As his Fort Osage High School girls track and field team had their team photo taken on the steps that made their way into the North Kansas City District Sports Complex at Staley High School, Indians coach J.D. Snead experienced a moment of deja vu.
“It’s so funny,” the veteran coach said after the Indians topped Raytown 127-115 to claim the Suburban Middle Seven Conference crown on a near perfect Thursday night, “the seniors on this team were freshmen the last time we won a conference championship.
“I look at Emari (Grimes), Ardaysia (Fenner), Alecia (Monday) and Angelina (Lyons) and they were all freshman who made a big impact on that conference championship a few years ago and now they are seniors who played a big role in tonight’s win.
“The older you get, the longer you coach, make moments like this even more special.”
After taking a few photos with his cell phone, his players urged him to be a part of the photo. He readily accepted and sported the biggest smile among the Indians championship team.
“This is special,” said Grimes, who won the 100 meters (12.35), 200 (25.55), 400 (58.58) and joined Fenner on the winning 400 (4x100) relay team (50.86). “I came to the meet to win four gold medals, but not for my or for personal glory, but to help us win the conference championship. I don’t get sentimental or anything, but I really wanted to win this championship tonight for Coach Snead and all our girls. We’ve worked hard and tonight shows how hard we have worked and what a great job our coaches have done.”
Fenner ran a strong anchor leg in the 400 relay and won the high jump at a height of 5 feet.
“It was really nice to compete in good weather for a change,” Fenner said, “but the weather has been so bad, I personally had to make some adjustments in my jumps to deal with the good weather – no wind, no rain – things like that. And it all turned out great for me and my teammates.”
• William Chrisman finished in fourth place with 70 points as Jacque David won the shot put (43 feet, 9 inches) and discus (129-2) and Reana LaGrone won the pole vault at 9-6.
“Jacque has PR’d every time she’s gone out this season and we all know that she’s going to be right at 45 feet when state rolls around,” Bears boys and girls coach Tyler Rathke said.
“To be honest with you, I was hoping to do a little bit better in both the girls and the boys (fourth place, 97 points). We had some great individual performances and we fell short in some areas.
“Tony Hilton (first in the long jump, 20-5.25 and triple jump 41-1.25), our 4-by-200 team and Wyatt Leutzinger (first in the pole vault, 12-0) really did well and I’m proud of them.
“I’m proud of how all our people did tonight, they all worked hard, but there are a lot of areas we can improve on this week as we head into district next weekend.”
Hilton, one of the top 3-point shooters in the area in basketball, was pleased with his performances in the high and triple jumps.
“Basketball is a team sport and track is a team sport too, because all your points help the team win championships, but I like it that it’s all on you. You’re the one jumping or running or throwing and Coach Rathke is great,” Hilton said. “I love being a part of the basketball and track teams at Chrisman.”
Leutzinger, just a sophomore, said the best is yet to come from him and his team.
“We can all do better,” Leutzinger said. “I started vaulting when I was a freshman and I’m so much better now then I was a year ago. I can’t wait to see what happens every time I vault.”
For David, the night was special because she enjoyed back-to-back championships in the shot and discus.
“I work hard to have success, but I am also blessed to have great coaches like Coach Rathke, who is so passionate about the sport of track. He loves coaching as much as anyone I have ever been around, and because he is passionate, it makes all of us passionate.”
• The Fort Osage boys finished in third place with106 points. North Kansas City took the title with 121 points.
Fort Osage’s Michael Reddick lost to Ruskin’s Kayden Crigger 4:42.56 to 4:43.93 in the 1,600 then roared back to edge Crigger 10:18.96 to 10:20.69 in two of the most exciting races of the night.
“After I lose the 1,600 I was really determined to come back and win the 3,200,” Reddick said. “He had that strong finish in the 1,600 and wasn’t going to let that happen again in the 3,200.
“I had a different plan in the 3,200 and like I said, used the disappointment from the loss in the 1,600 to fuel the fire in the 3,200.”