Asia Cole refused to put any additional pressure on her shoulders as the Fort Osage sophomore headed to the Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships this weekend in Jefferson City.

Asia Cole refused to put any additional pressure on her shoulders as the Fort Osage sophomore headed to the Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships this weekend in Jefferson City.

She had won the shot put and discus at the conference, district and sectional meets, and she got off to a golden start at state Friday afternoon as she blew away the field in winning the shot put with a personal-best and school-record throw of 46 feet, 1 inch. That mark was also the third-best toss toss ever for an area girls athlete at state.

“She threw 43-1 on her first throw – which would have won state – and that took a lot of pressure off,” Fort Osage coach J.D. Snead said Friday afternoon in a phone conversation from Jefferson City.

“In fact, four of her six throws broke our school record. She had a great day.”

The winning throw is the fifth-best effort in state history.

“She is pretty amazing,” Snead said. “She is so low key. We didn’t want to put any added pressure on her. We didn’t talk about winning state or anything like that. All she wanted to do was do her best, and she certainly did that.”

Cole was thrilled with her first state gold medal, and now hopes to claim No. 2 Saturday afternoon in the discus.

“The 43-1 throw took a lot of pressure off,” Cole said. “It was exciting. The weather was all right – there were three or four drops of rain, and it was pretty hot, but it didn’t bother me at all. It was a good day to throw and I wanted to make the most of it.”

When asked if she had more confidence in either event, Cole chuckled and said, “Well, the discus. But with what happened in the shot put, I feel pretty confident in that event. The past couple of meets, I have had a lot of confidence in the discus, but I felt good throwing the shot today.

“It’s just so exciting to have the success I had today. And now, I know that I can have even more success tomorrow. And I’ve got two more years to get better and improve in both events.”
That excites her coach.

“She’s won the shot, she can win the discus and she can get better,” Snead said. “And with her work ethic and approach to the sport, you know she is going to get better in each event. The sky’s the limit.”

n Blue Springs South senior Samantha Nightingale, the premier distance runner in the Midwest, won her first state track and field gold medal Friday in the 1,600 meters. She finished sixth in the event last year.

“I think she’s been the fastest 1,600 runner in the state the past month,” South coach Ryan Unruh said. “I was a little bit frustrated with Sam because I didn’t know if she thought she could win it – and I knew she could win it – if we just followed a plan.”

Nightingale kept with the pack for most of the race, then used her strong kick to take over the final 150 yards and finish in 4 minutes, 56.06 seconds.

“It was so exciting to win my first track gold medal,” said Nightingale, who won gold at the state cross country championships the past two seasons. “Everyone at state is so fast, and I wanted to come down here and prove that I was as fast as they were.

“I’ve worked my butt off for four years, and now, it’s all worthwhile.”

She is a heavy favorite to win the 3,200, which takes place Saturday afternoon.

“I have a lot of confidence going into the 3,200 after winning the 1,600,” said Nightingale, who was fourth in the event as a junior. “I want to come home with two gold medals. That was my goal and I’m going to do everything I can to achieve it.”

n The Blue Springs boys will enter the second day in first place in the team standings. With 20 points the Wildcats sit ahead of West Plains (17), Rockhurst (16) and Columbia Rock Bridge (13).

Deiondre Hall just missed a state title in the high jump but took home a second-place finish with a jump of 6-9 to finish behind Liberty’s Jared Benson (6-1).

“We wanted to be at 20, and that’s where we are,” Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack said late Friday night. “We’re proud of all our guys – the guys who got us points today and everyone who advanced from the preliminaries to tomorrow’s finals.”

Blue Springs South’s Syrell Fuel (6-4) finished seventh in the event. William Chrisman senior Jordan Warner, who finished first last year, came in ninth with a jump of 6-2.

Hall also came in fourth in the long jump with a leap of 22-1 1/4. Simon Belete posted a fourth-place finish for the Cats in the 3,200 by finishing in 9:17.43 and Steve Mugeche was seventh.

n Fort Osage and Blue Springs South sit tied for third in the team standings on the girls side with 10 points each. Jefferson City leads with 19 points while Blue Springs (9) sits in sixth.