Ariana Jackson guides Blue Springs track and field to district team title
It's not supposed to be that easy, but don't tell that to Blue Springs freshman Ariana Jackson.
All she did at Saturday's Class 5 District 7 track and field meet was win the 400 meters (57.81 seconds) and high jump (1.62 meters) and team with Olivia Dixon, Arianna Calloway and Kayleigh Jenkins to win the 800 relay (1:40.95) and combine with Noema Wild, Dixon and Gwynevere Deterding to win the 1,600 relay (3:58.52).
The Wildcats swept all relay events and enjoyed great success in both running and field events at William Chrisman High School to earn the district championship, outdistancing Lee's Summit West 163-138.
Grain Valley, a newcomer to the largest class, was third at 99; Lee's Summit North (78) took fifth; Blue Springs South (64) was seventh; Truman (47) eighth; and host William Chrisman (25) ninth.
'Ariana doesn't even know how good she can
"Ariana doesn't even know how good she can be," said Aliyah Lee, a Blue Springs grad and assistant to head coach Jennifer Reeder. "We have the great senior leaders and all this young talent. We have the chance to be good for a long time."
Added Reeder: "I'm impressed with all our girls because our sophomores missed out on last season because of COVID and our freshmen, like Ariana, were eighth graders. Today's meet was just so much fun. We could just kind of watch it and enjoy it. And now we have to work hard this week to get ready for sectional."
Jackson said the hard work will also be fun.
"I love my girls and my coaches," said Jackson, flashing a smile that made up for the overcast skies. "I'm working so hard, listening to all my coaches and loving to be around my girls. We're young and we're having fun. We're winning a lot, too, and that is always fun."
Other Wildcat winners were Arionna Umbles, Dixon, Makenna Delaney and Jenkins on the 400 relay (48.98 seconds); I’yana Foster, Allison Bonham, Macy Baldwin and Deterding on the 3,200 relay (9 minutes, 54.87 seconds); Dixon in the 200 (25.36); and Calloway in the high jump (1.62 meters).
Jenkins also advanced in the 100 with a second-place finish (12.74) and a third place in the high jump (1.57 meters); Abigail Brackenbury took second in the 800 (2:24.69) and 3,200 (11:30.76) and third in the 1,600 (5:17.80); Adrianna McMurray took second in the 100 hurdles (17.18); Ashton Arndt was third in the javelin (37.02 meters); Abigail Crandall was third in the long jump (4.88); Symiah Bradley took third in the triple jump (10.29); and Foster finished fourth (2:28.21) in the 800.
"We knew we were going to have a lot of success in our relays," Reeder said, "and sweeping all four today is pretty special."
Grain Valley track and field impressed as well
Grain Valley made an impressive showing as JayOnna Perry swept the hurdles (100 in 16.07 and 300 in 46.08) and McKenah Sears won the javelin (39.26 meters).
"Coach (Erik) Stone (the boys track coach) and I were very careful when we made our schedule for this year, because at the time, we weren't sure if we'd be Class 4 or Class 5, so we wanted to make up a schedule that would prepare us for anything we faced," Eagles girls coach Brian Winckler said.
"We were ready to run with the big dogs on Saturday – and there has been no intimidation or fear all season. Our girls are ready for just about anything they have to face and I'm really proud of them."
Perry is a senior who said this season means everything to her after missing out on last year.
"All I've been thinking about is this season," Perry said. "We were all so excited for today, and I believe that by finishing in third place, we proved we can compete against the bigger schools. Today gives us a big boost in confidence heading into sectional next week."
Grain Valley’s Avery Huffman moved on in the 400 with a third-place finish (1:00.47), Jordyn Weems was second in the long jump (4.91 meters), Samantha Heinrich took second in the triple jump (10.40) and Abby Castle and Ellie Stahl finished third and fourth in the pole vault.
William Chrisman's Jacque David excelled in the discus and shot put
William Chrisman's Jacque David, who missed last season because of the pandemic and a torn ACL from basketball, is getting closer and closer to 100 percent as sectional approaches.
The senior standout won the discus (39.02 meters) and took second in the shot put (12.44).
"Jacque is right where we want her to be," Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke said. "She's doing all she needs to do to keep advancing. Next Friday at Liberty North she will be competing against some of the best athletes in the state. State has always been our focus, and we're a meet away from going to state, so next Friday is a big meet."
Other notable performances
Blue Springs South's Mya Trober owned the distance competition at district, winning the 1,600 in 5:14.60 and 3,200 in 10:55.21 – a 25-second margin of victory over the runner-up, Brackenbury.
"This was a very competitive district and competition brings out the best in me," said Trober, The Examiner's reigning Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. "I ran a smart race in the 1,600 and just wanted to make sure I won.
"I went all out in the 3,200 and was able to get a PR, which was one of my goals today. I know how tough the field is going to be at sectional and I want to be ready to give it all I have in both races."
South’s Caitlin Grover finished third in the 3,200 (11:36.57) and Magdalene Boley was fourth in the 1,600 (5:31.15). Madison Hoffman was second in the javelin (37.55 meters).
Lee’s Summit North’s Annica Valmassei (3.35 meters) and Hannah Wilhite (3.20) finished 1-2 in the pole vault.
Go to www.blacksquirreltiming.com for a complete list of results.