“It was intense. He would jump farther and then I would jump farther,” Green said. “It was a good long jump battle. You hardly ever get that in high school.”
McKee took the title with his final leap of the competition where he jumped 21’00.5”, just one inch farther than Green.
The Parkview standout then stepped on the track for the 100-meter dash final where his teammate Hargrove was the favorite to win. Green pulled the upset running in a time of 11.44 seconds into the win. Hargrove finished at 11.45.
“That is the first time I have beat Chris outside of practice. In practice it is always a competition between him and I,” Green said.
His final two events were two of his favorites in the 400 and 800-meter relays. Green runs the lead-off leg for both relays and sets the tone as a result.
“It is all emotion when it comes to the relays because it is a team effort and I just want my team to carry the momentum that I bring to them to start it off,” Green said.
His momentum, combined with teammates Hargrove, Maurice Downey and Brandon Huddleston, led the Vikings to finish first in the 400-meter relay and second in the 800-meter relay.
A relay proved to be the deciding factor in the team competition, but neither Hargrove nor Green had a hand in it.
Parkview was tied with West Plains and up five points on Nixa going to the final 1600-meter relay.
The Viking team of Downey, Christian Byrley, Jordan Walton and Danny Johnson finished fourth just one spot ahead of West Plains to secure both the team title and a spot in next week’s sectional meet.
Anderson breaks through
Daniel Anderson has been struggling in the 400-meter dash, his signature event, this year. He had not broken the 50-second barrier all season and even finished second to Webb City’s Kiante Hardin at last week’s COC Large track meet.
That all changed on Saturday.
“I have been going out in my races hard to get a fast 200 (meter) split, but this time I went out with the mentality of having fun with it basically and staying relaxed,” Anderson said. “That is naturally how I run it, so why not go back to the way I naturally run it? That is what I did today and it worked out really well.”
Well seems like an understatement as he broke the tape in 49.69 and avenged his loss to Hardin from a week ago by a second-and-a-half.
“It (breaking 50 seconds) is something I have wanted to hit all year and it is great to know I hit it with ease today,” Anderson said. “I had a little bit left and I know I can go 48.”
Anderson did credit the competition Hardin provided with some of his success.
“It feels even better to know there is someone willing to step it up and give an extra challenge,” Anderson said. “It puts more pressure on me but it makes me want to run better too. I am happy that he (Hardin) is there to push me.”
Now Anderson heads to next Saturday’s sectional meet in Ozark with a target squarely on his back.
“It boosts a lot of confidence, but it also adds pressure. Now that I have run a better time, I have to beat that,” Anderson said.
Caruthers sweeps in final laps at home
Branson senior Brigette Caruthers has had a successful career at Branson. On Saturday she ran her final competitive laps on her home track.
She started out the day running the opening leg for the Branson 3200-meter relay, but the Pirates failed to make it to sectionals with a fifth place finish.
Next up was the 1600-meter run.
Through two laps there was a large pack of 10 girls who all still had a shot of winning it. This tight pack told Caruthers she needed to move sooner than later.
“I knew by the second lap with all those girls hanging on that if I didn’t move then they would be on me at the finish. I don’t have the best kick when it comes to the last 100, so I had to go then and spread it out a bit,” Caruthers said.
It would be a familiar face that really got Caruthers moving during the race.
“Sara Shaw from Ozark was my old teammate, so when she passed me with 300 to go it helped. I (thought) go with Sara, you have run with her a billion times in practice, so you can go with her now,” Caruthers said.
Caruthers went with her and kicked down the homestretch to win the 1600 in a time of 5:29.18 just ahead of West Plains’ Lauren Franz and her 5:29.70 finish. Shaw qualified for sectionals with a third-place finish. Republic’s Megan Hergesheimer rounded out the qualifiers in fourth.
Later, Caruthers won the 3200 in a time of 12:01.43 to finish out her home career.
Berg wins pole vault on tie-break
The pole vaulting community is a tight-knit one and that makes the event much more about the height of the bar than the competition among peers.
“Since junior high we have all been together,” Nixa’s Ryan Berg said. “We all help each other out. It makes it a lot more fun because you are not hoping they get out. You are cheering them on. It is a really good feeling because if you lose you really don’t care. We are just out here for our PR’s. It is nice to get first, but it is nice seeing your friends do well too.”
Three friends finished tied for first in the district pole vault competition as all cleared 14-feet. Berg won the title on a tie-break, while Webb City’s Alec Harmell and Branson’s Zach Wuest tied for second.
Berg made a solid attempt at 14’6” for his last leap, but miscalculated and just missed the height.
“I was anticipating the wind to be against me so I moved my standards closer, but God gave me a really good tailwind and I didn’t move my standards back far enough so I hit it on the way up,” Berg said.
Branson’s Matt Urban was the fourth qualifier for sectionals in pole vault.
On the girls’ side, Nixa finished 1-2-3 with Staci Wickersham, Nikki Buck and Megan Wickersham all clearing 10’6”.
Stanfield wins four gold medals
Republic freshman Brooke Stanfield was a force on Saturday as she won four individual gold medals and scored 40 of Republic’s 83 points on her own.
She won the 100, 200, 400 and the high jump.
Her efforts weren’t enough as the Ozark girls took the team title with 99.5 points.
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