By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
East Newton’s Jake Holt had just started talking about the meet when it was announced he had been named the boys coach of the year in the Big 8 Conference, and his athletes wanted to pick him up and celebrate.
“I’m trying to do an interview, thank you,” he said.
But even after his boys team won its first Big 8 championship in at least 14 years, Holt said it was a bittersweet day Tuesday at Mt. Vernon High School – it was his last Big 8 meet as a coach, with Holt set to lead a brand new cross country program at Crowder College next season, and then Crowder’s track and field program a year after that.
The Patriots sent him out in style, scoring 120 points to fend off Marshfield by 12 with Kelton Sorrell – the Big 8 boys athlete of the year – scoring 32.5 points to aid the winning effort.
“Coming into tonight we had projected a score of 118 to 109 with what we thought we could do,” Holt said. “We thought we had a chance to win if everything went perfectly. Everybody had to step up and do their jobs and we asked a lot of a lot of kids. I know the three Sorrell boys ran all three distance events and went 1-2 in each of them. We put some younger kids in the 4×8 and said you’ve got to win. Everyone stepped up and did their job, that’s what it came down to. We’ve had some bad things happen; our high jumper actually may have broken his foot over the weekend but he still won today, it was his non plant foot. We had some adversity but they overcame it.”
East Newton sealed the win by taking first in the 4×400 relay, while Marshfield finished sixth. It was one of several individual and relay wins for the Patriots.
Michael Crowe won the high jump to score 10 points. The 4×800 relay of Mason Silva, Robert Mcfarland, Nicholas Shaeffer and Chase Sorrell won by four seconds. Gabe Bergen won the 110 hurdles. Kelton Sorrell took first and Chase Sorrell second in the 1600 to score a combined 18 points. Bergen added another win in the 300 hurdles. Kelton Sorrell and Chase Sorrell repeated as the top two finishers in the 800 for another 18 points – then took first and second again in the 3200 for 18 more. And the 4×400 of Bergen, Crowe, Mcfarland and Kelton Sorrell beat Springfield Catholic by more than a second to finish it off.
Those weren’t the only contributions; Nathan Evey scored four points in the pole vault by placing fifth. Dominic Shaw added six in the discus with a third-place finish. And Bergen was third in the 400 for six points.
“We predicted we’d score 118 points and we scored 120,” Holt said. “We did what we needed to do. In the distance events we just ran fast enough to get the 18 points while trying to conserve because we knew Kelton had to run the 4×4 at the end and we knew it might come down to that event so we wanted him to have a little bit left. The biggest surprise was Gabe Bergen, who ran the 400 for the second time all year. He’s a 300 hurdler who was third in the state last year and he stepped up knowing that if he ran the 400 there was a chance he wouldn’t even be in the top three in the hurdles because it’s such a short time frame. He came back and won the 300 hurdles after getting third in the 400.”
The second-place finish was a tough one for Marshfield, which entered with the fastest 4×200 relay but finished eighth in the event.
“We had a kid tear a hamstring so that was a 10-point loss for us throughout the day,” head coach Roy Kaderly said. “That young man is also probably in the top four or five in the 200 as well. Losing him really hurt the boys’ chances today because it had a major effect on that relay and the open 200.”
The Blue Jays won six events: Travis Greenfield was first in the pole vault, Peyton McBride was first in the long and triple jump, Cooper Kimrey won the 100 and the 200, and the 4×100 relay won with Marcus Gritts, Dayvion Harris, Kimrey and McBride running.
Marshfield girls repeat as Big 8 champs
By the time the 4×400 relay was over, the Marshfield girls looked to be in good position to win their second straight conference title. But they had to wait another 45 minutes to know for sure as the pole vault dragged on into the night with Nevada remaining within striking distance.
In the end, though, Chelsey Brown won the event and Marshfield finished with 119.5 points to best Nevada’s 102.
“This is a big accomplishment for us because we lost a lot of talent and points last year,” Kaderly said. “We were very senior heavy last year, we graduated a lot but the girls that are with the program now were there last year. We’re still young. They came out and rose to the challenge I gave them earlier today. It’s awesome.”
That challenge? Simply meeting expectations and remaining on top.
“When we got here I talked about how we got the conference title, now the hard part is keeping it so I challenged them to go out and grab a spot,” he said. “Everyone had to try to grab a spot throughout the day in their events, do their best and they did.”
Marshfield won a total of six events. In addition to Chelsey Brown’s win in the pole vault, Abigail McBride won the triple jump, Emma Dinkins won the 100 and the 200 and the Blue Jays won the 4×100 relay (Dinkins, Cassie Fishel, Ruby Joiner, McBride) and the 4×200 relay (Fishel, Joiner, Grace Kimrey, McBride).
They also scored a lot more with top-eight finishes. Bayley Simmons was fourth in the high jump for five, Kimrey was sixth in the high jump for three, Cathryn Winegard was sixth in the pole vault for two-and-a-half, McBride was third in the long jump for six, Adyson Clark was third in the shot put for six, Lauren Luebbert scored three in the javelin by placing third, the 4×800 relay scored a point by placing eighth, Fishel added six with a third-place finish in the 100, Alyxandrea Keifert was fifth in the 1600 for four, Cora Johnson was sixth in the 300 hurdles for three, Kayle Kautz was eighth in the 300 hurdles for one, Fishel was third in the 200 for six, Keifert was fourth in the 3200 for five, and the 4×400 relay was fourth for five more.
“We had throwers, we had jumpers, our sprints were big,” Kaderly said. “Our relays were huge for us. We have a freshman distance girl that went out and PR’d in the 800, 1600 and 3200 today and had big PR’s so she pushed herself and scored in all three events. Everyone kind of came together and added to it.”
“I’m proud of all the kids, boys and girls,” he said. “I think we are going into districts very strong and I’m excited to see what they can do as we move forward.”
Girls team scores
McDonald County 46
Mt. Vernon 22.50
Springfield Catholic 13
East Newton 5
Reeds Spring 4
Boys team scores
East Newton 120
McDonald County 67
Springfield Catholic 64.50
Reeds Spring 46
Mt. Vernon 24