Grain Valley girls track and field coach Brian Winckler said sophomore JayOnna Perry has made a huge leap in her second year.
She showed why Wednesday in the Fort Osage Invitational as she won two individual events and helped the 4x200-meter relay team win, leading to the Eagles to the team title.
Grain Valley topped Fort Osage 172-147 to claim the top spot. Blue Springs South was third (970), Blue Springs fourth (90), Truman sixth (66), William Chrisman seventh (51) and Van Horn eighth (11).
“Our girls team has won the last few meets we went to,” Winckler said. “It’s been really fun to watch because we have some really good senior leadership with Gracie LaForge and Morgan Scott. Then you have some younger girls going a really good job and they have all come together.”
Perry finished the 100-meter hurdles in 16.35 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 49.52. She also teamed with Avery Huffman, Jordyn Weems and Gracie LaForge to take the 4x200 (1:52.44).
“She’s been a different girl this year as a sophomore than when she was a freshman,” Winckler said. “She’s been the ultimate team player. She puts in good work in practice. She is normally on our 4x400, but we gave another girl a chance there. JayOnna was good with that because she’s a team player.”
Perry admitted she wasn’t expecting the success she had Wednesday.
“I could’ve done better, but I am happy overall,” said Perry, who is undefeated this season in the 100 hurdles. “I didn’t think I was going to do that good. I was hoping for first but was thinking I’d finish second or third. I just had to try to block out the negativity because I can be negative sometimes.
“Winning the relay felt pretty good, but I thought I was going to die on it.”
Other Eagles to take first were the 4x100 team of Ebony Hurst, LaForge, Weems and Madelyn Morris (52.99); the 4x400 team of Avery Huffman, Scott, LaForge and Kailey Larson (4:16.04); Abby Castle in the pole vault (9 feet); Scott in the long jump (16-1); Karlie Romines in the javelin (118-8).
Fort Osage’s Emari Grimes was the other girls competitor to win in three different events despite not running her best, she said. She took first in the 100 (13.11), 200 (26.45) and 400 (1:01.22).
“I warmed up a little extra than I did last time (at the Bill Summa Relays last Friday),” Grimes said. “I felt like I did better running-wise, but the wind made my times a little slow.”
Other Indians to take first were Angelina Lyons in the 800 (2:49.12) and Ardaysia Fenner in the high jump (5-1).
Five days after breaking the school record discus at the Bill Summa Relays, Chrisman’s Jacque David put on another standout performance by winning the discus again (126-2) and the shot put (39-6). However, if you ask the sophomore, she could have done a lot better.
“I definitely could have done way better today. I have a lot to work on to get ready for Friday (the Gary Parker Invitational at Blue Springs High School),” David said. “I need to be more aggressive in the shot put and there’s some other little things I need to work on.”
Other area winners were Blue Springs’ Allie Wharton in the 1,600 (6:07.76); South’s Lauren Low in the 3,200 (13:19.75); and South’s 4x800 team of Jayme Opdahl, Paige Falls, Low and Amy Woolsey (10:42.60).