Fort Osage senior Allie Barrett and William Chrisman boys and girls track coach Tyler Rathke had plenty of reasons to celebrate following the Independence City Championships Wednesday at Independence All-School Stadium.
Barrett broke the Fort Osage record in the pole vault with an 11-foot, 3-inch effort to claim that title and was part of the winning 400-meter relay team (51.91) to help the Indians and their senior standout earn their fourth city title in a row.
Fort Osage finished with 124.5 points followed by Rathke's surprising Chrisman girls with 75, Truman (65.5) and Van Horn (23).
Rathke, who celebrated his birthday at the meet, saw his boys win their second title in a row under his leadership and the girls second-place finish made for a special night for the enthusiastic young coach.
The Chrisman boys totaled 108 points followed by Truman (87), Fort Osage (61) and Van Horn (32).
"There is no place I'd rather celebrate my birthday than at the city championships," said Rathke, whose Bears were led by two-time winner James Bailey, who won the shot put (49-4) and discus (124-5).
"I'm really happy for the boys, because we finished right about where I thought we would point-wise before the start of the meet. I was thrilled with the girls performance because we have 20 to 25 girls – and we lost a couple of girls to illness and injury – and the girls who replaced them did a great job. We had kids competing in races they hadn't done before and they did a nice job. We had great weather, Van Horn did a great job running the meet and I got a couple of nice presents from the boys and girls with the way they competed."
Bailey, the defending state champion in the discus, was a two-time winner, but he is still searching for the form that helped his bring home the gold at last year's state meet.
"I throw 160 on a regular basis in practice and get to a meet and don't come near that," Bailey said, shaking his head. "I helped the team win the championship and I am proud of that because Coach Rathke works so hard, we want to reward him with success, especially on his birthday. But I have to get over the frustration and disappointment of this season. I'm thinking about it, and I have to go out and perform like I know I can."
Rathke has faith in his defending state champion.
"I know he can do it, he knows he can do it. Now he just has to go out and do it," Rathke said of the senior, who has signed to play football at Western Illinois University. "It's all mental, because he has the talent to throw much farther than he's throwing right now. He's competing in the KU Relays this weekend and we're hoping for good throws in both events."
Barrett is also competing at the KU Relays, so she stopped competing in the pole vault after her school-record 11-3 effort.
"There was a tricky wind and I ran the 100 and was in the 4-by-100 relay, so we decided to just shut it down to be completely ready for KU," said Barrett, who teamed with Dymon Preyor, Ardaysia Fenner and Emari Grimes to win the 400 relay. "This is my senior year, and we've won every Independence City Championship since I've been at Fort Osage, so winning it my senior year was important to me and the team. We're all so close, and to win your city championship is pretty special."
Hailey Alvis and Grimes were triple winners for the Indians. Alvis won the 800 (2:37.08), 1,600 (5:45.55) and the 3,200 (13:26.89), while Grimes crossed the finish line first in 100 (13.14), 200 (26.95) and 400 (1:04.97).
"Depth, a lot of depth, is a big reason we've had so much success in this meet," longtime Indians coach J.D. Snead said. "Allie really wanted to break her school record of 11-1, which she set earlier this year, and she was able to go out and do it, and Emari and Hailey were great in the sprint and distance events.
"We came over here knowing that all the Independence teams had really improved, so we knew we had to be at our best to get the win."
Snead then commented on a new energy he sensed at the meet.
"This meet is so special," he said, "and tonight, well, there was just something special about the atmosphere. In the 1,600 relay, seeing the kids run from one side of the track to the other to support their teammates is really special. We have energetic new coaches whose enthusiasm rubs off on their kids. We all had a great time tonight, this one was really special.”
Other area winners were:
Chrisman boys: Kishon Ho Chee, 110 hurdles, 17.56; Chris Bunce, 3,200, 11:26.84; Caleb Michell, 1,600, 4:50.30; Braxton Ward, triple jump, 40-7; 3,200 relay (Aaron Nyaway, Ward, Tanner Jolley, Coltin Bass), 9:07.96.
Fort Osage boys: Trevor Skaggs, long jump, 22-5; Jacob Frazier, pole vault, 12-3; 1,600 relay (Dominic Myers, Benjamin Preston, Gavyn Monday, Ky’Von Smith), 3:39,16.
Truman boys: Nik Tanner, 100, 11:40, and 200, 22.72; Piper Zion, 400, 53.93, and high jump, 6-5; 400 relay, 44.38; 800 relay (Tanner, Piper, Seth Loveland, Zac Graham), 1;33.91.
Van Horn boys: Sam Baker, 800, 2:11.74; Izaiah Cosey, 300 hurdles, 43.77.
Chrisman girls: Camryn Holloman, long jump, 15-4.75 and triple jump, 35-0; Seila Tali, javelin, 111-4; 1,600 relay (Paris Anderson, Reana LaGrone, Meraid Jorgensen, Adreal Bell), 4:28.00.
Fort Osage girls: Jenniece Boone, 100 hurdles, 18.84; Dymon Preyor, 300 hurdles, 50.66; Miche'la Lemons, shot put, 38-5; 800 relay (Brianna Marriott, Mariah Griffey, Camryn Miller, Jada Allen), 1:56.31; 3,200 relay (Makayla Daugherty, Maya Baughn, Bailee Smothers, Aleesia Hill), 11:53.40.
Truman girls: No first-place finishers.
Van Horn girls: Dasiah Tatum, discus, 113-7.