Eagles Send Nine To Sectionals; Leighton McCabe District Champ
By David Sharp
The smallest Class 2 track school in Missouri competed like warriors at the MSHSAA Class 2, District 4 track meet at Brookfield. Freshman Leighton McCabe came from 20 meters down to pass South Shelby runner Jason Weaver less than 50 meters from the finish line, winning the boy’s 1600 meter district championship.
Knox County won bronze medals in the girls’ 4x800m relay. Mitchel Pegg qualified in three events, placing fourth in the boy’s 100m and 200m dash.
Mitchel Pegg ran a guttty third leg in the boy’s 4x400m relay, helping put the Eagles into the Sectional field with a fourth place finish.
The top four finishers at districts advance to the Class 2 Sectional track meet at Centralia, scheduled for Saturday, May 16. Knox County had five fifth place finishes, one spot out of the money.
Brady James edged Marceline’s Logan Woutze by six one hundredths of a second in the boy’s 110m high hurdles, claiming fourth place for Knox County.
Centralia claimed the District 4 girls’ team championship with 129.50 points. South Shelby was second at 102 points. Macon placed third with 87 girls’ points. Marceline took fourth at 83 points. Putnam County (81), Hallsville (32.5) Schuyler County (31), Fayette (28.5), and ninth place Brookfield (22).
Two time defending Class 1 Girls’ District Champion Knox County scored 21.50 girls team points and finished tied with Scotland County for tenth in the Class 2 field. Salisbury and Highland tied for 12th overall with 18 points. Westran, Harrisburg and Milan rounded out the Class 2 District 4 field.
Brookfield claimed the District 4 boys’ team title with 93 points. Marceline was second at 89 points. Centralia was third by an eyelash at 88.50 points. Macon took fourth with 73 points. Westran was fifth with 70 points. South Shelby took sixth place at 54 points.
Putnam County finished seventh at 51.50 points. Knox County was eighth with 44 points. Fayette finished ninth at 36 points. Hallsville was tenth followed by Schuyler County, Scotland County, and Harrisburg. Highland and Salisbury tied for 14th with seven points each. Milan was 16th with two points.
Princeton won the Class 1 Brookfield boy’s district team championship. Newtown-Harris took second followed by third place Northwestern. Southwest of Ludlow beat out Linn County and Northwestern for the girls’ championship. The Brookfield Class 1 district competitors will travel to Richmond for their Sectional next week.
“I’m just really, really happy for the kids. They have worked extremely hard,” said Knox County head track coach John Weaver. “The kids could have come over here and hung their heads, moving up a class. To send this many people to Sectionals. We came out and competed.”
“We slid by in some events, and we did really well in some events,” said the former Clark County R-I track star. “We are sending athletes in six events. We had five fifth place finishes. The guys are taking a few more people, but the girls have worked extremely hard too. Hopefully we will give it a run at Sectionals.”
Knox County athletes turned in ten personal best performances at the district track meet. Lorrie Peters was one of those ten, clearing 4’8” in the girls’ high jump good for seventh place. Kati Keys of Putnam County cleared 5’2”, beating Salisbury jumper Whitney Koenig on jumps for the district title.
Dennis Dent cleared 5’6” in the boys’ high jump and took ninth. Bryce Enyard cleared 6’2” winning the boy’s high jump for Westran. Chris Parsons cleared 6’4”, winning the Class 1 district high jump for Princeton.
Highland’s Dyllon Howard qualified with a fourth place finish in the triple jump. Mizzou bound Katie Evans of Putnam County won the girls’ Class 2 district shot put and discus championships. Levi Hughart reportedly broke the South Shelby school record with a 53’5” heave, winning the Class 2 shot put.
Suzanne Howerton, Katie Ausmus, Kelsey Cahalan and Lorrie Peters won KCHS bronze medals in the girls’ 4x800m relay in 10:28005 seconds. The Lady Eagles lopped 20 seconds over their previous personal best time. Centralia (10:12) won the 3200m relay followed by South Shelby (10:19). Macon was fourth at 10:32.19 seconds.
Nic Ford won the boy’s 110m high hurdles for Centralia in 14.70 seconds. Dillon Devoy of Brookfield was the silver medalist at 15.45 seconds. The next four places were determined by .74 seconds.
Shannon Hall won the bronze medal for South Shelby at 17.09 seconds. Brady James was fourth for Knox County in 17.56 seconds. Logan Woutze was fifth in a photo finish at 17.62 seconds. It took several minutes to determine the final 110m hurdles qualifier.
Scharron Dingledine won the girls’ 100m dash for Macon in 12.58 seconds. Lindsey Kunkel was second for Fayette in 12.75 seconds. Alexis Clay took the bronze medal for Highland in 13.24 seconds.
Ryan Sherman (11.45) of Fayette nipped Westran senior Roscoe Robinson (11.46) at the tape for the Class 2 boy’s 100-meter dash championship. Colby Bailey was third for Brookfield at 11.82 seconds. Mitchel Pegg took fourth for Knox County in 11.92 seconds.
Twin sisters Cindy and Karen Grauel of Macon dominated the 1600 and 3200 meter fields, winning the gold and silver medals respectively in each event. Katti Carroll won third for South Shelby followed by teammate Jill Barry.
