By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Dustin Miller said his Webb City boys track and field team wants to win a state title this spring and the Cardinals aren’t going to hide that goal from anyone.
The team took a step in that direction with a season-opening win at the Carthage Invitational on Thursday as Webb City outscored Joplin by six points to top a field of 12 schools.
“It’s good on paper to look good but when you see it in action, it’s finally real,” Miller said. “You just want to see that and these guys love it.”
The Webb City boys won four events and scored 27 times, tallying points in 17 of 19 events. Senior Luke Brumit won the high jump at 6–04.25, senior Pryce Mason won the pole vault at 14–07.25 and senior Caleb Cook won the 110 hurdles in 16.43 seconds. The 4×200 relay of junior Isaiah Brisco, sophomore William Wolfe, Mason and senior Mekhi Garrard won that race in 1:35.19.
The Cardinals scored three times in the pole vault, placing first, third (Grayson Smith) and fifth (Justin Allen), and three times in the 3200 where junior Roman Borboa, senior Joseph Dawson and junior Dustin Brockmiller finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
“We had some adversity coming into the meet,” Miller said. “We have a couple key pieces banged up but the guys who were here today competed really well, competed really hard. We pulled up a couple freshmen to give them some opportunities.”
“We went 1-3-5 in the vault, scored some big points there,” he said. “Went 1-3 in the high jump. That was great. Matthew McDaniel, a senior, cleared six feet for the first time; his previous PR was 5-6. Our triple jumper Mekhi Garrard taking second, he hasn’t done a whole lot of jumping in practice yet but to come out and have a big mark against two great competitors from Joplin, that’s impressive. And then our two hurdle boys in the 110’s and 300’s had a really good day. Sprint relays competed well. My goodness, we practically had a JV 4×1 but the guys competed hard and got after it. Our 4×2 is missing our two fastest legs and they won today. Just really proud of how the guys stepped up and competed well today.”
Joplin’s boys won four individual events and two relays. Junior Donovyn Fowler had a big day, winning the long jump (23–10.25) and the triple jump (45–10.50). Teammate Trayshawn Thomas, a senior, took second in the long jump and third in the triple.
Sophomore Hobbs Campbell won the 1600 in 4:30.50 and senior Nathan Glades won the 300 hurdles in 42.06 seconds. The 4×100 relay of Glades, Thomas, senior Dominick Simmons and Fowler took first in 44.57 seconds and the 4×800 relay of junior Evan Matlock, junior Zaben Barnes, senior Ryan Byers and Campbell won in 8:28.08.
Lamar picked up wins in the discus (junior Trace Willhite) and 100-meter dash (sophomore Logan Crockett).
McDonald County junior Garrett Gricks won the shot put, East Newton junior Kelton Sorrell won the 800, Bolivar junior Bo Davis won the 200, Neosho junior Kaden Cole won the 3200 and Monett captured the 4×400 relay with a late push by senior Jose Salas; sophomore Iain Hilderbrand, sophomore Konner Poynter and senior Eduardo Trujillo ran the first three legs.
Host Carthage’s best performance was the javelin throw, where senior Caleb Calvin won by nearly 14 feet.
“I’m telling you the competition level was unbelievable,” Carthage coach Andy Youngworth said. “Webb City, Joplin, Neosho, Nevada, Grove, Bolivar, Lamar. Just top to bottom. I was watching our races and thinking man, we’re getting slaughtered, but then I see our times and we’re hanging in there because these people are good. We’ve got a really young, inexperienced team.”
The Tigers scored three times in the javelin, which Calvin won. Youngworth was pleased with the 4×800’s second-place finish and said senior Malcom Robertson set a career personal best while finishing eighth in the mile. Sophomore Aiden Rogers ran in the 100, 200, 4×1 and 4×4, impressing Youngworth by handling a big workload.
“To be honest just the highlight of the meet for us was the mile relay,” he said. “We led most of the way and got beat right at the end by just a little bit but man we competed hard. Monett had a really good 800 meter guy on the tail end of theirs and beat us by just a couple tenths of a second. We always preach that even if we don’t win the meet, if we walk off the track running a really good 4×8 you feel really good about the day. That was very rewarding right there.”
Webb City girls a pleasant surprise
Webb City girls coach Jeremy Butler wasn’t necessarily expecting his team to win the meet by 11 points.
“This is a pleasant surprise, honestly, for the start of the season,” he said. “Some girls performed better than I expected. No one really had what I call a down day. That’s pretty rare at a meet because of the ebbs and flows of a meet. I’m proud of the girls.”
Junior Kaylyn Gilbert won the discus with a throw of 98–09 and finished fourth in the shot put, while teammate Emily Beres was second in the shot and fourth in the discus. Senior Haidyn Berry won the javelin throw with a distance of 127–10 – 13 feet better than teammate Dawsyn Decker, who placed second.
The Cardinals – and junior Riley Hawkins – excelled in distance events, winning the 800, 1600 and 3200. Hawkins won the 1600 in 5:28.03, took first in the 800 in 2:33.30 and was first in the 3200 in 11:49.12.
“I didn’t expect to win,” he said. “This is one we were pretty cautious with how many girls we brought, how many events we ran. Didn’t put all the pieces together quite yet. Took some young girls to the JV meet and have kind of held them back a little bit. Hopefully we’ll continue to develop. The only freshman I brought, Dawsyn Decker, performed well in the javelin.”
Second-place Nevada won three individual events and one relay. Junior Lillian Hart was the best in the high jump, clearing 4–11.75. She won the long jump with a mark of 16–04.50. Junior Claire Pritchett won the shot put with a distance of 40–06.25. Juniors Jade Feller and Bailey Ast, freshman Clara Swearingen and sophomore Madyson Majors teamed up to win the 4×400 relay in 4:31.24, more than eight seconds better than Neosho.
Carl Junction’s girls picked up four wins. Junior Alanza Montez won the 100 hurdles in 15.04 seconds and senior Shiloh Sluder won the 100-meter dash in 12.79 seconds. Montez repeated as champion in the 300 hurdles with a time of 48.10 seconds and Sluder added another in in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.98 seconds.
Bolivar’s wins came in the 4×800 (senior Emily Bandy, freshman Julia Jump, freshman Ayden Spotila, senior Cora Stimpson), the 4×200 (junior Josie Douglas, sophomore Sidney Batten, junior Avery McClure, senior Shaylee Goodman) and the pole vault, where Goodman cleared 10 feet.
Senior Jayden Browning won the triple jump for Neosho with a distance of 35–04.50 and Monett won the 4×100 relay with junior Ashtyn Blakey, freshman Jenna Herald, freshman Londi Torres-Ramos and senior Mary Jane Martinez.
Girls team standings
Webb City 117
Carl Junction 82
McDonald County 20
East Newton 12
Boys team standings
Webb City 138
East Newton 33
McDonald County 22
Carl Junction 21