Grain Valley boys track coach Marc Cleveland made an inaccurate prediction about Friday’s Missouri River Valley Conference West Division championships – and he’s probably glad.
During the meet at Oak Grove High School, Cleveland said he and Oak Grove boys and girls coach Rusty Adams “were kind of chuckling about who was close in their estimates” of who would win the team title and by how much. He was estimating Oak Grove would win by about 20 points and Adams was estimating Oak Grove would win by about five, he said.
Late in the meet, it appeared Adams might be right. After 15 events, Oak Grove led Grain Valley by one point. But when it ended, nine points separated the I-70 rivals. Grain Valley finished with 130 points, capping its championship quest by placing second in the 1,600-meter relay. Oak Grove placed second with 121 points.
“We knew it was going to be close,” said Daniel Mahurin, who ran the anchor leg on the 1,600 relay team and won the 400 in a meet-record 49.32 seconds.
The Eagles won four events en route to the title. Their other individual champions included Preston Weigel, who won the 3,200 in 10:25.2. Mahurin said Weigel’s victory late in the meet was key to securing the championship.
“That put us ahead to where we only had to place (in the relay) in order to win,” Mahurin said. “So he took a little bit of pressure off our backs.”
Oak Grove’s champions included seniors Skyler Hulse and Garrett Cross. Cross won two events, including the 800 in a record-setting 2:00.96. Pleasant Hill’s Jacob Randle set the old record, 2:01.42, in 2013.
Cross said that a key to his victory in the 800 was his victory in the 1,600.
“I figured if I already did it once, then might as well try my hardest to do it again,” he said.
Adams agreed, adding “Any time you win, your adrenaline’s a lot better than if you get second.”
There was greater separation between Grain Valley and Oak Grove in the girls meet. The Eagles finished second with 113 points. Pleasant Hill squelched Grain Valley’s bid for a girls title by winning with 139 points.
“They have some outstanding distance runners,” Grain Valley girls coach Cris Byington said. “We can’t do anything about that.”
The Grain Valley girls won three events. Chelsea Gabriel set meet records in the 100 hurdles (15.82) and 300 hurdles (47.47). The Eagles also won the 3,200 relay, as Lexi Allen, Claire Rose, Kayla Sanning and Hannah Coons won in 10:26.67.
“Overall, I’m happy with their performance,” Byington said. “We’ve had a lot of PR’s (personal records).”
The Oak Grove girls finished sixth with 42.5 points.
“Most of their races, they’ve all PR’d ..., so you can’t ask much more than PR’ing on what you’ve been doing,” Adams said. “Team results may not be what stands out for everybody, but as far as what they’re doing, they’ve done a good job.”
For more meet results, visit www.athletic.net.