J.D. Snead has seen many memorable performances over his 22-year coaching career, but never anything quite like Emari Grimes’ school-record shattering performance in the 400 meters Wednesday night in the Suburban Middle Six Track and Field Championships at William Chrisman High School.
Grimes came into the meet with a time of 1:00.77 in the 400 and cut four seconds off that time to run away from the competition, finishing in an eye-popping school-record time of 56.95 seconds.
“I was right with Emari, then it was like, ‘Boom!’ and she was gone,” said Chrisman standout Camryn Holloman, who was third in 1:01.87. “I thought I ran well until I saw what Emari ran. That was amazing, just amazing.”
Snead agreed, as he raved about the performances of his two, two-time conference winners Grimes and Dymon Preyor.
“Yesterday, our assistant coach Sean Barrett had a talk with Emari, and he asked her to go all out and try to hit 28 (seconds) in the first 200,” Snead said, “and she did that! Then, she hit 28 in the second 200 and shattered – and I mean shattered – our school record (58.8).
“You know that adrenaline rush you get when you see something really special? That was the feeling I got when I was watching Emari. That was a top 400 field and she just ran away from everyone (winning by four seconds).
“I couldn’t believe it. In 22 years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like what she did tonight. And when I was talking to her after the race, she was like, ‘That’s nice. I just want to help the team.’ I think I’m going to have Coach Barrett talk to all our runners the day before a big meet if we can get the same results we got from Emari tonight.”
Barrett grinned at that comment.
“One thing I can do is motivate, and we all know how fast Emari is, and I just wanted to challenge her and motivate her, and she accepted the challenge and just ran away from everyone,” Barrett said.
Grimes also won the 200 in 25.86. Preyor won the 300 hurdles (48.66) and the long jump (17 feet, 10 inches).
“All I want to talk about is Emari,” said a grinning Preyor, who had to call her teammate on the phone for a post-race conversation. “What she did tonight was amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
While everyone was raving about Grimes, the quiet youngster downplayed her role on the team.
“I thought a lot of girls did good tonight,” Grimes said. “Coach Barrett told me to go out and run hard the first 200 and try to get 28 and I did. But I never expected a 56 tonight, never. I was so happy, because everyone was so happy for me.”
While Grimes and Preyor were double winners for Fort Osage, pole vaulter Collin Camerlynck was the lone boys winner, topping the bar at 12 feet.
“It’s not my best by any means,” said Camerlynck, who won the Independence City Championships by clearing 12-6, “but I am so happy and proud to be a winner in the conference meet. I’ve worked hard with Coach Snead and all the hard work is paying off.”
• Host William Chrisman also had a double winner in freshman Jacque David, who set a personal best in winning the shot put with a toss of 39-10. She also won the discus (126-6).
Holloman won the triple jump (34-10), Reanna LaGrone topped the field in the pole vault (9-0) and three-sport standout Daniel Carson, who will play football at the University of Texas, won the shot put (56 feet).
“I was talking to someone and they asked if it took longer to set up a meet, than it did to compete in the meet, and it does, absolutely,” said Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke, who had all his team taking down pole vault and jumping equipment and picking up trash around the track complex.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but after my kids competed, they went and helped run the meet, so they had two roles today and that is why I am so proud of our winners and all the kids on our team.”
David set the tone with wins in the shot and discus.
“I just knew I was going to do something special today,” David said. “I woke up feeling confident. I dreamed about throwing the shot 40 feet and I missed by two inches. I’ll get there.”
LaGrone, who stands just 5-foot-3, said the wind at her back gave her a definite advantage in the pole vault.
“It just kind of carried me over the bar because I’m so small,” LaGrone said, grinning. “It is so nice to win the conference championship. I won the City Championship, too, and I really wanted to win today on my home track.”
Ditto for Holloman, who added, “I wanted to win because this is home and I know this track like the back of my hand. I got a PR in the long jump (17-10), even though I finished second. I was happy with my performance.”
Carson won the shot put and finished fourth in the discus (142-1).
“Daniel is right where we want him,” Rathke said. “He’s working hard and there are some even bigger throws ahead for him.”
• Staley won both the boys and girls team titles. The boys totaled 159 points and the girls 197. The Chrisman boys finished fourth with 73 points and the Indians finished sixth with 51.
Snead’s girls finished third with 120 points and the Bears finished fourth with 100.