Enter Glendale distance runners Spencer Haik and Chris Mooneyham.
Over the past three years this tandem has been one of the most dominant in the Ozarks.
And, much like Ricky Bobby, Haik, just a junior, has risen to statewide and national prominence following his state championship last year in the 1600M and a nationally ranked 4:11 1600M at this year’s Kansas Relays.
No slouch himself, Mooneyham, an all-state cross country and distance runner, will continue his athletic career next year donning the black and gold of the Missouri Tigers.
However Haik, who as a 15-year old won the National Junior Olympic Championship in the 1500M, found himself sitting in the middle of a slow moving packing in Friday’s 1600M finals, and on the outside looking in at another state championship.
Then his teammate, and best friend, Mooneyham tore a page from the “Talladega Nights” script.
Shake N’ Bake.
At the midway point when Mooneyham realized the pace wasn’t in the Glendale tandem’s favor, he took matters into his own hands.
“I saw across the 800 we were a little slow, even for all the guys, we weren’t going to get the times we wanted, so I took it, hoping to get a little closer to that time,” said Mooneyham. “It was still a little off, but, it caught them off guard and worked.”
Haik used the increased pace to draft off of Moneyham, ultimately outkicking the field down the back stretch to take his second 1600M state championship in as many years on Day One of the MSHSAA Track and Field Championships Friday in Jefferson City.
“I just wanted to make sure he got the W, that was the goal,” said Mooneyham. “I was really watching to see how he finished after I secured my place.”
For Haik, the opportunity to have Mooneyham running alongside him has been invaluable.
“It’s been awesome having Chris as a teammate,” said Haik. “He really pushes me in practice, then today he came out and really pushed that third lap to help me win. He’s been my best friend, and for three years now we’ve been working together, it is awesome to finish our time up like this.”
Although Mooneyham may not have won the 1600M, tomorrow’s 3200M will offer the senior a shot at redemption.
“I was hoping for us to go 1-2, we’ve never done that at a state competition, and that is usually the goal. I got fifth, but I still have another race left,” said Mooneyham.” I’m definitely hoping to win the 3200, I haven’t won a state championship and it is my last chance to do so. I’d also like to PR, that’s all I can really ask for.”
Williams rides big jump to gold
If you’ve been in the Ozarks over the past four years, you’ve likely heard the name Shane Williams. Mount Vernon’s three-sport standout is a throwback athlete.
Although he will take his talents to Maryville next year, playing football for Northwest Missouri State, Williams has made the lives of area football and basketball coaches alike miserable.
However, coming into this spring, Williams had one goal.
A state championship.
On Friday Williams made that goal a reality, unleashing a monstrous 22’5” jump to clinch his first state championship in the long jump.
“It feels great, I love long jump, it’s always been my favorite,” said Williams. “I’ve been working all though my track career to be able to someday come up here and get first. To see that work pay off feels great.”
Williams who had the top jump after the preliminary round, 21’6”, used that cushion as the opportunity to throw a knockout blow to the rest of the field.
“I had a jump of 21’6” that was leading at the time and my coach told me that he thought it may hold up and to just go for it, try to get your best jump possible,” said Williams. “I knew where my marks were and I knew how close I could get. I was fortunate, I had a few fouls, but I got one that was just right on the mark.”
Williams, who tied for fifth in the high jump (6’2”), had only one successful jump in the final round.
On Saturday Williams will have a shot at bringing home a second gold medal in the triple jump.
“I think it takes a little bit of pressure off of me, “said Williams. “My goal all year has been to win a state championship, now the pressure is kind of off and I can just relax and try to get more.”
Central’s Neal takes fourth in triple jump
Just 10 weeks ago Tavion Neal had never triple jumped in his life.
On Friday Neal used a 45’9” to catapult himself into the finals where he ultimately took fourth, on the strength of that jump.
“It is pretty great,” said Neal. “I want to jump farther, but you do the best you can do. I am happy with what I was able to accomplish.”
Despite the great finish to his season, Neal admits that the sporadic weather of the spring made building momentum difficult.
“It was tough to be consistent throughout the spring because of the weather, but you do the best you can and keep going,” said Neal.
Dapprich, Herd place top 6
Branson’s Moriah Dapprich and Hollister’s Cat Herd found their way to the medal stand on Friday, taking third and sixth in the discus and shot respectively.
Dapprich, who will play basketball at Wichita State next year, had a throw of 129’8” to land her in the top three of Class 4. Dapprich also qualified for tomorrow’s shot put finals.
Herd, who will participate in the discus tomorrow, beat out four athletes seeded higher than her following sectionals with her 38’9.5” throw.
Other results from Friday…
Springfield Catholic’s Evan Craig took third in the 1600M with a 4:25.33… Erin Roebuck ran a 58.20 to qualify for the 400M dash finals, and a 25.91 to qualify for the 200M dash.
Osage’s Robbie Mueller qualified for the finals in the 100M dash (11.4), 400M dash (50.03)
Bolivar’s boys 4x100M relay and 4x200M relay team (Starkey, Wolf, Peavey, Crites) qualified for Saturday’s finals… Haryl Starkey also qualified in the 400M dash (49.96)… Bolivar senior Faith Harris finished eighth in the triple jump (35’2.5”)… Daiwa Emmert will be in Saturday’s long jump.
Ava’s Kyle Clingkingbear qualified for Saturday’s 400M dash finals (50.33).
Cassville’s Cody Frana had the top qualifying time in the 300M hurdles (39.76).
Marshfield’s Cole Burchfield had the top qualifying in the 800M run 1:56.22.
Hannah Smith, Hollister, ran a 12.95 to qualify for the 100M dash finals.
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