COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lee’s Summit North boys track and field coach Eric Davis is a man of few words.
But when he speaks up, he’s worth listening to.
After his Broncos scored 49 points for a Class 5 second-place finish at the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships Saturday at Battle High School in Columbia, he looked at senior Devon Richardson and said, “He’s not just super, he’s Superman.”
In what Davis believes is a state first, the lanky senior won two events that were taking place at the same time.
Richardson won the high jump with a Class 5 record leap of 6 feet, 10 inches, which broke his state mark of 6-8 that he sat last year for the 2018 state champion Broncos.
While competing in the high jump, he also competed in the triple jump – with two preliminary jumps and a winning jump of 48 feet, 3.5 inches.
“I really wanted that triple jump, since I only got to jump once then go compete in the high jump,” said Richardson, who has signed with Pittsburg State University. “I wish we could have won state again, but the last three years we’ve been third, first and second, so I guess it’s been a good run.
“I wouldn’t want to compete on any other team for any other coach. This has been my family the past four years.”
Hazelwood West won the team title with 66 points, followed by the Broncos (49), Columbia Rock Bridge (48) and Jefferson City (44). The four top schools bring home state trophies.
Blue Springs was 17th (19), Blue Springs South was 27th (6) and Fort Osage was 30th (5).
Following the meet, Davis looked at a group of seniors who were huddled together before the state photographer took the Broncos official state team photo.
“Those seniors are so special,” Davis said. “They’re all special, but last year we won state when those guys were juniors. We were third when they were sophomores – they have been responsible for a lot of success on this team and I’m going to miss them.”
Unlike most meets, Davis was actually hoping for a little rain Saturday, to give his guys a break as all events took place in the one-day format after losing the original host site, and a two-day state track meet, after a tornado struck Jefferson City last week and did a great deal of damage to Jefferson City High School’s Adkins Stadium.
“A little rain delay would have been nice to give some of the guys, especially our sprinters who had to run preliminaries and finals, but that’s all right,” Davis said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of this team.”
Joining Richardson on the top step of the podium was the North 400-meter (4x100) relay team of Keyon Mozee, Dubem Okwonko, John Eldridge and Nyles Thomas, who won in 41.47 seconds.
Mozee was second in the 100 meters (10.78), the North 800 relay team was second (1:27.23) and Thomas was sixth in the 200 (22.65).
• It was an emotional day for Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack as he said goodbye to two seniors who wrapped up their track careers with three medals at their final state meet
Gabe McClain was second in the 800 in 1 minute, 53.96 seconds to St. Louis University High’s Lazarus Williams, who sat a state record with his blistering time of 1:53.29.
McClain was also part of the second-place 1,600 (4x400) relay team (Prince Griffin, McClain, Celestino Almeida and Matt Marzolf) that lost in the blink of an eye at tape when McCluer North’s Angelo Butts stumbled and dove across the line, edging Wildcats anchor Matt Mazolf 3:18.55 to 3:18.62.
McClain was also part of the eighth-place 3,200 relay team along with Marzolf, David Bushey and Kevin McClain (8:92).
Marzolf was part of the 3,200 relay and earned an all-state honor with a seventh-place finish in the 400 (49.86).
“We have so many great kids on our team,” Cusack said, “but those two seniors are the heartbeat of our team. And they’re great leaders – they showed the underclassmen what it takes to have success and they are going to be missed, missed by me and every member of this team.”
When asked about the close finish in the 1,600 relay, Cusack was happy.
“We’ve been second in that race the past three years, and today, I feel like a winner even though we took second because it was such a close, incredible race. An effort like that makes me feel like a winner. And all four of those 1,600 relay guys were seniors, which makes it even more special.
“I feel the same way about Gabe in the 800 – so proud. It took a state record to beat him!”
• Gavyn Monday capped a solid track career at Fort Osage with a fourth-place finish and school record time of 49.64 seconds in the 400 meters.
“I feel so amazing, but it’s also a bittersweet feeling because I know this is the last time I’m going to run for Fort Osage High School,” Monday said, as he was congratulated by fellow Indian 400 medal winner Emari Grimes of the girls team. “With everything that happened in Jefferson City, and we’re all thinking about everyone there and praying for them, I am just thankful that we were able to have this meet and I was able to run my best time in the 400. I’ll never forget it!”
• Blue Springs South senior Trey Vaval left his first state track meet with a fourth-place medal in the long jump with a leap of 23 feet and a half-inch.
“For my first time to compete at state, and get a medal, is the most awesome feeling,” Vaval said. “I just feel totally blessed to be here today.”