The outcome was still up in the air entering the final event, but Nixa emerged with boys’ and girls’ championships at Thursday’s COC-Large Track and Field Championships.
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Nixa boys win 3rd COC-Large title in 5 years
In the final event of a five-hour meet, Nixa’s first-place 4×400 relay team (3:27.50) bested fifth-place Webb City (3:29.14) to earn a decisive six-point jump in the team standings.
Going into the last event, Nixa trailed Webb City, 128-126. The 4×400 relay result put Nixa over Webb City for first place (136-132), but as coach Lance Brumley put it, the 18 preceding boys’ events played a bigger role in the final outcome.
“It could have been any event,” Brumley said. “A four-point difference, it could have been any number of things that happened. People like to focus on the last (event), but it could have been anything. As a whole, the team came out and competed and every one of them contributed somewhere. That’s what you’ve got to have.”
The finish also gave Nixa a sweep in the relay events on the evening.
“It was nice to see every relay team win tonight,” Brumley said. “It’s a testament to our kids’ teamwork and sacrifice for each other.”
Nixa had the top two finishers in pole vault, with Joseph Nickell clearing 14’00” and William Park (13’6”) winning a tiebreaker for second. Eagles freshman Christian Procell won the 800 (2:00.43).
Running in the second of three heats for the 110 hurdles, Nixa senior Richard Perez posted the sixth-best time (16.38) to give the Eagles three unexpected points.
The championship marks Nixa’s fifth COC-Large title overall and third in five years. The Eagles will seek to defend their district championship a week from this Saturday when they compete in the Class 5, District 5 meet at Ozark High School.
Nixa girls win first COC-Large title
Like the boys’ squad, the Nixa girls needed a good result from their 4×400 relay team of Mackenzie Ihasz, Elle Moon, Maran Attwooll and anchor Katelyn Short.
Clinging to a one-point lead over Webb City, Nixa’s third-place finish (4:16.84) in the final event clinched the first girls’ COC-Large championship in program history.
“I was sitting there, throughout the meet, trying to keep the unofficial total,” said Nixa girls coach Jim Middleton. “It got down to the 4×400 relay and I was like, ‘I think we’re up two (points).’ I went down to the team and said, ‘Here’s what you have to do: try to beat them, but if not, they better not get two points farther place than you.’
“Webb City, they never make anything easy for you. They have a lot of depth like we do.”
Webb City (153) finished one spot behind Nixa in fourth place in the event, giving the Eagles (155) the point they needed to prevent a tie and clinch at outright league title. It was also a bit of payback for Nixa, after Webb City clipped the Eagles by a few points last year to win the league title.
“Neat group of young ladies,” Middleton said about his team. “They’re fun to be around and really enjoy it.”
Depth was key as Nixa won only four of the 19 events. Junior Kaitlyn Jones won the 1600 (5:30.66) and 3200 (12:02.83).
The Eagles continued their dominance in the sprint relay events, winning the 4×200 (1:48.43) and 4×100 (50.74). Nixa entered the meet with the area’s best times for those events.
Sophomore Lisette Perez was third in long jump (15’10”) and second in triple jump (35’7”). Nixa’s Jesse Farrales (12.60), Mia Vincent (12.80) and Katalina Mitchell (12.88) finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the 100.
“We have some pretty good depth, relays, all the way around,” Middleton said. “I told the girls yesterday, ‘An 8th place might make a big difference in this thing when you add it all up.’ And it did. We need every little point.”
Deadmond chasing gold
All-state worthy performances won’t be good enough this year for Webb City senior Nate Deadmond. He wants to stand atop the podium in Jefferson City.
Deadmond took a step toward that goal Thursday, winning COC-Large gold in the 110 (14.90) and 300 hurdles (40.20).
His 40.20 showing in the 300 hurdles is a PR, besting the previous mark of 40.22 that he ran at state last year when he placed 6th in Class 4.
“I definitely haven’t hit my peak, but I’m getting better. So that’s a good sign,” Deadmond said.
Last year was Deadmond’s first appearance at state. In addition to placing 6th in the 300 hurdles, he posted a fifth-place finish (14.95) in the 110 hurdles.
After missing around a month with an injury, Deadmond has competed in four consecutive meets for Webb City heading into the postseason. He’s setting a lofty goal for himself before he embarks on a college football career at William Penn University.
“I want to be a state champion,” Deadmond said. “I don’t want to just get second. That’s what I’m going for.”
Teed trying to replicate, surpass 2015 success
Carthage senior Kimberly Teed hasn’t been able to match her best 2015 triple jump mark yet, but she’s close, and it’s given her a goal heading into postseason competition.
“I know I can jump farther, so it’s motivating me,” Teed said. “I know I can do more.”
Teed posted a 36’8.5” effort to win Thursday’s COC-Large triple jump event – and a 16’6.5” to win the long jump – but she’s striving for better.
Teed’s triple-jump of 36’10” at state last year gave her a 2nd-place finish in Class 4. If she should again qualify for state in a few weeks, Teed will likely compete with defending state champ Carolyn Ross of Webster Groves, who won last year’s Class 4 triple jump (37’5”).
Teed, who will jump collegiately for Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, has a goal in mind that would likely put her in position for state gold.
“I want to jump in the 38s and hopefully PR again. That’d be great,” said Teed, who delivered a 37'4.5" mark on April 22 to win the KU Relays for the second time in her prep career.
All of this from someone who had to be talked – and trained – into taking the event when she entered high school.
“I hadn’t done triple jump until I got into high school and (Carthage track and field) Coach (Andy) Youngworth was like, ‘Hey, you should try this,’” Teed said. “At first, I was kind of iffy about it but as I learned how to do it, I got better. At first, it wasn’t very good.”
Nuckolls wants school record
If she does it in Jefferson City, setting Ozark’s school record might put senior Joselyn Nuckolls in position for a state high jump gold medal.
After earning all-state honors last year (6th place in Class 5, 5’2”), Nuckolls battled a knee injury earlier this spring. At Thursday’s COC-Large meet, she only needed to clear 5’0” win the event, but her ultimate goal remains six inches higher.
Nixa junior Meleah Ridenour and – before her injury – Republic senior Brooke Stanfield have again served as local competition for Nuckolls. The trio are tied for the area’s second-best high jump performance this season, with all three clearing 5’4” in various April meets.
Mountain View-Birch Tree/Liberty’s Jordan Owens has the area’s best high jump (5’5”) through early May.
“I’m hoping to peek in the postseason. I’m feeling OK,” said Nuckolls, who also serves as the second long on Ozark's 4×200 relay.