The torch is being passed at Fort Osage High School, as freshman sensation Asia Cole and senior Elaine McAlister are setting their sights on this weekend’s Missouri State Track and Field championships at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

The torch is being passed at Fort Osage High School, as freshman sensation Asia Cole and senior Elaine McAlister are setting their sights on this weekend’s Missouri State Track and Field championships at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Cole will compete in the shot put and discus – two events that she has mastered in a short period of time – while McAlister will make her fourth attempt at bringing home a state medal.

“I don’t know if the torch has passed here at Fort, because Asia passed me a long time ago,” said McAlister as the two close friends laughed it up before their Wednesday afternoon practice session on a muddy field behind the football grandstand.

“She is an amazing athlete and an amazing friend. I wish I was coming back next year because I want to be here to see what she does.

“She’s going to do something special over the next four years. She might just rewrite our record book.”

Cole burst on the area track and field scene like a super nova this spring, piling up medals in the shot put, the discus, the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

“When’s the last time you heard of someone medaling in the 100 or 200 and in the shot and discus?” Fort Osage girls track coach J.D. Snead said. “I’ve been coaching a long, long time, and I’ve never seen an athlete quite like her – and she’s just a freshman.

“She’s going to state this weekend to do some damage. I think she can bring home two medals – and I think she can win it all. I don’t know if she will, but if she does, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

Cole pushed Blue Springs senior Monet Jackson in the shot and hurdles at last week’s Class 4 sectional meet at Staley, where Jackson topped the freshman star in each event.

Jackson won the shot put with a throw of 43 feet, 2 inches to Cole’s 42-3. She won the discus with a throw of 133-11 to Cole’s 131-6.

“She pushed me. She pushed me hard, and she’s a freshman for goodness sake,” Jackson said. “She’s going to be really good for a long time.”

Snead called the sectional, “Asia’s coming out party.”

“She was just amazing at the sectional meet. And I know I keep saying this, but she’s a freshman. Can you imagine her going to state in the 100, 200 and the shot and discus? That would raise some eyebrows.”

The eyebrows have been raised at Fort Osage throughout the school year.

“She’s a kid who loves all kinds of sports,” Fort Osage activities director Brandon Hart said. “She lettered in volleyball and basketball and look what she’s doing in track.

“We love it when great athletes compete in more than one sport. That’s what makes our athletic programs successful. But can you imagine what she could do if she only competed in track and field? Oh, my goodness.”

Cole just grins when asked about her prowess in the sprints.

“I always loved to run, but now I love to throw, too,” Cole said. “But I still like it when I go to throw, and I tell someone I just got back from running the 100 or 200. They kind of look at me like, ‘Huh? You just medaled in the 100 and 200?’ I never get tired of that look.”

While Cole will soon become the face of the Fort Osage track and field program, McAlister has been the face of the Indians athletic program the past few years, lettering and starting in volleyball, basketball and track.

“I did my best, gave it my all in all three sports,” McAlister said. “I’m proud of what the Indians have done since I’ve been here, and I’m proud of my contributions. The cherry on the sundae would be stepping up on that podium and getting a medal at state.”

And her coach believes it will happen.

“She kind of injured her right ankle last Saturday, throwing the shot at sectionals,” he said, where McAlister finished in fourth place with a 39-5.5 effort.

“They’re working on her ankle, doing everything possible to get her healthy for state, because if any kid ever deserved a medal, it’s Elaine. She has meant so much to our program and to this school, I think you’d see a lot of smiles and tears if she medaled.”

McAlister said the ankle is tender, but she refuses to use the injury as a crutch or excuse.

“Injuries happen,” McAlister said matter of factly. “It’s my right leg – my push off leg – but I think it will be better by this weekend. I’m just going to work hard and give it my best shot.”

Watching Cole and McAlister interact is nearly as special as watching them compete.

“I love Asia,” McAlister said. “I love her as a person and as a teammate. I can’t wait to watch her go to state and compete. It’s going to be the start of something special.”

When asked if she had peppered her teammate with questions about state, Cole just smiled and said, “I ask her questions all the time. I love her, but I bet she gets tired of me asking her so many questions.

“So I’m not asking her about state. I want some surprises. I don’t want to get down there and be like, ‘Oh, I know all about this because Elaine told me.’ I want some surprises – yeah, surprises, that will be cool.”

As cool as having a medal placed around her neck?

“As cool as watching Elaine get a medal placed around her neck,” Cole said. “That would be the coolest.”