Last week’s cold front may have cooled off the area, but it could do little to slow down the MV-BT/Liberty boys track team.
The Eagles racked up 163 points as a team, topping Strafford by 53 points, to take first place in Monday’s Class 2 – District 6 meet hosted by Fair Grove.
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In total, the Eagles will be sending 24 representatives to Saturday’s sectional meet, which will also be hosted by Fair Grove.
Helping to lead Liberty into sectionals were seniors Trenton Bush and Denton Postlewait.
The lifelong friends have turned into a terror on the track for area schools.
“We’ve been friends since the day we were born, so it is kind of a friendly competition we have going,” said Postlewait. “He is a tremendous runner, one of the best I’ve ever seen, it really drives me each day to try to beat him.”
It is a mutual feeling.
“He’s amazing; he’s a really hard worker, and a great partner to workout with each day,” said Bush of Postlewait.
That friendly competition came in the form head-to-head showdown in the 400M dash that saw Postlewait (51.50) out kick Bush (51.99) down the stretch to claim the district championship.
Postlewait also took the 800M open title with a 2:01.80.
The duo would team up in the 4x800, as the Eagles time of 8:23.04 topped Mountain Grove by more than 12 seconds.
“We added Trenton in the 4x800 today and beat our previous season best by three seconds,” said Postlewait. “It’s the first time he’s ever run it, so we’re looking forward to that.”
A tired Bush is also looking forward to the challenge of running the 4x800.
“It’s something to get used, but I’ll keep working at it and get better,” said Bush.
Last year Liberty’s relay teams got off to strong preliminary starts at state, but fizzled on day two, failing to medal in any of the three events in which they qualified. This year the Eagles are hoping for a stronger finish.
“Last year we broke the school record in the prelims, but struggled a little bit on day two,” said Postlewait. “This year we are a full year stronger, and more physically and mentally prepared.”
Alexander has another strong day
Strafford senior Blake Alexander continues to dominate the area hurdling scene.
The William Jewell signee again swept the 110M hurdles (14.45) and 300M hurdles (40.99).
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“I was hoping to advance to sectionals in all my events, so being able to do that was nice,” said Alexander.
Alexander also won the triple jump (43’.05”) and despite finishing fifth in the long jump, an injury to Fair Grove junior Trevor Foster, who qualified for sectionals in three events after being a state qualifier as a sophomore, should send the Strafford start to sectionals in four events.
The level of success this season isn’t to the surprising to the senior.
“I worked really hard this summer with my AAU track team and that has really given me a push,” said Alexander.
Moving forward, the goal for Alexander is simple.
“I want to bring home a state championship in my hurdle events,” said Alexander.
Coming into Monday Strafford’s Blake Alexander (21’11”) and Fair Grove’s Trevor Foster (21’9”) had posted two of the area’s top six marks in the long jump.
However, Monday was all about Dwayne Stanley.
The Willow Springs junior, who had been limited for much of the season due to a knee injury, brought his A-game.
“He hasn’t jumped very much this season because of a knee injury,” said his coach Matt Perkins. “This is only the third time he’s jumped all year, so it’s really nice to see him hit 21 feet today.”
Stanley (21’) topped Foster (20’.05”) to claim the district crown.
“I just felt really good jumping, and I knew coming out of the prelims that I was going to have a pretty good day,” said Stanley.
Stanley will get a shot to move onto to his first ever state meet on Saturday.
“I think the thing that he also has going for him is being able to come back here for the sectional meet and being more familiar with the venue,” said Perkins.
Clements leads Strafford girls to district crown
It was just another day at the office for Jenna Clements.
Clements, a junior, picked up four individual district championships, leading Strafford to 139 points and a district title over host Fair Grove.
Clements won the 100M hurdles (15.63), the triple jump (34’5”) and the long jump (16’3.50”).
Clements was also a member of the 4x400 relay team that posted a 4:23.64 to top Fair Grove’s 4:29.20.
The 100M hurdles were one of the day’s best races, with Clements topping Mountain Grove junior Shelby Clifton’s 15.69.
“It feels good to be able to defend my title from last year against Shelby, she’s a great runner,” said Clements.
Saturday’s sectional should equal the excitement of Monday’s 100M hurdles with the addition of defending state champion Emilyn Dearman of Stockton, as well and Spokane’s Kailey Chapman.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Clements. “It’ll be a tight race, and I really think it will prepare us for state, whoever qualifies.”
For Clements, the leadership of Blake Alexander has been invaluable.
“Blake pushes me quite a bit in practice,” said Clements. “It definitely helps having someone with so much experience around.”
Pilkinton stars at home
Monday’s district meet could have been DeAmbra Pilkinton’s last in a Fair Grove uniform.
However, she’s really fast.
The senior qualified for sectionals, also at Fair Grove, in four events, guaranteeing she will have at least one more meet in the purple and white.
“It’s great knowing that I have at least one more race at home,” said Pilkinton. “Usually, depending on the weather, I run a little better at home.”
Pilkinton won the 100M dash (13.09), 200M dash (27.81) and was also on the first place 4x200M relay team that took first with a 1:52.11.
The anchor on the 4x200M relay team, Pilkinton took a slight lead and stretched it into a winning margin of more than four seconds.
“We’ve been trying to get the school record all season, so every time I get the baton I’m thinking about that. Plus, I really wanted to make it out of districts,” said Pilkinton.
Clifton bounces back
Shelby Clifton wasn’t going to be shutout of a district title on Monday.
After finishing second to Jenna Clements in the 100M hurdles and the triple jump, the Mountain Grove junior had a choice of getting motivated, or getting frustrated.
She chose the former.
“I needed that boost to get me going,” said Clifton. “Coming so close in the 100 hurdles really got me fired up for the 300.”
In another title hurdle race, Clifton (47.18) topped another Strafford hurdler Logan Eden (47.27) to claim the district title.
“It’s great to be able to advance to sectionals in three events and get to represent Mountain Grove,” said Clifton.
Saturday’s sectional at Fair Grove will begin at 11 a.m.
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