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Examiner
  • Wildcat teams, Jaguar sophomore star in conference meet

  • On a night that was made for a track and field event, the Blue Springs High School boys and girls squads proved they were up to the challenge of winning a second consecutive Suburban Big Six Conference championship.

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  • On a night that was made for a track and field event, the Blue Springs High School boys and girls squads proved they were up to the challenge of winning a second consecutive Suburban Big Six Conference championship.
    Coach Joe Cusack's boys totaled 179.5 points to outdistance Liberty (110), Lee's Summit North (84.5), Blue Springs South (64), Lee's Summit (58) and Raymore-Peculiar (58) at Lee’s Summit High School.
    Coach Jennifer Reeder's girls, who picked an opportune time to win their first meet of the season, totaled 160 points. They were followed by Lee's Summit North (134), Raymore-Peculiar (85), Blue Springs South (73), Liberty (68) and Lee's Summit (34).
    For the first time in meet history, the conference event was moved from its normal Friday night slot on the schedule to Tuesday night because of the inclement weather that is being called for the remainder of the week.
    “A great move and a great event,” Cusack said. “I want to congratulate Lee's Summit High School, its coaches and administrators for making this a great event for the kids. They deserve to compete on a night like tonight – everything was perfect.”
    While the Wildcats attract the team spotlight, a couple of sophomores stood center stage as Blue Springs' Stephen Mugeche (first in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, fourth in the 800 and fourth in the 3,200 relay) won the boys Golden Spike Award (25 points), which is given to the competitor who scores the most point for his or her team.
    Blue Springs South sophomore distance runner Grace Klausen stunned the crowd with three firsts (800, 1,600 and 3,200) to win the girls award with a perfect score of 30.
    As Klausen came off the track after winning the 1,600, South coach Ryan Unruh jokingly asked her, “Who owns this track?”
    Sporting an ear-to-ear grin she said, “I do!”
    Unruh explained that Klausen, who played soccer as a freshman and did not run track, needed some added confidence going into the biggest meet of her young career.
    “I told her she was going to own the track tonight,” Unruh said, “not at all taking anything away from any of the other runners. Sam (Nightingale) a former Examiner Cross Country and Track and Field Runner of the Year) never won all three events in one meet. I'm awfully proud of Grace.”
    The sophomore didn't seem to know how to react to her big night.
    “I really don't know what to say,” Klausen said. “Coach told me to run smart, and I guess I did.”
    Mugeche led Wildcat clean sweeps in the 1,600 and 3,200 joining teammates Simon Belete and James Barnett as big point producers for Blue Springs.
    “To win a conference championship as a sophomore was amazing,” Mugeche said, “but to win back-to-back titles is even more special.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Blue Springs also owned the throwing events as Tyra Bickham and Carlos Davis each won the shot put and discus. It was the second consecutive Rusty Hodge Award for Bickham and the first for Davis, a sophomore who beat his twin brother Khalil, to win the honor named after the late Blue Springs South track coach.
    “I really wanted to win it after winning it last year,” Bickham said.
    Added Davis: “My brother's not too happy with me, but that's OK. We kept this great award in our family.”
    Blue Springs pole vaulter Danny Thompson, who vaulted a career-best 14 feet, 6 inches last week, over-jumped the pit, and hit his head on the football turf and was taken away from the meet in an ambulance. Cusack said he was talking and was moving his arms and legs at the hospital.
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     

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