Both the Blue Springs boys and girls track and field teams entered this season expecting to be among the state’s top squads. Already, the Wildcats are showing why.

Both the Blue Springs boys and girls track and field teams entered this season expecting to be among the state’s top squads. Already, the Wildcats are showing why.

Both teams competed Saturday in the Festus Early Bird Invitational in suburban St. Louis. The boys team topped the 18-team field with 132 points, holding off Hazelwood Central (88) and Fox (79.5). The girls placed second out of 22 teams with 85 points, behind only East St. Louis (115).

“Across the board, we have a lot of talent and a lot of girls that could score points at not only conference and district, but the state level as well,” Blue Springs girls coach Jennifer Reeder said.

The Wildcat boys snared top finishes in three events as Khalil Davis won the discus (180 feet, 9 inches), Carlos Davis finished first in the shot put (52-5) and Stephen Mugeche clocked a time of 9 minutes, 32.89 seconds to win the 3,200 meters – while teammate James Barnett came in second. Simon Belete (1,600), Danny Thompson (pole vault) and Jacob Peister (triple jump) also recorded runner-up finishes, Kaleb Prewett took third in the 110 and Khalil Davis was third in the shot put.

The Blue Springs boys also scored two second-place relay finishes as Barnett, Belete, Dominic Piccinini and Larry Lopez teamed up for an 8:21.9 in the 4x800 and Antwon President, Eli Leavell, Darrius Shepherd and Alex Johnson registered a 3:33.21 in the 4x400.

Tyra Bickham came through with a pair of victories on the girls side, winning the discus (123-6.5) and shot put (40-9.5). Bri Starr notched a leap of 36-8.75 to place first in the triple jump and also came in third in the long jump and fifth in the high jump. Cali Bissell placed second in the pole vault and Imani Hutchinson was third in the 200.

The Wildcats secured top-four finishes in three relays as they came in third in the 4x800 (Elena Chavez, Emily Hubner, Corinne Rinne and Joslyn Snead), and fourth in the 4x200 (Jenna Jacoby, Rey’ven Lawrence, Imani Henderson and Jessica Lawson) and 4x100 (Jacoby, Courntey Kern, Lawrence and Lawson).

“We’ve got a good tradition and have been preaching to this group that they have to make their mark in track as well,” Reeder said. “We were first in conference last year and we’re going to fight again this year, but our goal is top four at state.”

FAMILIAR FACE: This is Eric Neff’s first year as head coach of the Blue Springs boys golf team, but he’s really no stranger to any of the Wildcat golfers.

Neff has been teaching in the Blue Springs school district for 12 years, served as an assistant football coach for 10 years and worked as an assistant to former boys golf coach Tom Round for three seasons.

Still, Neff is working to adjust to his role as the head man.

“It’s had different challenges,” Neff said. “Coach Round has been a legend around the Missouri golf scene for almost 30 years, so everybody knows him and how successful the Blue Springs program has been. I’m just trying to continue that tradition and do the best we can and learning on the fly as well.”

SOCCER SHOWCASE: Area soccer fans will have a chance to see some of the best high school girls soccer teams in the entire country in next month’s fourth annual Heart of America Classic.

The 24-team tournament – which starts Thursday, April, 4, with games played at Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit West and Lee’s Summit North high schools – will feature six nationally ranked teams. Among the top squads playing will be second-ranked Bishop Kelley (Tulsa, Okla.), No. 3 St. Teresa’s Academy, 10th-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, No. 27 Bentonville (Ark.), No. 29 Jenks (Tulsa, Okla.) and 31st-ranked Incarnate Word (St. Louis).

Other teams from the Kansas City metro playing in the invitational will be all three Lee’s Summit programs, Kearney, Liberty, Park Hill South and Raymore-Peculiar.

Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC