The Tessa Valdivia long-distance show enjoyed more postseason success Saturday at Peve Stadium.
The Blue Springs senior won the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 16.59 seconds) and 3,200 (11:32.62) at the Class 5 District 6 Track and Field Championships.
She also placed fourth in the 800 (2:23.54), completing the trifecta in distance events as the top four finishers in each event advance to next week’s sectional meet at Sedalia Smith-Cotton High School.
Columbia Rock Bridge won the girls district team title with 123 points followed by Lee’s Summit North (117.5). Blue Springs (102) finished fifth and Blue Springs South (55) was sixth.
Columbia Hickman edged defending state champion Lee’s Summit North 132-128 to claim the boys crown. Host Blue Springs (77.5) took sixth and Blue Springs South (47) was seventh.
“Tessa felt strong and we felt comfortable running her in all three – the 800 1,600 and 3,200,” Blue Springs distance coach Matt Johnson said. “She was so smooth, so relaxed, so confident.
“She knew what she had to do today and went out and got the job done.”
Head coach Jennifer Reeder said an added benefit of Valdivia’s season and her success Saturday was the simple fact that she is having so much fun.
“You just look at her, she’s smiling and having fun and having a lot of success,” Reeder said. “She works so hard – and has always worked hard – but she just seems to be enjoying herself and her teammates more this season.”
As Reeder spoke about Valdivia, the distance standout was talking with her teammates and acting like a teenager.
“We didn’t see that last year, and I love it that she feels so comfortable around her teammates,” Reeder added. “She is a leader, and she has found out that you can have fun with your teammates and still be a leader.”
Valdivia was all smiles after the meet.
“I’m very happy, I just had to punch my ticket to sectionals today and was able to do that in three events,” Valdivia said, “and I’m having so much fun this season. Our team is very close and we’re all having fun – so much fun.”
Blue Springs’ Koby Tyler won the shot put with a throw of 38 feet, 4.5 inches.
“I’m happy to score points for my team,” said Tyler, who also took third in the discus (112-9). “I love the girls on our team and we all want to have success to score team points. I’d do anything to help our team win.”
Also advancing for the Wildcats were Gwyn Detering (400, fourth), Alyna Thibault (third, 1,600), Aisha Gaither (fourth, 100 hurdles) and Callie Johnson (fourth, javelin).
• Cori Davis had a big day for Blue Springs South, edging Lee’s Summit North’s Kinsey Fiedler (12:53) to win the 100 meters (12.44), finishing second in the 300 hurdles (46.12) and third in the 200 (26.04).
“Cori has been so much fun to be around this season,” South coach Ryan Unruh said. “She has had a lot of success and is a great team leader, especially when it comes to working with the younger girls on the team.”
South’s Lauren Low advanced in both the 3,200 (third) and 1,600 (fourth), and Lynasi Gapelu was second in the shot put (35-6) for the Jaguars.
• Gabe McClain, who is enjoying great success in the distance events his senior year for Blue Springs, won the 800 (1:56.00), was on the winning 1,600 relay (3:20.90) and part of the fourth-place 3,200 relay squad (8:24.18).
“It was a great day, advancing to sectionals on two relay teams and in the open 800,” McClain said. “All we care about is getting guys to the next level, and by finishing fourth or better we get to run again. And that’s so exciting for all of us.”
It was also a big day for McClain’s teammate Matt Marzolf, who won the 400 (49.24) and was part of the winning 1,600 relay team and the fourth-place 3,200 relay team.
“We got a lot of work done today and I’m happy with what we did on the 1,600 and 3,200, and I’m happy with the results of the 400,” Marzolf said. “It’s a stepping stone to sectionals and hopefully, we’ll do it all again and get to state.”
Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack was pleased with his team’s performance as he loaded the relays to advance more runners to sectional.
“We advanced all our relay teams and our 4-by-400 ran sub 3:21 for the first time this season,” Cusack said. “We didn’t really run for times today – we just wanted to advance – but we still had some great times.”
Also advancing for the Wildcats with fourth-place finishes were David Bushey (400), Brock Wooderson (3,200) and Jacob Schnakenberg (javelin).
• It was a big day for the Lee’s Summit North boys as Keyon Mozee won the 100 (10.58), Nyles Thomas the 200 (21.79), the 400 relay prevailed (41.74) and Devon Richardson won the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches) and took third in the triple jump (45-10).
Thomas also advanced in the 100 (second, 10.74) and John Eldridge advanced in both with a third in the 200 and fourth in the 100. Isaiah Vigliano advanced in both the 200 (fourth) and 400 (second).
• Winners for the North girls were Annie McCord, 800 (2:22.05), Annica Valmassi, pole vault (11 feet), the 400 relay (49.29), 1,600 relay (4:00.03) and 3,200 relay (10:00.10).
• Dillon Grover led the Blue Springs South boys by taking second in the 3,200 (9:43.16). Trey Vaval (long jump) and Cortes Essex (triple jump) also advanced with fourth-place finishes.