The chilly air and chillier breezes at Blue Springs South’s Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium didn’t deter several area track and field athletes and teams from strong performances at Friday’s Rusty Hodge Invitational.
The Blue Springs boys won the 15-team meet with 119 points, boosted by a pair of 1-2 finishes among double-placements in all five field events. Blue Springs South nipped Lee’s Summit North 73.5-73 for second place, with Fort Osage taking 11th (26) and Truman 13th (10).
Jefferson City’s girls won with 109 points, followed by Lee’s Summit North (97.5), Blue Springs (86), Blue Springs South (68) and Fort Osage in the top five (63). Truman finished 13th (17).
The Wildcat boys got a 1-2 finish from twins Khalil and Carlos Davis in the discus, Khalil heaving 166 feet, 8 inches and Carlos 143 feet. Carlos then won the shot put at 51-9, with Khalil taking eighth (45-3).
The other perfect finish came in the triple jump, where Jacob Peister won with a 46-8 after watching teammate Eli Leavell post a 45-7 for runner-up. Earlier, Leavell topped a Peister by a half-inch to lead a 5-6 finish in the long jump (20-5 1/2).
“The cold was starting to affect me,” Peister said, “but as soon as I got on the runway my teammate gets a PR with a 45, so that pumped me up, and normally when I start to jump I get excited. It was a PR for me, as well.”
“I thought it would be another one of those dreary days you’ve got to grind through, but everybody stepped up big-time,” added Leavell, who capped his night by running a leg on the second place 4x400-meter relay. “This is a fun meet, a great atmosphere every year.”
Stephen Mugeche won the 1,600 in 4:18.08 and claimed second in the 800 (1:59.37), and other seconds came from Cobi Bissell in the 100 and the 4x100 (43.73) and 4x400 (3:29.2) relays.
“The team keeps on. They look forward to Fridays getting here and competing,” said Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack, whose team has been Class 4 state runner-up the past two seasons. “It’s one of the most enjoyable groups I’ve ever been around.
“I’m not so much worried about times on a night like this, but I couldn’t ask for more with the way they’re competing in every aspect.”
South’s Tyler Blair won the 300 hurdles in 40.19 after taking second in the 110 hurdles (14.85). Josh Watson took third in the discus (140-7) and shot (46-9).
Fort Osage’s Elijah McGill won the long jump with a distance of 23-3 and took a narrow third in the 100 (11.31) behind Bissell (11.3) and Park Hill’s Charles Leapheart (11.28).
“I hadn’t hit 23s in practice, so to come out right away and hit 23s is great,” he said, adding that he tries to simply block out the cold conditions. “I broke the school record (23-7, last year) when it was snowing, and it was way colder than this.”
Lee’s Summit North’s quartet of Eric Hughey, Charlie Spry, Derek Moores, Kyle Dean won the 4x800 in 8:30, while Hawkins won the 400 in 51 seconds and the quartet of Matt Scaletty, Laurel Heath, Hughey and Hawkins claimed the 4x400 in 3:26.98.
Truman’s best finish was Ben Sander’s fourth in the 200 (23.26).
Lee’s Summit North’s girls got wins from Jenny Krause in the 400 (1:01.81), Brielle Magee in the long jump (17-9) and three runner-up finishes.
Blue Springs’ girls bookended the meet with relay wins. The 4x800 team of Lydia Alipio, Maria Wendell, Elyse Valdivia and Corinne Rinne won in 10:05, and anchor leg Gabi Hall rallied from third place to give the 4x400 the victory in 4:09.4. Aliyah Lee, Alipio and Valdivia preceded Hall.
Lee also won the 200 in 26.31, Hall was second in the 100 (12.76) and the 4x200 (1:45.95) and the 4x100 (50.42) teams were second to Grandview.
“We started it and ended it with relay wins. In this weather, I couldn’t ask for a better race,” Blue Springs coach Jennifer Reeder said. “Even though the weather isn’t totally helping, they still finished with good times.”
South’s Grace Klausen cruised to victory in the 3,200 (11:35.95) after taking second in the 1,600 (5:18.31), and Wendi Siavi’i was second in the shot (38-6).
“I wasn’t sure what I could do because I was injured part of the winner,” said Klausen, who as a distance runner doesn’t mind the chilly air.
“I like this weather,” she added.
Fort Osage senior thrower Asia Cole won the shot put (43-3) and discus (123-4), though it’s been a rough start to the season after bouncing back from a basketball knee injury, having her tonsils removed and nursing a sore hamstring.
The Nebraska-bound Cole said she strained the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her knee during basketball, though it could’ve been worse.
“Thank goodness I was blessed with strong legs from my dad,” she said.
Cole’s teammate Raven Bunn cleared 5 feet to win the high jump, besting Blue Springs’ based on fewer misses.
Truman got runner-up finishes from Lexi Hart in the triple jump (36-3) and Allie Webb in the discus (120-10 1/2).