Emari Grimes capped a brilliant high school career earning three medals and all-state honors at the Class 5 Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships in Columbia.

Over the past four years, the soft-spoken Fort Osage High School senior set school records in the 200 meters (25.12 seconds) and 400 (55.62) and ran the anchor leg of the record-breaking 400 relay team (49.49) with Allie Barrett, Mady Monday and Samantha Trimmer).

She was part of two conference championship teams, her freshman and senior years, and helped the Indians win four consecutive Independence City Championship titles with gold medal performances in the 100, 200, 400 and 400 relay.

Despite all her success, she never thought about earning The Examiner’s Girls Track and FIeld Athlete of the Year award, which she learned about Friday.

“I didn’t think about it,” she said, chuckling, “because I didn’t know there was such a thing. Really, I didn’t know there was an award like this and I am so honored to receive it.”

Her coach, J.D. Snead, was well aware of the award and he couldn’t be any happier for the heart and soul of his team the past four years.

“As a freshman, she was practicing early in the season and just blowing the past some of our better sprinters,” he said with a smile. “We knew we had a very special athlete. And, as it turned out, a very special young lady.

“She has grown so much as an athlete, but even more so as an individual. We recognized all her potential early on and she has risen to the occasion so many times, especially during the biggest moments of her track career.

“This is such a special way for Emari to wrap up her career at Fort Osage,” Snead added.

She joins former two-time Examiner award winner Asia Cole, who threw the shot and discus, as an elite Indian postseason honoree.

Grimes earned all-state honors in a condensed state meet that was moved to Columbia from its original Jefferson City site because of a tornado that ravaged the state capital.

Grimes was sixth in the 100 meters (12.43), fourth in the 200 (25.16) and set the school record with a state runner-up time of 55.62 seconds in the 400.

“She flipped the switch in the 400,” Snead said, “a great time.”

The 400 has always been Grimes’ favorite 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 was happy.”

Now, it is time for new challenges as she has signed to compete for the Park University track and field team.

“It’s time to say goodbye to Fort Osage,” she said, “and go on and find a new challenge. It’s going to be sad to leave Fort Osage, but I am really excited about the future.”