Leighton McCabe started the Class 2 boy’s 1600 meter race in a field horse position, along the inside rail. McCabe was able to stay within 20 meters or so of the pace, bolting from the field to fourth place on the first lap back stretch.
Knox County’s freshman entrant remained with the leaders until the gun lap. McCabe moved up on South Shelby’s Jason Weaver, reaching Weave’s heels on the final turn.
Leighton McCabe caught Jason Weaver midway down the home stretch. McCabe passed the lead runner and had nothing but red track and the white painted finish line ahead.
Knox County fans roared when Leighton McCabe gained the experience of winning a district track championship in a personal best time of 4:51.34 seconds. Jason Weaver claimed the silver medal for South Shelby in 4:52.62 seconds.
“This is awesome. I was aiming for fourth,” said Leighton McCabe after the race. “I was on his heels on the last corner. I decided I was going to beat him today, because I haven’t been able to beat him all year. He is a great runner.”
The Eagles’ newest district champion showed his years when asked what was going through his mind after becoming the 1600-meter champion. “McDonald’s” was the one word response after not having eaten at that point in the day.
Brookfield won the boys’ 4x100m relay in 45.57 seconds. David Hinkle, Mitchel Pegg, Brady James, and Cody Pegg finished fifth for Knox County with a personal best time of 47.05 seconds.
Kelsey Cahalan was scratched from the 1600 meters due to illness. Cahalan fought flu like symptoms for a fifth place finish in the girls’ 400m dash in 65.78 seconds.
Cody Pegg ran a personal best time of 53.62 seconds in the boy’s 400m dash and took fifth place. Kyle Bixenman of Marceline won the 400m championship in 51.47 seconds. Rhett Cook of Schuyler County was a heartbeat behind for a silver medal in 51.49 seconds.
Mason Harlan qualified for his fourth event of the day in 52.68 seconds followed by fourth place Andrew Baum of Brookfield at 53.34 seconds.
Brady James ran personal best times in the 110m and 300m hurdles. James took seventh in the 300m hurdles in 46.63 seconds. Nic Ford completed the Centralia double, winning the 300m hurdles in 40.84 seconds.
Elizabeth Russell won the girls’ 800 meters for South Shelby in 2:29 seconds. South Shelby’s Katti Carroll was second at 2:29.51 seconds. Katie Ryals took the bronze for Putnam County in 2:30.37 seconds. Sierra Angell was fourth for Centralia at 2:31.36 seconds.
Defending Class 1 district champion 400-meter runner Suzanne Howerton was fifth for Knox County with a personal best time of 2:37.93 seconds.
KCHS freshman Sharri Edwards ran a personal best 2:17.17 second 800 meters, finishing sixth. Mason Harlan won the 800m district in 2:05.77 seconds. Rod Sears was second for Scotland County in 2:08.12 seconds.
Lindsey Kunkel won the girls’ 200m dash for Fayette in 26.34 seconds. Alexis Clay took the silver medal for Highland in 27.63 seconds. Senior Ryan Sherman completed his sprint double, winning the 200m dash for Fayette in 23.29 seconds.
Roscoe Robinson was second in the 200 meters for Westran in 23.46 seconds. Kyle Bixenman took the bronze for Marceline in 23.98 seconds.
Mitchel Pegg was fourth for Knox County with a 24.02 seconds. Katie Ausmus saw her string of 3200-meter state runs snapped when she finished fifth in the two mile with a time of 13:32.94 seconds. Cindy Grauel won the 3200m for Macon in 11:30.88 seconds. Karen Grauel was second for the Tigerettes in 11:34.07 seconds.
Suzanne Howerton, Lorrie Peters, Kelsey Cahalan and senior Tessa Ramer finished seventh in the girls’ 4x400m relay in 4:28.44 seconds. A pair of less than desirable handoffs likely cost the Lady Eagles a chance at Sectionals. Marceline won the girls’ 4×4 in 4:15.61 seconds
David Hinkle, Leighton McCabe, Mitchel Pegg and Cody Pegg took the track for the Class 2 boy’s 4×400 meter relay. This was the final Knox County district track event for 2009.
The Eagles were in sixth place after a not so smooth baton second to third leg handoff. Mitchel Pegg took the baton and roared to fourth place, mainly in the first 300 meters of the third leg.
“Cody (Pegg) and (David) Hinkle weren’t going to Sectionals. I had to give them that chance,” said Knox County senior Mitchel Pegg of the 4x400m third leg. “I knew that if I got us to fourth place, that Cody (Pegg) would be able to bring it home.”
“Cody and Mitch are our final two 4×4 runners for a reason,” said Knox County coach John Weaver. “They are our fastest kids. They like to run. They like to run from behind.”
“It’s really hard going from (Class 1 to Class 2),” said Mitchel Pegg. “Especially for the girls, since they have lost a few people. We have some freshmen that have are helping us.”
“When Mitch brought us up from sixth to fourth, I had to give it all I have got or we aren’t going to Sectionals,” said anchor runner Cody Pegg. “I got fifth in all my other events. I wasn’t going to Sectionals. I have to give it to my whole team today.”
“It was my goal to be in the top four,” said David Hinkle. “We just wanted to give it a shot.”