Two seniors, who had disappointing starts at the Gary Parker Invitational Thursday night at Blue Springs High School’s Peve Stadium, rebounded with the type of performances Blue Springs boys track coach Joe Cusack not only enjoyed – but anticipated.
Xavier Hall finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles – the first time he had lost that race this season – and Josh McCullough was 13th in the 400.
Hall roared back to win the 300 hurdles and run a strong third leg in the 4x400 relay, while McCullough turned in a sensational anchor leg on the winning 4x400 team to lead the Wildcats to a 124-83.5 victory over runner-up Lee’s Summit North.
It was the ninth consecutive time Cusack’s boys won the meet that is named after the iconic coach he replaced.
“This meet is so special for so many reasons,” Cusack said. “It’s named after Gary Parker, it’s on our home track and it gives us a chance to see where we stand against some of the best teams in the state.”
When Hall and McCullough finished the 1,600 relay, Cusack hugged them both and said, “You closed the night strong! That’s what I expect from my seniors.”
Morgan Cauveren is a relative newcomer to the spotlight at Blue Springs, but he won the 3,200 in a time of 9 minutes, 37.20 seconds, a personal best by 15 seconds. Cauveren has gotten less recognition due to standout distance runners Victor Mugeche and Oaklee Hauschild, who were not competing in the 3,200.
“We wanted to give Morgan a chance tonight with Victor out with the injury and with Oaklee running the 1,600,” distance coach Frank Gallick said. “We’re so happy for him – that was a PR by 15 seconds!”
While he recovered from the race, Mugeche, Hauschild and the other Wildcat distance runners rushed over to congratulate their teammate.
“Obviously with Victor and Oaklee on the team this is a first for me, and it feels great,” Cauveren said. “I have been so nervous the past three hours and then, I won, and it’s like, this is incredible!”
Hall and McCullough shared that feeling as they finished strong.
“I did not have a good 110 (hurdles) race and I knew it,” Hall said. “It’s like I (said) earlier this week, there is disappointment with the happiness. I was disappointed I didn’t win the 110s, but I was very happy to come back and win the 300s and then help the team win the 4-by-4. It was the perfect way to end the night.”
Added McCullough: “I don’t even want to think about the individual 400 – but after that race, I knew I was going to come out and run well in the 4-by-4 and I did. And we won, and that’s the most important thing.”
Blue Springs’ Zach Ellis won the javelin.
• Grain Valley high jump standout Ethan Macoubrie, who has the best Class 4 high jump in the state (6 feet, 8 inches), won the event with a 6-6 effort going against some of the best competition from the state’s large class schools.
“It’s great to come to a big meet like this and see what I can do against the best competition in the state,” Macoubrie said.
• William Chrisman’s Jordon Woods won the triple jump with a school record leap of 47 feet, 1 inch.
“The best is yet to come for Jordon, who tore his ACL about a year and a half ago,” Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke said. “He’s a great athlete who can do so many things.”
• Lee’s Summit’s K.C. Lightfoot cleared 18 feet, 3 inches to win the pole vault. It tied the second-best jump in the nation this year.
Find the girls results in Saturday’s Examiner.