The Independence City Championships finished just before a thunderstorm hit Wednesday evening, and the team results were a familiar sight for local high school track and field fans.
For the fourth year in a row, the Fort Osage girls and the William Chrisman boys earned city bragging rights after scoring the most team points at Fort Osage High School.
Seniors Emari Grimes and Ardaysia Fenner led the Fort Osage girls to 108.5 points, followed by Truman (92), Chrisman (85.5) and Van Horn (2).
Grimes, as she often has in recent weeks, dominated her events. She took first in the 100-meter dash (12.66 seconds), 200 (26.27) and 400 (1:00.42). While running the 400, Grimes and the other competitors had to battle the conditions.
“I felt like I did pretty well. I could have done a little better in the 400, but the wind was blowing toward us,” Grimes said. “I felt like it affected the race during the final stretch of the 400.”
Like Grimes, Fenner made huge contributions to the Indians’ point total. She won the high jump (5 feet), took second in the triple jump (34 feet, 2 inches) and third in the 200 (28.07). She also was a part of the winning 4x100 team (53.06) with Jada Allen, Dawn McIntyre and Kelli Copridge.
“I was kind of nervous because of the weather, but I just came out and did what I needed to do,” Fenner said. “I was kind of nervous because (my teammates) said we needed to win, but afterward I calmed my nerves and went and had fun.”
While Fenner and Grimes were the lone girls competitors to take first in individual events for Fort Osage, head coach J.D. Snead said those who finished in fourth or fifth place made the difference in their fourth straight title.
“I think everyone knew this was going to be a close meet coming in,” Snead said. “I know Truman was gunning for us. We asked kids to do things they don’t normally do and they stepped up. You’re able to win because of things like that.
“For small meets like this, it’s the kids that finish in fourth and fifth that win it for you. Sometimes they don’t get the credit they deserve. This was a team win.”
Truman’s Kennedy Rucker shined for the Patriots as she took first in the 100 hurdles (17.11) and the 300 hurdles (49.89). She also was a part of the first-place 4x400 relay team (4:27.20) with Maci Moyer, Kailey Wink and Jackie Fitzgeralds.
“I felt pretty good. I wanted to come out and at least (get a personal record),” said Rucker, who got a PR in the 100 hurdles.
Other Truman competitors to win were Stacy Briggs in the 800 (2:36.22), 1,600 (5:53.15) and the 3,200 (12:57.57); the 4x800 relay team (11:45.42) of Katie Sutton, Wink, Kailey Moyer and Olivia Moyer; the 4x200 relay team of Lalia Tatum, Kailey Moyer, Maci Moyer and Fitzgeralds (1:577.33); and Alzbeta Simotova in the javelin (95-11).
For Chrisman, Camryn Holloman won the long jump (16-3) and the triple jump (34-11); Jacque David won the shot put (42-4) and the discus (129-11); and Rena LaGrone won the pole vault (9-6).
Chrisman didn’t have one or two competitors dominate but maintained its stranglehold on the City Championships as it earned 87 points. Truman was second (77), Fort Osage (76) was third and Van Horn was fourth (48).
“The boys were stretched out a little bit thin, but we have good balance and some other guys stepped up,” Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke said. “A lot of sprinters, especially our freshmen, picked up some points. All the relays were either first or second and that’s a big key to winning a meet like this.”
While he wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance, Nicholas Puleo won both the discus (143-1) and the shot put (44-0) to help lead his team to victory.
“I felt good about the shot put, the throwing part of it,” Puleo said. “I usually expect David (Toese) to take shot and me to take discus. He is usually ahead of me in shot.”
Tony Hilton also had a big part in Chrisman’s win as Rathke said he was the MVP of the meet for his team. He won the 300 hurdles (43.64); took second in the long jump (19-4) and triple jump (41-1); and was a part of the second-place 4x400 relay team (3:40.3) with Marcus Wigfall, Joseph Greyeyes and Garrett Downey.
“At the beginning of the season I was a little shaky getting my steps down,” Hilton said of the 300 hurdles. “I wanted to improve and I got first, so that was cool.”
Other Bears to win were the 4x100 relay team of Kelvyn Mason, Tre’Vaughn Sisco, Cameron Beardsley and Jose Ramirez (44.43); and Wyatt Leutzinger in the high jump (5-8).
Fort Osage’s Gavyn Monday had the most dominant performance for the boys as he won the 100 (11.27), 200 (23.13) and the 400 (51.12).
“I thought my races went well. I got my team points and that’s what matters,” Monday said. “My times were good for this type of day.”
Other Indians to win were Andrew Coyler in the 800 (2:12.79); Collin Camerlynck in the pole vault (12-0) and Michael Reddick in the 1,600 (4:48.89) and 3,200 (10:30.49).
For Truman, the 4x400 team of Jamel Norton, Josh Dixon, Matt Feaker and Justin Binnicker won (3:37.8); the 4x800 team of Kolby Cook, Nathan Lewis, Hunter Donelson and Binnicker; Zane Anderson won the javelin (125-0) and Christopher Rhodes won the triple jump (41-9).
For Van Horn, the 4x200 team of DeVaughn Thomas, Issac Fue-King, Arlandes Mitchell and Shaun Ross won (1:33.46); Thomas won the 110 hurdles (16.13); and Ross took the long jump (19-9).