Throughout a memorable track season in which his Blue Springs Wildcats were undefeated, veteran coach Joe Cusack warned of the talent at Lee’s Summit North High School.
That talent came to the forefront Saturday at the Class 5 Sectional 4 track and field meet at William Chrisman High School where the Broncos’ sprinters and jumping sensation Devon Richardson led North to a 139-133 victory over the Wildcats.
The top four competitors in each event advance to the state meet Friday and Saturday in Jefferson City.
“I’ve said all season they have as much talent as any team in the state,” said Cusack, whose team had not lost to a Missouri team for six years – ironically, to the same Broncos team on the same date, on May 19, 2012.
“They have great coaches and great talent. They have had the most consistent program over the past 11 years I have been at Blue Springs. We know we have our work cut out for us if we want to repeat as the state champions next week at Jefferson City.”
The Wildcats won state last year, and have won three of the past four state titles, while coach Eric Davis’ Broncos placed third.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Davis said, “we competed well at sectionals, and I was a bit surprised because we’ve been banged up lately. The sprinters could have done what they did, which was just outstanding, or they could have collapsed.
“What Keyon (Mozee) did, winning the 100 (10.80 seconds) and getting third in the 200 (22.35) was pretty special because he’s been battling some injuries. Nyles Thomas has a mild hamstring injury and he ran well (second in the 100, 10.93).
“Devon winning the high jump (6 feet, 8 inches) and triple jump (46-7) were big and Marvin (Hopkins) came up big, winning the long jump (22-10). As banged up as we’ve been, it will be interesting to see how we respond next week at state.”
Mozee said he believes his team will rise to the occasion.
“We had some injuries, but we were willing to put it on the line for our team at sectionals,” Mozee said. “I am so proud of what we accomplished and we hope to go on to state and have the same type of success.”
Other North winners were the 400 (42.62) and 800 (1:28.62) relay teams. Blake Gillihan advanced in two events, taking second in both the 800 (1:57.25) and 1,600 (4:24.64).
The Broncos also finished 2-3 in the 400 with Isaiah Vigliano (49.56) and Matthew Hughey (49.87). Hunter Ross took third in the pole vault (13-0) and Christian Carter was fourth in the long jump (22-5.25) to qualify.
• Blue Springs senior thrower Daniel Parker, who did not advance to state last year, was first in the discus with a career-best toss of 183 feet, 2 inches, and third in the shot put (52-3.5).
“I was real happy with the way I threw today,” Parker said. “It’s all about getting points for our team. I want to get to state this year and help us win back-to-back state championships.”
After a disappointing third-place finish in the 110 hurdles, Blue Springs senior Xavier Hall (15.24) roared back to win the 300 hurdles (40.84).
“I was a man on a mission in the 300s,” Hall said. “I got off to a bad start in the 110s and it cost me. That’s not going to happen next week at state.”
Sam Knowlton finished second in the pole vault (13 feet) to Rockhurst’s William Hull (13-6), the son of Blue Springs assistant activities director Alan Hull.
“I’m proud of him,” Alan Hull said, “he picked a great time to have one of his best meets.”
Tre’ Wheaton earned a pair of state berths for the Wildcats with a second-place finish in the triple jump (46-6.5) and a third in the long jump (22-6.5).
Morgan Cauveren was second in the 3,200 (9:47.14) and Oaklee Hauschild was third in the 1,600 (4:24.89). Colby Velaer took second in the 300 hurdles (41.34) to advance. Gabe McClain was third in the 800 (1:57.45) and Nick Wood was fourth in the 100 (10.97).
Blue Springs wrapped up the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay (3:20.09), second place in the 3,200 relay (8:03.32) and third in the 800 relay (1:29.29).
• William Chrisman’s Daniel Carson, who leaves two days after the state meet to begin his football career at the University of Texas, won the shot put (57-5.5) and was fourth in the discus (164-5).
“I’m real happy that I won the shot put today,” Carson said. “This is an exciting time in my life. I’m ready to see what happens down at Texas, but right now, all I am concentrating on is state.”
Chrisman’s Jordon Woods also earned a state berth, taking third in the triple jump (46-4.25).
• This was the final sectional meet for Blue Springs South boys track and field and cross country coach Troy Harding, who has announced his retirement after serving as the track and field coach for 18 years and the cross country coach the past 17.
Jaguars senior Navon Currie earned a pair of state berths, taking second in the 110 hurdles (15.17) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (41.35). Damon Frost advanced in the javelin with a fourth-place finish (149-8).
Blue Springs South finished eighth (34) and William Chrisman 12th (23) out of the 14 schools competing in the sectional meet.