Blue Springs girls dominate at sectional meet
Jennifer Reeder couldn't quit smiling – and for good reason.
Her young and talented Blue Springs girls track and field squad turned the Class 5 Sectional 4 meet into their own private showcase they dominated most phases to send a bevy of talent to state next Thursday in Jefferson City.
The 800-meter (4x200) relay team of Olivia Dixon, Arianna Calloway, Ariana Jackson and Kayleigh Jenkins won in a time of 1 minute, 41.46 seconds.
It was the first of three gold medals for Jackson, a freshman phenom who won the long jump (5.58 meters), was second in the 400 (56.59 seconds) and anchored the winning 1,600 (4x400) relay team (3:59.06), sharing the gold with Noema Wild, Dixon and Gwen Deterding.
"I'm so young, and this is all so new to me, but I really feel like I inspire my teammates, because if I can do what I do as a freshman, I know they feel like they can do great things, too," Jackson said. "And I'm having more fun than I have ever had in my life!"
And that is a feeling shared by her coach.
"I'm having so much fun," Reeder said. "These girls are so young – maybe they don't realize that there is some pressure in these big meets, because they just keep going out and winning and they're having the time of their lives. And so am I."
Calloway was also a double winner as she finished first in the high jump (1.67 meters). Arionna Umbles, Dixon, Makenna Delaney and Kayleigh Jenkins won the 400 (4x100) relay (48.53). Dixon was part of all three winning relay teams and took third in the 200, and Jenkins also advanced with a fourth-place finish in the 100.
While no team trophy is given at the sectional competition, Blue Springs totaled 115 points. Lee's Summit West was second with 89. Grain Valley (60) finished fourth; Blue Springs South (43) was eighth; Lee's Summit North (41) ninth, 41; Fort Osage (19) 13th; and William Chrisman (18) 14th.
Jada Williams finished fourth in the 300 hurdles to advance. Also advancing for the Wildcats were Abigail Brackenbury (1,600, third) and Ashton Arndt (javelin, fourth).
Coach Brian Winckler's Eagles proved they can run with the big dogs as Grain Valley's McKenah Sears won the javelin (42.97) and JayOnna Perry was first in the 100 hurdles (16.23) and second in the 300 hurdles (49.63).
"Look at McKenah and JayOnna. McKenah is a freshman who just burst on the scene and JayOnna is our quiet senior leader who has had such an impact on all our younger performers," Winckler said. "I'm just so proud of everyone.
"I'm thrilled for our girls and so excited to see what we do at state. Our girls came to this meet ready to compete and they did such a great job. There is absolutely no intimidation when it comes to competing against the big dogs because we keep proving that we belong here."
Avery Huffman (400), Jordyn Weems (long jump), Abby Castle (pole vault) and the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams also advanced to state.
William Chrisman's Jacque David proved that she is almost back to the form that made her one of the most dangerous shot put and discus performers in the state as a sophomore. She tore her ACL last year playing basketball and rebounded Friday to win the discus (42.25 meters) and finish second in the shot put (13.18).
"She's almost back and we're looking for big things at state Thursday," Chrisman coach Tyler Rathke said. "She had a big day today, but we're still waiting for that BIG day – and we hope it comes at state."
Blue Springs South continued its dominance in distance events as the the 3,200 relay team of Hayley Barber, Amy Woolsey, Mya Trober and Magdalene Boley won in a time of 9:49.00.
Trober also won the 3,200 (11:33.96) and finished second in the 1,600 (5:21.48).
"Today was the first time I competed in all three events – with the relay first, the 3,200 second and the 1,600 third," Trober said. "We did great in the relay and I really wanted to win the 3,200. With the 1,600 my third event, I just wanted to pace myself to make sure I advanced to state.'
Also advancing for South was Madison Hoffman, who took third in the javelin.
For a complete listing of all state qualifiers and their times go to www.mo.milesplit.com.