Logan Pratt's four golds spark Grain Valley to conference title
Before the start of this high school track and field season, first-year Grain Valley boys coach Eric Stone asked members of his team to write down two team goals and one personal goal.
Junior sprinter Logan Pratt never considered writing down four gold medals in the Suburban Middle Six Conference Championships. But that's what happened and it paved the way to a dominating 197-point night as Stone's Eagles rolled to a conference championship Friday at Fort Osage.
Truman took second at 127.5, followed by William Chrisman (83), Raytown (71), Belton (65.5) and Fort Osage (35).
"I knew he had the chance and the kids to have a great season," said Stone, who was named head coach in a 2020 season that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, "so I asked them to write down two team goals and a personal goal. Just a week or so ago, I asked them to write down some new goals – and tonight I think we exceeded any goals we might have listed. It was a great night for all phases of our team.'
Pratt's goals were simple.
"My first team goal was to win conference – mission accomplished," he said Friday, after winning the 100 meters (11.22 seconds), 200 (22.53) and 400 (51.62) and anchoring the winning 400 relay team (43.93, along with Jacob McAhan, Tristin Pouncil and Carter Vrlenich).
"My next goal was to win district – and that's next Friday at William Chrisman, so we'll see what happens. And my personal goal is to win a gold medal at state. I want to find out what it feels like to stand on the top step of that podium."
What made the Eagles' conference win so impressive was the wide amount of events the Eagles turned into gold.
Collin Clemens won the 800 (2 minutes, 6.71 seconds) and 1,600 (4:35.76); Trent Knox topped the field in the 300 hurdles (42.96); Michael Ash, Kendall Butler, Nathan Allen and Rylan Smith teamed to win the 3,200 relay (8:43.88); Eric Rhymes won the triple jump (13.18 meters); Josh McAnerney the shot put (12.83 meters); and Shane Gallagher the javelin (45.6 meters).
"This is my first year throwing the javelin and I'm really excited about the success I've had," Gallagher said. "What we did tonight is exciting and I'm excited to see what we do next week at district."
Rhymes agreed, adding, "The last time I was on varsity, I was this excited freshman who was just excited to make the team. Now, after missing out on last year, I'm excited to contribute to our team's success. Because we are so strong in all our events – track and field events – we're excited about next week, seeing what we do at district.
"The competition is going to be stronger, but we're ready for any challenge."
One of the more dramatic performances of the night belonged to William Chrisman senior Wyatt Leutzinger, who won the long jump (6.25 meters), pole vault (4.09 meters) and the 110 high hurdles (16.16 seconds).
"Wyatt is our rock, the guy we all look up to," Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke said. "He wins the long jump and it's just the third time he's competed in the event, and he was so strong in the hurdles and the vault. We're proud of him and are going to miss him."
Leutzinger has signed to compete in the decathlon at Wichita State.
"This was my last conference meet and I wanted to make a strong showing," Leutzinger said. "I had a strong city championship and I wanted to follow that up with a big conference meet. Next week is district and I want to keep having success, hopefully all the way to state."
His teammate, Alex Atagi, won the discus with a toss of 41.58 meters.
Josh Nunn, who missed out on last week's Independence City Championships, starred for Truman with a first place in the 3,200 (10.10.69) and second-place finishes in the 1,600 (4:37.29) and 3,200 relay (8:48.72).
"I like the pressure of being a favorite in the 3,200 and going out and winning the event," Nunn said. "Now I want to keep going, keep having success because I've never qualified for state, so I want to be in the top four next week at district and follow that up with more success."
Truman’s Freddie Shepherd won the shot put (12.86) and Fort Osage's Arthur Wyatt cleared 1.87 meters to win the high jump.