By David Sharp
Northeast Missouri was well represented at the May 16-17 Class 1 and 2 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships, held at Dwight T. Reed Stadium on the campus of Lincoln University at Jefferson City. Knox County and Highland athletes claimed a total of ten state medals while Clark County brought home five medals.
Top eight finishers at the state track meet receive medals and earn All-State track status.
Novinger senior Dakota Jacques won a thrilling 100 meter dash final in 11.23 seconds and took the Class 1 boys' long jump gold medal at 21'6". Junior Aric Luman won bronze medals in the 100m dash and the long jump. Luman was also seventh in the triple jump.
Clark County junior Javis Vineyard won the fourth place medal in the Class 2 boys' 100 meter dash in 11.16 seconds. Vineyard was part of the Clark County boys' fourth place 4x200m relay team. Javis Vineyard qualified for state in the 200 meters but was disqualified after the officials ruled a false start in the preliminary round.
Putnam County junior Katie Evans set a Class 2 state record winning the girls' shot put championship at 46' 7 ¼" and earned the Class 2 girls' discus gold medal at 140' 1". Brad Madison won the Class 2 boys' discus gold medal with a 170' 7" toss. Trenton senior Deandre Vandevender struck gold in the Class 2 boys' triple, long and high jump events.
Meadville senior Kaci Sargent won the Class 1 girls 400m dash and triple jump. Sargent was second to Missouri School for the Deaf senior Chetara Watkins in the Class 1 girls' 100 and 200m dash. Watkins dominated the Mokane Sectional sprints.
Saxony Lutheran won the Class 1 boys team championship with 52 points. Novinger was fourth in the state with 34 points. Rock Port won the Class 1 girls' team championship with 58 points. Meadville was second with 52 points. Marion County was 23rd overall in the Class 1 girls point standings.
Knox County tied with Novinger and Bosworth for 29th overall in girls' Class 1 with eight points. Paris and Crocker tied for 32nd overall with seven points.
Trenton won the boys Class 2 team championship with 67 points. Centralia was ninth in Class 2. Palmyra, Westran, and South Harrison tied for 12th overall with 16 points.
Clark County, Lathrop, Louisiana and Marceline tied for 26th overall in the Class 2 boys' standings with ten points.
Hamilton-Penney followed up their Class 3 girls' basketball championship by winning the Class 2 track girls' team title with 77 points. Freshman sensation Lindsay Vollmer won the Class 2 girls' high jump at 5'4". Vollmer set new state records winning the 300 hurdles at 49.08 seconds and the long jump at 18' 7 ¼".
Macon tied for fourth overall in the Class 2 girl's standings with 25 points. Tigerette juniors Cindy and Karen Gravel won the 3200m run silver and bronze medals respectively. Monroe City sophomore Shelby Franklin won the Class 2 girls' pole vault for the second straight season. Franklin is the state record holder with a 12 foot vault established in 2007.
Putnam County was sixth overall in girls' Class 2 with 23 points. Highland was 20th with 14 points and South Shelby placed 30th with nine team points.
Lorelei Schlueter and Alena Koester won three Knox County state medals each. Senior Alena Koester took the sixth place medal in the Class 1 girls' high jump, clearing at 4'10" on her second attempt and was part of the Lady Eagles' 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams.
"It's pretty frustrating when you know that you feet knocked the bar off," said Alena Koester of the girls' high jump finals. It feels good getting the sixth place medal."
Class 1 high jump champion Laura Graybill of Rock Port cleared at five feet by the narrowest of margins. Alena Koester graduated from Knox County High School a few hours after winning three state track medals.
"It makes me so happy that I want to cry," said Alena Koester when asked to reflect on her Knox County Relays and school record 5'1" high jump and her track and field career. "I am going to miss my teammates dearly," said Koester.
Sophomore Lorelei Schlueter won the eighth place medal in the Class 1 girls' 200 meter dash in 27.79 seconds. Schlueter was the anchor runner on the Lady Eagles' eighth place in the state 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams.
Knox County ran the 4x100m relay at the state finals in 54.60 seconds. The Lady Eagles were in the top four places early in the 4x200m relay but finished eighth in both sprint relays. Knox County's 4x200 finals time was 1:54.52 seconds.
Tessa Ramer and Amanda Woods earned two state medals each in the Class 1 girls' 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay events.
