Lady Eagles Take Fifth In Class Two 4x800 Relay
By David Sharp
Knox County fans watched anchor runner Kelsey Cahalan stride down the Dwight T. Reed Stadium stretch in the MSHSAA Class 2 girl’s 4x800 meter relay.
A large group of KCHS supporters finally took a breath in the steamy May 22, 2010 early afternoon sun when Cahalan crossed the finish line securing fifth place medals.
MacKenzie Hustead, Suzanne Howerton, Lorrie Peters and Kelsey Cahalan broke the Knox County High School record finishing in 10:07.69 seconds. The Lady Eagles were seeded tenth in the 16 team field.
Hermann won the girl’s 3200m relay gold medals in 9:46.15 seconds. Conway took the silver medals. Mark Twain runners Samantha Brolaski, Taylor Stuart, Deidra Jarman and Allisa Keil won bronze medals in 9:59.61 seconds. Class 2 girls state champion Hamilton Penney was fourth in 10:02.18 seconds.
The smallest school in Missouri track and field Class 2 topped several big name athletic programs. Westphalia Fatima was sixth. Lawson took seventh place. Blair Oaks was eighth. Valle Catholic took ninth.
Carmen Grover, Kim Strange, Kathleen Cahalan and Shelly Gudehus set the previous KCHS record of 10:11.37 seconds in the girl’s 4x800 meter relay in 1982. Kathleen Cahalan-Brugenhemke witnessed the new school record. Kathleen is Kelsey Cahalan’s aunt.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Kelsey Cahalan with her voice rising in elation after the race. “We are the smallest (Class 2) school in the state and we just got fifth place. This is the best feeling in the world.”
MacKenzie Hustead got the Lady Eagles off to a good start. Hustead paced the field into the first turn. The eventual top four finishers overtook Hustead heading into the first handoff.
“To be honest, this is overwhelming” freshman MacKenzie Hustead said. “I tried not to look at all the people sitting out there before the race. I just cast my eyes out in front of me and ran. I didn’t realize it would be like this,” said Hustead of the Division II Lincoln University at Jefferson City track and field facility.
A large crowd was in attendance on the two day meet’s final events. “This is a great accomplishment for us. It is a great feeling. It is kind of bittersweet, knowing we won’t have Lorrie (Peters) around next year.”
“We have a lot of good athletes that didn’t get the chance to be here. We have had a great year,” said Hustead.
“I had a really bad handoff. Mac and I almost dropped the baton,” said Suzanne Howerton. “I hung on to the baton somehow. My head is just spinning around right now. I don’t know what my time was, but I had a kick at the end I don’t normally have,” said the two time district champion runner.
“I think we surprised people a little bit. We are the smallest school (in Class 2) so they underestimate us,” Suzanne Howerton said. “We wanted it. We are going to miss Lorrie (Peters) but we want to come back and do this again next year.”
Three of the four Lady Eagle 4x8 and 4x400m relay runners are underclassmen. Lorrie Peters was the lone senior on the state medal winning team.
Knox County was around the fifth to seventh place slot most of the way. Lorrie Peters took the baton and left everything she had on the track. Kelsey Cahalan dueled with Fatima’s anchor runner and came out on top.
“I’ve had an amazing senior year,” said Culver-Stockton College women’s basketball bound Lorrie Peters. “I just had one more thing to check off on my list before graduating tomorrow. That was winning a state track medal.”
Lorrie Peters wore that state medal at the 2010 Knox County High School commencement ceremony. “Brittany (Miller), Myra (Parrish) and myself have been together forever in softball. Becca (Mallett), Myra and I helped win the conference in basketball. We won conference in the 4x4 and the 4x8.”
“We did what we were supposed to do,” said Lorrie Peters.
The Lady Eagles finished tied with five other schools for 48th in Class 2. Louisiana was fourth overall and Monroe City fifth. Mound City won the Class 1 girls’ team championship. LaPlata won the girl’s 4x100m relay state championship and finished ninth overall.
Wellington-Napoleon won the Class 1 boy’s team title. North Shelby took 16th and LaPlata was 32nd. Maplewood-Richmond Heights won the Class 2 boy’s team championship. Centralia was fourth, Westran took eighth.
Hamilton-Penney star Lindsey Vollmer won the Class 2 girls’ 100 and 300 meter hurdles, the long jump and the high jump. Louisiana won the girl’s 4x100 and 4x200m relay state titles.
Canton senior Tori Niemann was second in the triple jump and third in the long jump. Sturgeon senior Mallory Embree won the girl’s discus at 119’7”. Embree took the Class 1 girl’s shot put bronze medal with Novinger senior Trisha Potter fourth.
Marion County won the girls’ 4x800m girl’s Class 1 state championship in 10:05.89 seconds. Knox County would have taken the Class 1 silver medals with their time. LaPlata won the girl’s 4x100 meter dash in 51.78 seconds. Rachel Shahan, Mallory Eitel, Emily and Taylor Snodgrass were the Lady Bulldog gold medal winners.
Princeton sophomore Blake Goodin won three gold medals. Princeton won the Class 1 boy’s 1600 meter gold medal in 4:34.25 seconds. Goodin won the 800m run in 1:59.98 seconds. The Tiger distance king won the Class 1 boy’s 3200 meters in 10:02.39 seconds.
Westran senior Bryce Enyart cleared 6’5” in the high jump, successfully defending his Class 2 championship. Bryce Enyart won the Class 2 triple jump gold medal at 45’4”. Mike Grinde won the Class 2 boy’s pole vault for Monroe City. Nic Ford won the boy’s long jump for Centralia with Enyart taking fourth.
Levi Hughart won the Class 2 boy’s shot put silver medal for South Shelby. Nic Ford won the boy’s 110m and 300m hurdles for Centralia. Mark Twain senior Jon Hughes won four state medals, including the Class 2 boy’s 800 meter gold.
“They had one goal on their mind at the beginning of the year. They worked hard to come down here and place,” said Knox County coach John Weaver. “We came out here and ran 18 seconds faster than we have all season.”
“We had good leadership. They are unselfish, they wanted it for each other,” John Weaver said of his freshman, sophomore, junior and senior relay team. They knew they would have to run well. They each did their part and we are taking home a medal.”
John Weaver commented on the run. “Mac kept us in a good position. You don’t want to get boxed in with 15 other runners, Suzanne had a good stride. She was loose and kept us in a good position. Lorrie ran her fastest time of the year with a 2:31 split. Lorrie is a competitor. You knew she was going to give it everything she had.”
“Kelsey is the anchor runner for a reason,” John Weaver said. “She was in seventh when she took the baton and finished fifth. I can’t explain to everybody how happy I am for the kids. They have worked hard. They deserve it.”