Tori Findley had not competed in three events in one track meet since the 2017 state competition in Jefferson City.
So how did the Blue Springs South all-state standout respond at Thursday’s Gary Parker Invitational at Blue Springs High School’s Peve Stadium against some of the top competition from a two-state area?
Three gold medals – winning the 800 meters (2 minutes, 20.08 seconds), the 1,600 (5:02.14) and as part of the winning 4x800 relay team (9:40.31).
“Nothing she does surprises me,” South girls coach Ryan Unruh said. “We put her in the 800 to make her feel more comfortable in the 1,600. She told me before the meet that her legs felt heavy. Well, if that’s how she competes with heavy legs, I can’t wait to see what she does when she’s really feeling good.”
She was feeling good after the 1,600, as South freshman Madelyn Hill – who holds the fastest freshman times in the state in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 – stayed close to Findley for much of the race and finished second (5:12.18).
“I’m so proud of Madelyn,” Findley said. “She ran a great race and stayed right with me most of the race. I think I did all right today. The 800 is such a tough race because you sprint around the track once, then, it’s like, ‘Oh, I have to sprint around the track again.’
“That’s challenging, I was happy with my 1,600 and am looking forward to the rest of the season. This is such a great meet and it’s right here in Blue Springs and we always look forward to it.”
While Findley will be attending the University of Missouri in the fall, Hill will be trying to establish her own South distance legacy.
“I hope to carry on Tori’s legacy and establish my own,” Hill said. “I came into the 1,600 seeded seventh and finished second so I was really happy with the way I ran the race. And Tori is so amazing, such a great person. I think she was as happy for me and as she was for herself with her win.”
• Lee’s Summit West won the Gary Parker Invitational team title with 98 points. Battle was second with 75. Blue Springs was third with 69 points, Blue Springs South was sixth with 64 points, Fort Osage was eighth with 31 points, Grain was ninth with 28 points and William Chrisman was 14th with 17 points.
• Sarah Coy was Blue Springs’ lone winner as she claimed the gold in the 100 meter hurdles in 15.34 seconds.
“I didn’t expect to have this type of success this season after missing most of last season with stress fractures in both my shins,” Coy said. “My goal is to go to state this year. That’s my mission, and tonight was a good step towards that goal. I’m really excited to see what I can accomplish the rest of the season.”
• Four members of the William Chrisman track team own school records. Jordon Woods had a triple jump of 47 feet, 1 inch to win the Parker Invitational and set a school mark. Other school record holders are Daniel Carson, shot put, 57-11 at the Rusty Hodge Invitational; Camryn Holloman, 36-10 triple jump at sectionals in 2017; and Jacque David, discus, 132-1, at the Summa Relays.
“We’re doing something special at William Chrisman,” Bears track coach Tyler Rathke said. “The kids are excited about track, and when you’re excited about your sport, good things happen.”
• Plenty of good things happened for the Lee’s Summit North boys team, as they finished second to the host Wildcats, 124-83.5, for the boys team title.
The Broncos dominated the sprint events as Keyon Mozee and Thomas Nyles were 1-2 in the 100, Blake Gilliham won the 800, and Nyles, Mozee, John Eldridge and Ontario Russell won the 4x200 relay.
• Lee’s Summit West’s Makayla Kelby won the girls shot put with a heave of 47 feet, which ranks among the top three throws in the nation.