By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Webb City’s Ryan Riddle and Carthage’s Arkell Smith each claimed two individual gold medals with season-best performances at the Hillcrest Invitational.
Riddle battles through windy conditions for distance double
Running alone with a big lead can be a detriment to some runners; however, Webb City’s Ryan Riddle has gotten used to it during his four-year track and cross country career.
Known for jumping out to quick starts, the Tulsa signee raced out to an early lead in the initial lap of the 1600. Riddle then spent the next three laps running solo en route to an impressive 4:13.42 finish ahead of Rockhurst’s Wesley Porter (4:31.04) and Kickapoo’s Brenden Crews (4:31:32).
While the 3200 presented its own set of challenges with a rising winds and a talented field, Riddle simply continued doing Riddle-like things.
Namely, set a crushing pace early and dare anyone to match it.
Riddle finished the windy race alone in 9:17.16, some 15 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Ben Stasney of West Plains (9:33.97).
“It was super windy today,” Riddle said. “Especially in the two mile after running the mile. Right from the start, my goal was to take it out fast — 63 to 65. I think I went through a little too fast, especially with the wind, but I just wanted to keep pushing the pace each lap just to see what I could do.”
The defending state champion in the 3200, Riddle holds a 9:06 personal best in the event and has his sights set on a sub 9:00 mark before closing out his high school season.
“If I can get into a decent race with not enough wind,” Riddle said. “And then, if there’s competition, that would be nice, but I might just have to do it myself.”
Technique change pays off for Smith in triple jump
The triple jump competition wasn’t starting off the way Carthage’s Arkell Smith had expected.
The senior jumper wasn’t happy after his first attempt down the runway, so he decided to make an adjustment.
“I’ve been in kind of a slump since last year,” Smith said. “I’m trying to get up to 47 this year, but I just couldn’t figure it out until today. The first jump I went left-left-right, and that’s what I’ve been doing since sophomore year. Today, I decided to switch it up and go right-right-left and, on the year, I PR’d with that, so I think that’s what I’m going to stick with until state.”
While mid-competition adjustments don’t always bode well for athletes — particularly in events requiring such technical precision as the triple jump — the sequence alteration happened to work out in Smith’s favor.
“I asked my coach if I could change up my feet and go right-right-left,” Smith said. “I told him I’d be able to jump far with it, so he just trusted me and let me do it.”
Despite not working out the technique in practice, Smith’s next jump went for 45-05.25 and locked down a first-place finish in the event. Hillcrest’s Savion Hill finished second with a jump of 45-02.
Smith also placed first in the high jump with a mark of 6-07. Teammate Dylan Pruiett was second with a 6-06, and Rogersville’s Adam Waters hit 6-04 to take third.
Other notable finishes
100 Meter Dash
Destin Owen, Republic – 1st (11.28)
Weston Wendt, Carl Junction – 2nd (11.30)
Lucas Berliew, Carl Junction – 3rd (11.36)
200 Meter Dash
Weston Wendt, Carl Junction – 1st (23.32)
Weston Lawson, Rogersville – 2nd (23.45)
Kaiden Tripp, Waynesville – 3rd (23.50)
Briar Short, Webb City – 1st (152-09)
Cole Hargis, Webb City – 3rd (148-10)
John Berry, Lebanon – 2nd (52-08)
110 High Hurdles
Dillon Lancaster – 3rd (15.85)
800 Meter Run
Black Procell, Nixa – 2nd (2:03.84)
400 Meter Dash
Lance Ward, Carl Junction – 2nd (49.68)
300 Meter Hurdles
Blade Hancock, Bolivar – 2nd (40.92)
Sam Repsher, Carl Junction – 2nd (14-0)
Landon Adams, Rolla (13-06)
Savion Hill, Hillcrest – 2nd (21-08)
Tracy Gates, Waynesville – 3rd (20-08)
Jacob Sanders, Ozark – 2nd (145-10)
Camden Warlick, Kickapoo – 3rd (139-06)