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Examiner
  • Dodd’s wins help propel Blue Springs boys to second place

  • Jordan Dodd paced back and forth near the finish line.

    The Blue Springs High School junior was hoping to claim his third first-place medal and help his team secure a second-place finish with a strong showing in the final event Friday night of the Rusty Hodge Jaguar-Haldex Invitational.

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  • Jordan Dodd paced back and forth near the finish line.
    The Blue Springs High School junior was hoping to claim his third first-place medal and help his team secure a second-place finish with a strong showing in the final event Friday night of the Rusty Hodge Jaguar-Haldex Invitational.
    “I didn’t know if we had a chance to win the team title, or not,” said Dodd, who won the 200 and 400 individual races, “but I knew we were all excited about the final relay event.”
    As Dodd prepared for his anchor leg, Rockhurst’s Nathan Scheelhaase (who was the Hawklets standout quarterback and former Simone Award winner) said, “Hey, your man just went down.”
    Dodd turned, to look at the south section of the track, where Drew Matthews was crumbled in a heap on the far turn.
    Soon, Dodd, the Wildcats coaching staff and many teammates, were rushing to Matthews’ side.
    “The trainer told us Drew didn’t tear his hamstring, but she thinks it knotted up on him,” said Wildcats head coach Joe Cusack, whose team finished in second place to Lee’s Summit North.
    “We thought we might have a chance with a win in the 4x400 relay, but no matter what we would have done, North would have won the team title.
    “Congratulations to coach Kris Solsberg and his team. They bring it every year. He does such a great job, and they really performed well. In fact, for a meet this early in the season, I thought all the teams did extremely well.”
    The Broncos topped Blue Springs 107.5 to 96. Blue Springs South placed seventh with 51 points, Fort Osage was ninth with 39 points and Truman tied North Kansas City for 10th with 23 points.
    The highlight of the night for the Jaguars was the brilliant performance of the 400 relay team, which featured football standouts Chris Gilyard, Dominique Wright, his brother Winston Wright and Derrion Thomas.
    They were clocked in a time of 42.63 to break the meet record of 42.74, which was set by Lee’s Summit North.
    “I think they sky’s the limit for this relay team,” Gilyard said. “If we keep working hard in practice, working on our handoffs and keeping our minds focused, we could make it all the way to state.”
    Winston Wright agreed.
    “We’re all football players and we made a lot of progress last season in football, making it all the way to the state championship game,” Winston said. “Maybe we can make a name for ourselves in track like we did in football.”
    Dominique Wright said the team aspect of the relay event, and sharing it with his football-playing teammates and his brother, makes it special.
    “It’s like the football season never ended, because here are four football players on another team,” Dominique said. “It’s just incredible to be a part of a relay team like this. I love the team aspect of the relay events. This is my first year of running track, so I’m still getting used to all of this.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The anchor is Thomas, the son of late Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
    “It’s nice to have the four football guys on this team,” said Thomas, who has not yet decided where he will play collegiate football. “We have the chance to be pretty good. We want to win a relay championship. We came close in football, so it would be nice to end my senior year with a championship in track.”
    In the most hotly contested event of the night, Blue Springs’ Dodd edged Dominique Wright 22.51 to 22.53 in a photo-finish 200.
    “I couldn’t believe how close it was,” Dominique said. “I’m looking forward to running against Dodd again. It was a great race. He got me this time …”
    Dodd, who missed much of last season with an injury that resembled a stress fracture in his leg, was pleased with his performance, but added, “Right now, all we’re thinking about is Drew. He’s an important part of this team and we hope he gets back soon.”
    One of the busiest performers Friday night was Fort Osage’s Nathan Hancock, who set personal bests in the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches), where he placed second; the 400 (50.1), where he brought home another second-place medal; and he then anchored the second-place 800 relay team (that included Tyler Banks, Ian Mathis and E.J. Gaines.
    Hancock also competed in the pole vault, but did not finish the event because of a mild leg strain.
    “He is just an outstanding competitor and a great young man,” Fort Osage coach Erik Holmes said. “He’s going to score a lot of points for us this year.”
    Hancock was pumped by his overall performance.
    “It’s great to have nice weather and a great atmosphere like this,” Hancock said. “It feels so good to be at a big meet and to compete against some of the best schools in the area.”
    Wildcats Gus Toca and Jordan Chrisman dominated the weight events, with Toca setting a meet record in the discus (176-11.5) and Chrisman missing a meet record by a quarter of an inch in winning the shot put (54-11.75).

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