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Examiner
  • Cats relish conference title repeats

  • Two simple words sum up the goals achieved by the Blue Springs High School girls and boys track and field teams as they successfully defended their Suburban Big Six Conference titles Tuesday night at Lee's Summit High School – mission accomplished!

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  • Two simple words sum up the goals achieved by the Blue Springs High School girls and boys track and field teams as they successfully defended their Suburban Big Six Conference titles Tuesday night at Lee's Summit High School – mission accomplished!
    “Yes sir, that sums it up,” said senior sprinter DaShaughn Terry, who won the 100 and 200 meters and was part of the winning 1,600 relay team. “We were on a mission. As a senior it was really important for us to get Coach C (Joe Cusack) another conference championship.
    “When you win it as a junior it's important to come back and win again as a senior, and we were able to do that tonight.”
    Tyra Bickham, who won the shot put and discus and claimed the Rusty Hodge Award – given to the top thrower at the conference meet in remembrance of the late Blue Springs South coach – echoed Terry's comments.
    “Winning the Rusty Hodge Award for a second consecutive year was very special because everyone in Blue Springs knows what a special man he was,” Bickham said. “But it's more important for me to help the team win the conference title for a second year in a row.
    “You could say we were on a mission. It's all we've talked about for a week. We knew how tough it was going to be, and we came through and did it.”
    It was the first meet championship for coach Jennifer's Reeder's girls this spring, and she said it couldn't have come at a better time.
    “I wish I could tell you how I feel, but I can't,” an excited Reeder said as she watched Gabby Hall grab the baton in fourth place and streak to a first-place finish in the meet-ending 1,600 relay. “I had my go-to girls tonight and they all came through.”
    Blue Springs’ Jazmin McCoy won the 100 and long jump, Bri Starr won the triple jump and Gabby Hall won the 200 and was on the winning 1,600 relay team.
    “Those girls all won, but everyone contributed to this win – Gabby, Jazmin and Reyven Lawrence all competed in four events and scored points,” Reeder said. “That's how you win a track meet, with everyone contributing.”
    One of her former “go-to” girls, Bridget Klein, is now a member of Reeder's staff and she just had to poke some fun at her coach.
    “The last time we won conference was 2007, when I was on the team,” Klein said, “and I come back and join Reeder's staff last year and we won conference two years in a row. It has to be me.”
    Cusack received the same type of contribution from his boys squad as Carlos Davis joined Bickham as a Rusty Hodge Award winner, claiming first in the shot and discus; Alex Johnson won the 400; and sophomore Stephen Mugeche led a 1-2-3 Wildcat finish in the 1,600 and 3,200 as he joined teammates Simone Belete and James Barnett as big point producers.
    Page 2 of 2 - Mugeche was also named the Golden Shoe Award winner, which goes to the top overall point producer. Blue Springs South's Grace Klausen, who won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, claimed the girls award.
    “I am so proud and honored to win the award,” said Mugeche, who had 25 points to edge Terry’s 24.5. “We are so happy to win this conference championship. We wanted to win for Coach Cusack.”
    When asked about losing the Golden Shoe Award to his teammate, Terry just smiled and said, “He earned it. He deserves it. I'm happy for Stephen.”
    When it was announced that both teams had won the title, Cusack gathered the athletes near the 50-yard line and sent them off on their victory lap.
    “This is so special, because of the rich history of this program that (former coach) Gary Parker developed over the 30 years he was head coach,” Cusack said. “Our team fed off that history today. I just wish everyone could feel like I do right now, because it's a great feeling.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
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