be denied.”
Matney also finished fifth (89-11) in the discus and seventh (87-10) in the javelin.
Harrisburg and Higbee were with New Franklin at the sectional meet at Lutheran North High School.
Higbee is taking six atheltes to Jefferson City.
Junior Jason Hudson set a new personal record, and broke his own school record, throwing the disc 122 feet, three inches for fourth place.
Hudson was fifth (41-02) in the shot put. Junior John Schell (41-10) placed fourth in the shot put, and is moving on to state. His distance also is a personal record.
Geocie Sager, Alexis Whisenand, Rhiannon Runyon and Grace Westfall placed fourth (1:55.83) in the 4×200.
Runyon finished sixth (14-05.25) in the long jump, while Westfall finished eighth (14-03.75).
“Its a heck of a deal for me to get to be a small part of all this success,” Higbee Jon Bishop said. “I was very proud of all our track athletes this season and would love to have them all keep working hard, so we can take more of them to sectionals and state next season.”
Harrisburg will be represented by a plethora of athletes, 14 to be exact. These 14 will compete in 11 different events.
Freshman Reed Turney placed third (11-03) in the boys pole vault, and set a new personal record.
Junior Rachel Strawn placed second (08-06) in the girls pole vault.
Seniors Taylor Bottomley and Arthur Betts both will throw the discus at state after qualifying in the sectional meet.
Bottomley was first (148-08) and Betts was second (133-04). Both are new personal records.
Bottomley also placed first in the javelin (157-00).
Junior Cade Combs was fourth in the high jump (05-10).
Zoe Carr, Alee Thornhill, Madeline Gillman, Kait Weil won the 4×800 (10:46.56).
Brayden Hudson, Aaron Sims, Cody Karl and Combs finished third (1:36.90) in the 4×200. That time sets a new school record.
Hudson, Sims, Karl and Bottomley were fourth (46.26) in the 4×100.
Gillman, Carr, Thornhill and Sydney Fischer finished in second place (4:25.60) in the 4×400.
Sims, Karl, Combs and Noah Strawn were third (3:40.31) in the 4×400.
Strawn placed second (2:02.32) in the boys 800-meter run.
“We had some really strong performances all day,” Harrisburg head coach Kyle Fisher said. “We had several kids PR in their individual events, which is what we want at this time of year. I think my favorite part about today was that all relay teams who competed today ran their PRs and are advancing to state. It’s always fun when you can take a big bus of kids to Jeff City, and having a lot of relay teams down there makes it really exciting.”
Senior Connor McBride was seventh (05-08) in the high jump.
Karl finished the day in seventh place (18-00) in the long jump.
Weil was seventh in both the 800 (2:50.31) and the 1600 (6:30.94).
Glasgow junior Kristin Stockhorst set a new school record in the 400 on May 13.
Her time (1:00.47) replaced an old record set by Gina Sanders (1:01.30) in 1983.
Stockhorst placed first in the 400. Needless to say, it’s also a new personal record.
Junior Trace Thompson was fourth in the 200 (24.02) and second in the 400 (52.39).
Senior Hayden Hackman won the 800 (2:01.00). He was fourth in the 1600 (4:47.60) and first in the discus (135-01).
Hackman and Thompson were on a team with De’shonne Cowans and Tyler Reeves that won the 4×400 (3:35.86).
Senior Kennedy Davis was third (44-05.5) in the discus.
Sophomore Briar Boss (05-10) was seventh in the long jump.
Sophomore Brandon Prentzler is going to Jefferson City after finishing fourth (10-00) in the pole vault. It’s also a new personal record.
Stockhorst was sixth (28.39) in the 200.
Kelsey Noll, Abby Littrell, Maia Polson and Allison Lloyd (55.65) were sixth in the 4×100.
Stockhorst, Lloyd, Makayla Fuemmler and Alyssa Yung finished in second (1:52.22) in the 4×200.
Fuemmler, Stockhorst, Yung and Abby Draffen placed second (4:23.35) in the 4×400.
Draffen was fourth (08-00) in the pole vault. Yung was second (15-10) in the long jump and first 34-02.75) in the triple jump.
The state track championship will take place at Adkins Stadium,at Jefferson City High School. the high school is located at 609 Union St.
Preliminaries for all events will be held on May 19, with finals taking place on May 20.
Events are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on both days.