“It’s weird competing in a sport that your school doesn’t even have facilities for,” said Spicer. “We practice our running events by jogging around city blocks. We get a few odd looks here and there.”
After taking second place at state in the high jump last season, Spicer looks to redeem himself by clinching a gold finish next weekend.
“I try to pace myself and take my time while I’m competing in so many events,” said Spicer. “Today I have already qualified in the 100-meter dash, long jump, and triple jump. I still have to go to high jump, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Spicer jumped a 6”4’ in the high jump, taking home first place over Bobby Zielinkski of Midway.
“With state coming up, I’m hoping to win high jump after being runner-up last year,” said Spicer.
Ayers continues success into sectionals
After running for four district titles, Liberal’s Kacey Ayers extended her winning ways into sectionals picking up four bids to the state meet.
“This season has been going well, and I didn’t peak early which is always nice,” said Ayers. “Even if you’re from a small school like Liberal, with only one coach, you can still qualify to the state tournament. It just takes a lot of work.”
Ayers collected three sectional titles in the 100 meter hurdles, 200 meter dash, and 300 meter hurdles. Kala Svendsen of Liberal defeated Ayers in the 100 meter dash by only 0.19 seconds.
“The back straightaway during the 300 meter dash was rough, but I was alright everywhere else,” said Ayers. “The wind was against me in the first 100 meters, so I just had to give it all I had right there, hoping the wind would help in the back stretch.”
In 2012, Ayers won state in the 4x200 relay as a junior, but she has dropped the relay to focus on her single running events.
“Winning three of my four events is definitely a boost of confidence before state,” said Ayers. “I really want to get better than third at state; it’s what I have gotten the last two years in my single events.”
Foley throws season’s best
McAuley Catholic’s Victoria Foley swept both the Class 1 discus and shot put events, solidifying herself as a contender for yet another Missouri state championship.
“I’m just really excited and I can’t wait to go onto state,” said Foley. “Let’s just see how it goes.”
Foley out threw Rachel Dugan by nearly 16 feet in discus, recording a final performance of 118”3’. She would go on to clinch first in the shot put as well, tallying up 36”01’ over Jasper’s Kennedy Chaligoj.
“First place is definitely on my mind,” said Foley. “I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, and remember what my coaches are telling me.”
After her 15th place finish in shot put last season at state, Foley hopes improve upon her performance in Jefferson City.
“After a poor showing at state last year in shot put, I feel like it’s time for some redemption,” said Foley. “This win today helped me get the nerves out and be ready for next weekend in both of my events.”
Foley looks to defend her discus state title by improving upon her personal record of 119”04’.
Coose hopes for repeat state title
Madison Coose of Lockwood has her sights set only on regaining her state champion status, as she flew a season-high 5”00’ for a high jump sectional title.
“I just hope I can repeat another state championship from last year,” said Coose. “It’s a little nerve-racking not clearing any heights I reached last year, so hopefully I can pull through with a title again.”
Coose passed teammate Chloe Sowell, who qualified with a jump of 4”08’ for third place.
“My teammate Salle, who is also going to state with me, has pushed me to work as hard as I can this season,” said Coose. “I can also thank my coaches, team, and family for my success.”
Saturday’s win gives Coose some momentum heading into state May 17-18.
“I just have to make sure I keep focused in my performance on the field, and just get a high enough height to do well at state again,” said Coose.
Shoemaker excited for state competition
Running long distance is something Dakota Shoemaker does very well. The Humansville Tiger clinched a sectional win in both the 1600 meter (4:45.74) and the 3200 meter (10:29.08).
“I’m just ready to go out next weekend and compete with the best athletes that the state of Missouri has to offer,” said Shoemaker. “Ultimately, I just maintained a good pace until things started to slow down, I then made my move to take the lead toward the end of the race.”
Shoemaker held the state’s leading time in the 1600 meter (4:34.18), until he was surpassed earlier this week.
“I felt pretty comfortable, I had the state leading time up all year up until this week, so I’m pretty content with how things went,” said Shoemaker. “If someone beats you, you can’t just take it to heart. Running is not who you are, rather it’s just something you do.”
Shoemaker feels confident he can run with anyone at this point in the season.
“You just have to fun with running,” said Shoemaker. “I plan to take it easy this week, and hope for the best on Saturday."
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Here are some initial thoughts on the matchups to watch and how the bracket will play out.
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