Highland senior Josie McCracken won four 2008 state track medals. McCracken was the 2006 Class 2 Girls' 100 and 200 meter dash state champion. McCracken was unable to defend her crowns last season due to injury. Josie McCracken has signed a track scholarship to attend Pittsburg State University in Kansas.
"Every event makes me want to do better in the next one," said Josie McCracken. I could have had third in the 100." Josie McCracken took seventh in the 100m dash finals in 12.82 seconds. McCracken claimed the fourth place medal in the Class 2 girls' 200m dash in 25.75 seconds.
"I'm not really happy with the place I got in the 100, but I was happy just to get there," said Josie McCracken.
Highland took fifth in the Class 2 girls' 4x200 meter relay event in 1:47.84 seconds. Josie McCracken closed from the sixth slot and came within an eyelash of fourth place. Margins of victory were very slight in many of the sprint finals. There was not much difference between first and eighth place.
"I thought we had a good run. We broke our record again with a 1:47.84 (second time)," said Highland senior Abby Gaus. "I think we could have had a better place if we worked harder, but we got state. That's good enough for me."
Highland senior Chasity Wardlow and junior Alexis Clay were the remaining members of the Lady Cougar sprint relay teams along with seniors Abby Gaus and Josie McCracken. Highland was sixth overall in the Class 2 girls' 4x100 meter relay in 52.43 seconds.
Knox County sophomore Katie Ausmus won the 2007 Class 1 fourth place medal in the girls' 3200m run.
Katie Ausmus ran with the top five athletes in this year's metric two mile race but faded after the seventh lap.
Katie Ausmus won the 2008 Class 1 seventh place medal in the 3200 meter run in 12:55.23 seconds.
"It was a good race. It was really hot for everyone," said Katie Ausmus of the long distance race. "Most of the spring it's been cold and rainy. I wasn't quite ready for the heat physically."
"I was hoping to stride out and stay with the pack," said Ausmus of her race strategy. "I just couldn't keep up after the seventh lap."
"Even if we do go up to 2A next year I think we will still do a great job," said Katie Ausmus of the 2009 KCHS track prospects.
"We have good girls and guys athletes on our track team. I'm proud of everyone that made it down here. We got some good places and did a great job."
Brashear senior Christina Scudder overcame the odds and early spring knee surgery to make the finals of the Class 1 girl's discus. Scudder qualified for the state track meet for the third time in her great athletic and academic career at Adair County R-II.
Christina Scudder fired the discus 100'1" on her second finals attempt. Ten throwers advanced to the finals because of a tie in a higher position. The 100 foot plus throw set Scudder as the ninth best Class 1 discus thrower in the state.
"I'm just happy to be here. This awesome, I've never made the finals before," said Christina Scudder. "I can't spin off that leg," said Scudder of the way she has adapted in order to meet medical restrictions.
Her personal best was around 114 feet. "I think it is a great way to end my career. I never believed I would be here," said the Southeast Missouri State University bound senior. Christina Scudder will play softball and study medicine at SEMO.
Knox County's girls' 4x400 meter relay team of Tessa Ramer, Amanda Woods, Suzanne Howerton and Lorrie Peters got caught up in a common but frustrating situation.
The top two finishers in each heat and the next four best times qualify for the finals in any event with a preliminary round. The Lady Eagle 4x400m relay team ran a 4:28.93 second time in their preliminary race. Knox County beat their personal best time by six seconds.
Knox County fell short of qualifying for the finals by .7 seconds. Knox County's time was the seventh best overall at the state track meet, and finished ninth in the state.
Amanda Woods traveled 13'8" on her second preliminary round long jump, but did not make the finals and finished 14th overall in the girls' Class 1 long jump. Kale Watson wrapped up his Brashear Tiger career with a 17.34 second time in the state 110m hurdles prelim, but failed to make the finals and placed tenth overall.
Lorelei Schlueter ran a 13.31 second 100 meter dash in the preliminary round and finished 12th in the state after not making the finals. Brashear senior David Anderson did not make the Class 1 finals in the boys' 400 meter dash. Anderson placed 13th in the state with a preliminary time of 54.11 seconds.
Mitchel Pegg ran a strong 23.85 second time in the Class 1 boys' 200m dash, but could not make the finals. Mitchel Pegg finished ninth in the state in the 200 meters.
Brashear junior Justin Hazen finished 12th overall in the Class 1 boys' 3200 meter run in 10:48.65 seconds. LaPlata freshman Brady Buck took 11th overall in the boys' 3200m run in 10:47.63 seconds.
By David Sharp