COLUMBIA, Mo. – It finally happened.
After setting a Fort Osage High School record in the 400 meters with a second-place finish at the Class 5 State Track and Field Championships at Battle High School in Columbia Saturday, Emari Grimes smiled.
It was an ear-to-ear smile that lit up the stadium.
“I have something to smile about,” said the low-key senior, who is as matter-of-fact as they come. “Today is special. I got three medals, we got to have the state meet after that tragedy in Jefferson City and Gavyn (Monday, a member of the Fort Osage boys team) got a medal and a school record in the 400.
“I was afraid we might not have the state meet and all my teammates who were going to be at their first state meet might miss out on the experience. Today, there is a lot to smile about.”
Grimes was sixth in the 100 meters (12.43), fourth in the 200 (25.16) and set the school record with a time of 55.62 seconds in the 400.
“She flipped the switch in the 400,” Fort Osage coach J.D. Snead said, “a great time.”
For the past three years, Grimes has been a dominant sprinter in Eastern Jackson County and the 400 has always been her race.
“I was so nervous in the 400,” she said, “because I was in lane 7. I’m always in lane 2 or 3 or 4, but never lane 7. Maybe that made me work a little harder. I’d have liked to have won, but I ran a PR and set a school record, so I’m happy.
“Now, it’s time to say goodbye to Fort Osage and go on and find a new challenge.”
Lee’s Summit West ran away with the girls crown with 86 points. Pattonville (63), Ozark (43) and Battle (42) rounded out the top four teams.
Lee’s Summit North was 12th (23), Fort Osage 16th (17), Blue Springs 20th (12) and Blue Springs South 41st (1).
• Blue Springs distance standout Tessa Valdivia wrapped up her career as a Wildcat with a third-place finish in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 9.11 seconds) and fifth in the 3,200 (11:31.93).
Because of the one-day state format and the meet being moved from its original site at Jefferson City High School because of last week’s tornado that did so much damage in Jefferson City, Valdivia had to run both events on the same day.
“I’m used to running the 1,600 and 3,200 on the same day at conference and other meets, but today was a struggle for me emotionally – especially in the 3,200,” Valdivia said. “I have spent the last four years of my life running track and cross country at Blue Springs and before the race it really hit me that this was my last race as a member of my Blue Springs team.
“I’m strong, the heat didn’t bother me and running two races didn’t bother me, but it took a few laps in the 3,200 for me to get it together and really start running my race, so I am proud of getting that medal.”
Blue Springs girls coach Jennifer Reeder had to console her 1,600 relay team after it missed a medal by 4:03.92 to 4:03.98 to Ozark.
“After missing that medal in the 4x4 by .06, I had to do some consoling,” Reeder said. “I’m so proud of all the girls on our team. Tessa is an amazing athlete and will leave such a lasting legacy on our program.
“She showed this weekend at state that she is not only a very special runner, but a great teammate to all the girls, no matter what event they are in.
“I think she also grew as a competitor this year. After her two-mile (3,200), I had a chat with her about how proud I was that she really laid it out and switched gears in the middle of the race to finish strong.
“She told me that at the beginning of the race she struggled, but as she continued to run she realized she was feeling good and could compete, so she dug deep and finished so well. That is a true sign of a mature runner and great competitor.”
Blue Springs’ Koby Tyler finished sixth in the discus to earn all-state honors with a throw of 122 feet, 2 inches.
• Blue Springs South senior Cori Davis had mixed emotions following her lone appearance as a member of the Jaguars squad.
She finished eighth in the 200 (26.22) for her lone state medal. She also competed in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
“This is so bittersweet,” Davis said. “I wanted to come here and get more than an eighth-place medal, but I am so thankful to come home with a medal. I didn’t get off to good starts in my other events and it hurt. But I will always be happy to have this medal. It is special.”
• Lee’s Summit North’s Annie McCord raced to a seventh-place finish at state with a school record in the 800 (2:18.49)
Tiffany Hughey was sixth in the 400 (58.36). The 400 meter relay of Tiffany Hughey, Savanna Anthony, Sydney Ross and Kinsey Fiedler was sixth (49.19).
Fiedler earned all state honors by taking eighth place in the 100 (12.79).
Annica Valmassei and Hannah Wilhite each vaulted 10-9 to finish fifth and fourth place, respectively.
The North 1,600 relay team was fourth (4:00.01)
• William Chrisman sophomore Jacque David claimed fourth in the shot put (44-9.25) to earn all-state honors.