Blue Springs girls capture Suburban Big Eight track and field title

Cody Thorn
The Examiner
The Blue Springs girls track and field team poses with the Suburban Big Eight Conference championship trophy after ending Lee's Summit West's streak of four straight conference titles in the Suburban Conference's biggest division.

The Suburban Big Eight conference title is coming back to Blue Springs after the girls rolled up 150 points to beat Liberty North by 17 points.

The league crown ends Lee’s Summit West’s run of four straight titles from 2016-2019. The Titans finished third, just ahead of Blue Springs South. Lee’s Summit North took seventh place.

“We got it back; it had been out of Blue Springs for too long,” Blue Springs head coach Jennifer Reeder said. “Props to Lee’s Summit West, they have held it every year since 2015. My girls came together. We had some bumps along the way, but when one faltered, another lifted her up.

“Going into district it is all about who can move on, but this is a true team meet. We got three we can enter so let's use our depth toward our advantage. We were close to the points we projected coming in and did what we needed to do.”

This was the fifth conference title for Blue Springs under Reeder’s guidance during 15 competitive seasons.

The Wildcats nearly swept the relay events, winning all but the 4x400, and added multiple top-three finishes to rack up points.

I’yana Foster, Allison Bonham, Macy Baldwin and Gwynevere Detering set the pace by winning the first running event – the 4x800-meter relay in 9 minutes, 52.87 seconds.

Jenkins was on the 4x200-meter relay with Olivia Dixon, Arianna Jackson and Arianna Calloway, which won in 1:42.5.

Dixon and Jenkins then added another win in the 4x100-meter relay, joining Makenna Delany and Arionna Umbles, winning in 49.88.

“I think it feels amazing knowing our team can come together. It is not just for you or not for that person, it is about all of us,” Dixon said. “It is we can really get together and make something as a team and make our coaches proud, make us proud and make our parents proud.”

Dixon, Detering, Foster and Noema Wild ran the 4x400 and finished second, as Lee’s Summit West prevented a Blue Springs sweep in the relays. In that same race, Lee’s Summit North placed third with the team of Lena Baker, Raina Baker, Sidney Gilliland and Ally Custer.

Jada Williams won the 300-meter hurdles for the Wildcats and was third in the 100-meter hurdles. Calloway added another title for Blue Springs, winning the high jump at 1.67 meters.

Symiah Bradley was a runner-up in the triple jump, while teammate Abigail Crandall was third in the long jump. Jackson was second in the 400 meters and Jenkins was second in the 100, coming in behind Blue Springs South’s Jaidynn Mason.

“My sprinters worked hard and I didn’t want us to get too happy with where we were so we had been pressing in practice,” Reeder said. “To come out and get PRs for the season shows me good things moving forward.”

Blue Springs’ Abigail Brackenbury was third in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. In the 1,600, she finished behind Lee’s Summit West’s Makayla Clark and Blue Springs South’s Mya Trober, who would later win the 3,200.

Taylor Bailey was the runner-up in the long jump for Lee’s Summit North, while the Broncos had the second- and third-place finishers in the pole vault in Annica Valmassei and Hannah White.

Madison Huffman was the runner-up in the javelin for Blue Springs South.

Boys

First-place finishers were harder to come by for local participants, with only four gold medals.

Blue Springs had two of the four firsts, which helped them take fourth place with 112.5 points. Blue Springs South was sixth and Lee’s Summit North took seventh. Liberty North won the boys title with 130 points, 10 more than Lee’s Summit West.

Blue Springs senior Brock Wooderson, a Grand Valley State signee, won the 3,200 meters (9:24.76) and took third in the 1,600.

The Wildcats got another first from Xavier Loyd, who won the long jump with a leap of 6.51 meters.

“I’m proud of the boys, I love the effort we put in today, but so amazingly proud of the girls,” Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack said. “It’s a big night for them.”

The Wildcats got third-place finishes from Rayvon Wright (high jump), Tyler Fiala (pole vault), Bethel Glin (shot put), Royce Gray (100) and the 4x400-meter relay team of Hunter Haupt, Daniel Jantzen, Keith Griffin and Noah Olah.

Blue Springs South’s D’Avion Stokes won the triple jump by the slimmest of margins, taking first with a jump of 13.21 meters. Lee’s Summit North’s Isaiah Hoard was the runner-up at 13.20. The Jaguars got a runner-up finish from Bryce Reeves in the 100. Reeves later joined Rex Regier, Cooper Doolin and Brandon Watson on the 4x100-meter team that took third.

The winner of that race was Lee’s Summit North, which repeated as champions in the event from the 2019 edition. Jonathan Brown and Donnell Dye were both on that team as freshmen. This year, Jake Hurl and Donyell Dye joined the team that won in a season-best 43.19 seconds – just ahead of Ray-Pec’s 43.20.

“It felt good,” Brown said of the repeating. “It has been two years … I don't even know what to say, I’m speechless. Going back-to-back in conference, it feels amazing.”

Dye was the runner-up in the 200, while the Broncos got another second from Aaron Barnhill in the javelin.

Four of these schools — Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit West — will compete against each other again next week at the Class 5 District 7 meet at William Chrisman. Three others — Liberty, Liberty North and Park Hill — will be at Class 5 District 8. Those two districts will then merge in the sectional meet on May 22 at Liberty North.