Moments after the Blue Springs High School boys track and field team claimed an impressive 196-95 Suburban Big Six Conference Championships win over runner-up Blue Springs South Friday night at the Lee’s Summit North High School, Wildcat senior sprinter Antwon President approached coach Joe Cusack.
“Come here coach, I want to give you a big hug,” President said, sporting a sinister grin the veteran coach couldn’t see.
While President and Cusack embraced, members of the Wildcats track team snuck behind the well-respected coach and gave him a Gatorade bath.
While he feigned mock anger, it was apparent that Cusack loved every minute of it – from his team’s sweep in the discus to a memorable four-win performance by the incomparable Stephen Mugeche to the icy surprise ending to the meet.
“This was a special night,” Cusack said, as he gathered his team for a group photo. “We had a freshman in that 4x800 relay (Colton Gurera, Jayme Allen, freshman David Gunn and Mugeche) that opened with a win, a lot of other underclassmen who really made a showing, and what can you say about the Davis twins and Stephen?
“There is as much talent in the Big Six this year as there has been any year I’ve been at Blue Springs, and our guys rose to the occasion.”
So did Lee’s Summit North coach Ed Brill’s girls, who lost the team championship to Raymore-Peculiar by less than six points, 141.33 to 135.83. Blue Springs finished third with 125 points and Blue Springs South finished fourth with 97.5 points. Brill is retiring at the end of this season.
Blue Springs’ Gabby Hall won the 100, 200 and 400 and South’s Grace Klausen won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Mugeche ran in four events and won all four – the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and he anchored the winning 3,200 relay team.
“We didn’t go after any personal records or anything like that, this was about points for the team,” Wildcats distance coach Frank Gallick said. “What Stephen did tonight was pretty remarkable.”
“Stephen is a team player,” Cusack said. “He ran two 800s, a 1,600 and a 3,200 – that’s how you win the conference championship by more than 100 points. But it wasn’t all Stephen. Tamarick Quinney wins the 100, Taysean Goodwin is second in the 400 and wins the 200, Kai Miller wins the pole vault and Justin Hall scratches on his first three attempts in the long jump and wins it on his final jump.
“And then you have what the twins and Marcus Andrews did in the discus. It’s just a great night to be a Wildcat - and I want to congratulate the South boys for a strong second-place finish and kudos to the Ray-Pec girls for winning the conference title.”
Khalil Davis uncorked a throw of 198-5, shattering the Blue Springs school record, to win the discus. It was the fourth-best high school throw in the nation this season (and second all-time on The Examiner’s area honor roll) and believed to be the best by a junior. His brother Carlos finished second and Åndrews third.
Carlos then won the shot put and Khalil finished second. At most meets, the weight performer with the most points wins the Rusty Hodge Award, but a committee gave the award to Khalil Davis for his mammoth heave.
“I was feeling it tonight,” said Khalil, who left with Carlos to attend a personal family gathering before the Hodge winner was announced. “I think the best is yet to come for both of us in the discus and the shot. And Marqus really contributed tonight, too.”
Mugeche won his second-consecutive Golden Spike Award, given to the top point producer at the meet. Ray-Pec’s Morgan Smith won it on the girls side.
“This one is shinier than the one I won last year,” joked Mugeche, as his teammates gathered around him for a quick look at the pin. “I just feel so good, so proud to be a part of a Wildcat team that won conference for the third year in a row.”
Tyler Blair played a big role in the Jaguars success as he won the 110 and 300 hurdles.
“I’m not running track in college, so this is it for me,” Blair said. “This meet means so much to me and my team. I really wanted to win both hurdle events and was able to do it.”
The South teams of Morgan Hughes, Brandon Dandridge, Myles Davis and Tyrrell Jeffries won the 400 and 800 relays.
“The kids did a great job on the relays and Tyler really competed tonight,” South coach Troy Harding said.
“I’m really not that tired,” Klausen said, after running the four longest events of the meet. “I feel like the best is yet to come for me and my teammates. This was an exciting meet.”
Hall said she came to score points for her team, adding, “I just want to do what is best for my teammates. We all did well tonight.”
South’s girls 400 relay team set a conference mark of 49.98. Members of the team are Melissa Cramer, Jahlilah Clay, Erin Griesbauer and Makayla Moore. “They did a great job,” girls coach Ryan Unruh said.
Blue Springs’ Joslyn Snead won the pole vault after no-heighting at the Gary Parker Invitational two weeks ago, and Alicia Starr, who has missed some meets to compete nationally on her club volleyball team, won the triple jump.
Lee’s Summit North’s girls won the 400 and 1,600 relays, and Imani Johnson won the Rusty Hodge Award with a first in the discus and third in the shot put.
Many of these athletes will be featured in stories next week in The Examiner.