The Reeds Spring boys are not only this year’s COC-Small champions, but also the Class 3, District 6 winners as well with their dominant performance at Mt. Vernon High School on Saturday.
The Wolves lost by merely a half point in 2015’s conference showdown, and lost by 5.5 points to Strafford in last year’s district meet.
With several upperclassmen, a lot of hard work and gold in mind, the boys can say they redeemed themselves twice this year.
Even with the entire meet affected by the cold, windy morning and early afternoon, they couldn’t be stopped.
Reeds Spring track coach Craig Barr said, “We’re definitely a hot weather team. Our boys all run better when it’s warm. Unfortunately, we had all week of hot and then all of a sudden today it’s cold.”
If sprinter Korey Robinette was affected, it didn’t show.
He took first in both the 100 and 200 meter dash races with 10.88 and 22.61, respectively.
Dexter Payne’s pole vault performance (12-00) and Ransom Allphin’s 300 meter hurdles (39.16) also landed top honors.
“He went to state last year and he shouldn’t have a problem getting back,” Barr said of Allphin.
Gabe Corn was honored in both the high jump and triple jump with fourth and second-place, respectively.
Hunter Flett was runner-up in the 100 meter dash.
Matthew Krulic and Darrin Rathburn placed third in the 400 meter dash and shot put, respectively.
Fourth-place medals were awarded to Colter Whitten in the long jump, Garrett Miller in shot put, and Reno Randle in the 1600.
Team-wise, Reeds Spring’s 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams also took first-place.
Barr said, “The relay teams we’re really excited about. We think we can do well with them at state.”
The Mt. Vernon girls excelled on Saturday, dominating in 11 events and earning a total of 107 points.
The Lady Mountaineers’ 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams immensely contributed to the overall victory as they placed first in each.
Individually, Senior Karlie Meeks earned a gold in the long jump (16-05.50) and Dannie Wilson topped the 200 meter dash. Wilson was also runner-up in the 100 meter dash.
Senior Tawnie Wilson was runner-up in the high jump at 4-10.00, just under Cassville’s Brianna Hemphill.
Three third-place wins were nabbed by Jennifer Buffington’s shot put performance and Madison Pope’s 100 and 300 meter hurdle performances.
Addie Jones also did well with her 31-02.25 triple jump, giving her third-place.
Freshmen Emily Trimble and Lauren Vaughn also placed fourth in the 400 meter dash and 300 meter hurdles, respectively.
For East Newton head coach Jake Holt, the objective on Saturday was to just get through.
The Lady Patriots delivered.
East Newton had several impressive performances, including two first-place finishes from senior Emily Sorrell.
The senior topped the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:32.96, and coming in two seconds behind her was her sister, Kisney, who battled bronchitis for a month at the beginning of the season.
Sorrell and her sister also placed third and fourth in the 3200, respectively.
Sorrell also topped the 800 meter run at 2:29.39, followed by teammate Jaylen Hayward’s second-place finish.
Individually, freshmen Grace Aulick and Bailee Collins also had an impressive day.
Aulick earned a bronze in the high jump and Collins took third in the pole vault.
Sophomore Brynne Smith was runner-up in the triple jump at 31-10.75.
Three East Newton relay teams were also impressive.
Both the 4×100 and 4×400 teams placed fourth, and the 4×800 team finished second to Reeds Spring.
Holt said, “We’re not willing to sacrifice a possibly better performance at state to win the district. We have a really tough sectional, so we’re trying to save their legs a little bit this week, try to get in the top four and play it smart. We hope to advance in as many events as we can.”
Strafford’s Logan Eden had one goal on Saturday: beat Morgan Montgomery.
The Aurora junior was the top seed in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, but couldn’t keep up with two-seed Eden even after beating her earlier this season.
By a second, Eden came out on top by a second in each event to claim a couple of golds.
Eden said of the 300 race, “I was surprised because she and I, over here on the corner, were together and she started getting farther and farther ahead. Then the last hurdle, I thought she was going to beat me, and she ended up hitting it, so that helped me a lot.”
Eden added, “I feel bad for her. She’ll come back in sectionals, so I’m going to have to get better. It was like this last year, me and her. Last year she was my biggest competition, so I knew I’d have to come in today and run good.”
Confidence boosted, Eden is preparing for next week’s sectional meet.
“The first half of the week next week I’ll probably do some 400s, which kind of sucks, but it’ll definitely help for sectionals,” the Missouri Valley commit said.
As a cross-county state champion, Stephen Kielhofner has a knack for running long distance.
But he’s not running the longest track event: the 3200.
Kielhofner said, “We just wanted to give some other athletes, especially the seniors this year, some opportunity.”
Senior Austin Reith took advantage of that opportunity and topped the 3200 with a time of 10:20.57.
“Particularly, I don’t like the 3200 that much. Even though I’m more of a distance guy, and I have more of a distance build, I just don’t enjoy eight laps on a track,” said Kielhofner.
Running around the track four times is enough for Kielhofner as he topped the 1600 at 4:24.27.
Kielhofner also helped the 4×800 relay team to a first-place finish, along with Blake Quinn, Greg Kelly and Lachlan Moore.
Also significant to Catholic’s third-place win was Moore’s and Quinn’s performances in the 800 meter run.
Moore placed first at 2:03.01 and Quinn was runner-up at 2:05.65.
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