Two of the area’s top athletes both took spills at the Missouri Class 4 track and field championships Saturday at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City.

E.J. Gaines believes he overstretched.

Jordan Dodd said he doesn’t know what happened.

Two of the area’s top athletes both took spills at the finals of the Class 4 Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships Saturday at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

Gaines crumpled to the track with a hamstring injury midway through the opening leg of the 800-meter relay and Dodd tripped over the last hurdle in the 300 intermediate hurdles.

“I felt it in the 100 (meters), but I told my teammates that it just felt like I overstretched,” Gaines said minutes after a visit to the trainer’s tent. “I don’t know, I guess I did.”

Gaines, along with Nathan Hancock, Tyler Lee-Banks and Edward Pearl, had posted the second fastest time (1 minute, 28.23 seconds) in the state this year in the 800 relay. In Friday’s preliminaries, the quartet posted a time of 1:27.99, second only to top seed Hazelwood Central’s 1:26.90.

Hazelwood Central won the finals with a time of 1:27.06. Fort Osage did not finish and didn’t medal as Gaines, who claimed a seventh place finish in the 100, was helped from the track after the race had completed.

“We had the second fastest time after prelims and we had a chance to do something big for Fort Osage,” Indian senior Nathan Hancock said, comparing the setback to the Fort Osage football team’s loss to Webster Groves in the Class 5 championship game this past fall. “It’s just a disaster, you know? It was the worst feeling in my life. It was just like when we lost state in football. It’s terrible.”

Dodd, on the other hand, did finish the 300 hurdles in a time of 37.92. He claimed a second-place finish to Poplar Bluff’s Zach Ferguson after both tripped over the last hurdle and went tumbling through the finish line. Ferguson finished the race in 37.48.

“I don’t remember, I just hit it and went down,” Dodd said when asked to describe what happened on the last hurdle. “I don’t even know what happened. I thought I was going to win.”

Dodd would redeem himself later in the 200, finishing fourth in a time of 22.14.
“I felt better than I thought I was going to,” Dodd said after the 200. “It (the fall in the 300 hurdles) was tough to forget.”

AREA TEAMS SHINE: The Lee’s Summit West boys finished tied with Liberty for second place in Class 4 with a team total of 37 points. Hazelwood Central claimed the title with 49 points.

Raytown South finished fourth with 31 points, Raytown (26 points) was seventh, Blue Springs (24) ninth and Lee’s Summit North (23) finished tied for 10th with Columbia Rock Bridge.

Blue Springs South and Truman finished tied with Rockwood Summit for 45th with three points, while Fort Osage placed 51st with two points.

In Class 3, Oak Grove finished 14th with 15 points while University City claimed the title with 63 points.

On the girls side, Lee’s Summit West claimed the Class 4 team title  with 67 points. Lauren Cheadle led the way by winning state titles in the 200 (24.61) and long jump (18 feet, 4.75 inches). Lee’s Summit North finished third with 38 points. Raytown South placed sixth with 30 points, Blue Springs South (9) finished 26th, Blue Springs (5) placed 35th and Fort Osage (1) finished 47th.

HARVEL MARVELS AT STATE COMPETITION: Blue Springs South’s Ben Harvel finished sixth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.51, earning a medal and all-state honors. The Jaguar sophomore said competing in a field that included Dodd and Poplar Bluff’s Ferguson was a treat within itself.

“I’m tired right now, but I’m sure in about five minutes after I get some water I’m going to be ecstatic,” Harvel said after the race. “It feels great to be here and it’s been an awesome and great experience.”

BANKS IT IN: Oak Grove’s Tyler Banks was beaming with pride after claiming a first-place finish in the Class 3 800 meters with a time of 1:56.14.

The redheaded junior’s face was just as bright as his well-placed hairdo after outracing defending champion Huns Pitia (1:56.79) of Staley down the final straightaway.

"This is beautiful,” a beaming Banks, who had just completed the 400 in a time of 49.40 to  claim seventh place, said after the 800. “Beating Huns – he never stops. You saw him out there. He gave everything he had out there.

“A 10-minute break between the 400 and 800 – that kid is as much of a champion as anyone here. It doesn’t matter who won because we are all close friends, but I’ve always wanted to be a state champion.”

Banks also anchored the Panthers’ 1,600 relay team of Kyle White, Aaron Stout and Pedro Ramirez to a sixth-place finish and all-state honors.

“I mean look at us. We’re all short and probably the most unathletic bunch here,” Banks said before the race, “and we have no business out there.”

Oak Grove tied for 14th place in the Class 3 boys team standings with 15 points.

PATRIOT MEDALS: Truman’s Blaine Scott (157 feet, 6 inches) earned a state medal with a sixth-place finish in the Class 4 boys discus.

Raytown’s Steven Deshazer won the discus title with a toss of 178-8.

WILDCATS MAKE ALL-STATE: Blue Springs Sam Patterson was awarded fourth place in the pole vault with a vault of 14 feet while Jayce Thomas of Blue Springs claimed sixth place in the triple jump with a jump of 44-11.

FORT’S GAPELU MEDALS: All was not lost for Fort Osage, as senior Courtney Gapelu claimed an eighth-place finish in the discus with a throw of 125-04.

“I have no disappointments,” Gapelu said. “I enjoyed it.”

JAGS, WILDCATS EARN STRIPES: Shannon Danaher of Blue Springs was ecstatic with her eighth-place finish in the 800, but the disappointment was evident on the faces of the Wildcats’ 400 relay team of Ronay Coleman, Brittany Thomas, Darian Grayson and Bria Taylor, which finished seventh.

“They have nothing to be disappointed in,” Danaher said of her teammates. “They ran great.”

Danaher also was a part of the Wildcats’ 3,200 relay team of Stephanie Burasco, Elizabeth Reynolds and Grayson that earned all-state honors with a seventh-place time of 9:37.27.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ Samantha Nightingale got it done in the 3,200, claiming fifth-place with a time of 11:06.65 to go along with her fourth-place showing in the 1,600 on Friday. Nightingale also ran second leg on the Jaguars’ sixth-place 3,200 relay team of Emilie Farris, Hillary Patek and Taylor Gregston.

BRONCOS GALORE: Several Lee’s Summit North athletes earned medals Saturday at the state meet. Drake Duckworth (14 feet) was eighth in the pole vault and Will Bruce finished eighth in the discus with a toss of 155 feet, 8 inches.

For the girls, Madison Smith and Remy Abrought placed 1-2 respectively in the 100 hurdles. Smith, however, wasn’t done, bringing home a second-place medal in the 300 hurdles as well and leading off the Broncos’ 1,600 relay team, which claimed a seventh place finish.

The Broncos’ Sandra Hampton also claimed second in the discus with a throw of 143-9.