WASHINGTON, Mo. — Nearly three hours after finishing the 4x100-meter relay, the Grain Valley boys track and field team received medals during the Class 4 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships at James Scanlan Stadium at Washington High School.
The Eagles ran the dash around the track in 43.38 seconds, coming in second behind Ladue Horton Watkins, which crossed in 42.99.
However, a protest by Camdenton meant the Grain Valley quartet of junior Mason Rogers, junior Nate Booker, senior Tyler Luke and freshman Logan Pratt waited until well after the conclusion of the 4x400-meter relay to get their medals.
“I felt like we connected really well and had a good day overall,” Rogers said. “It is good to come out and place in the top three.”
The unique circumstances for the delay in getting the medals came because Camdenton was given a chance to re-run the 4x100 all by itself on the track. Earlier in the day, a trip on an exchange caused another runner to go into Camdenton’s lane – Lane 1 – in the second heat of the 4x100-meter relay. The Lakers finished ninth and with a re-run had a chance to earn all-state status and they did that, bumping Fort Zumwalt East from the podium.
The Eagles were seeded sixth heading into the championships.
“It was definitely a long time coming,” said Luke, who took sixth place in the 200-meter dash less than an hour and half later. “We wanted to be first, but second place … we are really happy with. It is a good culmination of hard work we put in throughout the season.”
The delay led to the Eagles waiting a long time to get their third and final boys medal of the state championship that was completed in one day after damage from a tornado moved the event from Jefferson City to suburban St. Louis.
The change marked the first time since 1978 that the track finals were held at two locations and the first since 1976 that four different sites were used, as was the case this year with Class 3 moving to the University of Missouri and Class 5 going to Battle High School in Columbia. The week prior, Class 1 and 2 were held at Jefferson City High School.
The same quartet for the Eagles took fourth in the 4x200-meter relay, finishing in 1:30.08. Running in the second heat, the Eagles finished behind conference foe Grandview – the champion in the race and in the team standings – Springfield Parkview and Ladue.
Those finishes helped the Eagles tie for 15th in the boys standings. A few chances to add more points came up short. Royce Fisher was ninth in the 1,600-meter run, while William Lanear was ninth in the 300-meter hurdles, crossing in 40.93, just .01 of a second behind Festus’ Jacob Pauly.
Luke, who qualified in the 100 meters, scratched that event to focus on the relays because of the abridged scheduled.
“We had a lot of kids get experience,” Grain Valley boys coach Marc Cleveland. “I thought we would score more points, but it is what it is. More than anything, I’m happy we got it (the meet) in.”
On the girls side, Grain Valley had a pair of medalists in Jay’Onna Perry and Morgan Scott.
Perry, a sophomore, took fifth in the second heat and fifth overall.
She won a tiebreaker with Marshfield’s Alliyah Joiner, by the slimmest of margins with an official time of 45.262 compared to 45.267.
“It was very hot and very fast,” said Perry, who had an ice bag on her right leg on the medal stand. “I didn’t expect to go up with people fast or faster than me. It kind of shook me. I thought I didn’t place because of how fast it was. It was exciting when I heard that I did, I was pumped.”
The leg injury forced her to pull out of the 4x400-meter relay race later in the day, a race in which her team finished 13th.
Scott earned her fourth career medal at Grain Valley, but the first in an individual race after taking seventh in the 800 (2:20.94).
The recent graduate and future Pittsburg State Gorilla also ran on the 4x800 and 4x400 – taking 10th and 13th respectively – and took 11th in the long jump in her final events for the Eagles.
“It honestly didn’t even feel like my last day until it was all over,” Scott said. “It was definitely a bittersweet moment when I hugged my coaches and thanked them for the last time. Although I’m doing track in college, it was still crazy to think that I will never run as a Grain Valley Eagle again. The entire team felt more like another team to me than anything, and I’m going to miss them more than anything.”
The only other area medalist at the Class 4 meet came was Lilli Weir. The Oak Grove senior took fifth place in the javelin with a throw of 137 feet, 2 inches, winning a tiebreaker over Parkway North’s Rylea Smith. In that same event, Monett’s Kaesha George broke the state record with a throw of 151-6.
Van Horn’s only event to place came from Shaun Ross in the 100-meter dash, taking 12th. Van Horn’s boys 4x200-meter relay team didn’t finish the race.