Lee’s Summit North girls track and field coach Ed Brill huddled with his assistants as a steady rain drenched the competitors at the Missouri Track and Field Championships late Saturday afternoon at Lincoln University.

Lee’s Summit North girls track and field coach Ed Brill huddled with his assistants as a steady rain drenched the competitors at the Missouri Track and Field Championships late Saturday afternoon at Lincoln University.

They were doing their best to keep their stat sheets dry as they were attempting to decipher the outcome of the biggest meet of the year.

Brill’s Broncos had not defeated crosstown rival Lee’s Summit West all season, but they determined if North high jumper Meredith Stark could finish seventh or above in one of the final events of the day, North would claim its first state title.

When Stark cleared 5 feet, 4 inches, and finished in second place to West’s Brittany Kallenberger, the celebration began.

North finished with 58 points, and West totaled 47.

Most of the North team members were wearing their rain gear as they chanted, “State champions! State champions!” near the starting line of the final event of the day – the 4x400 relay.

“I heard the girls, and thought I knew what was happening, but I had to check to make sure,” said senior Madison Smith, who won the 100 hurdles, was second in the 300 hurdles, was on the third-place 4x100 relay team and the fifth-place 4x400 relay squad.

“I think I knew what was happening before the other girls on the (4x400) team and it was the greatest feeling in the world.”

Even before Smith and her teammates finished in fifth place, the Broncos had secured their first girls track title.

The rain didn’t stop, but that didn’t dampen the Broncos’ enthusiasm as they sang their school song while they picked up the championship trophy, climbed atop the podium and celebrated with the fans who braved the late downpour to take part in the historic moment.

“We knew if Meredith was seventh or better, we’d won our first state title,” said Brill, whose team was third at state last year. “We didn’t tell her or that final relay team because we didn’t want to put added pressure on them.

“When Meredith finished second, we told (all the) girls that we’d just won a state championship.”

After finishing second to West at the district and sectional tournaments, Brill said a complete team effort helped his team make history.

“We got points in eight of the 12 events we competed it,” Brill said as his assistant coaches pounded him on the back and his team laughed in delight in the background.

“We had Maddie (Smith) win the 100 hurdles and Remy (Abrought) was right behind her in second place – just like last year. Maddie was then second in the 300 (hurdles), and we got points from Meredith in the high jump and we got points from a freshman pole vaulter (Abbey Stanley, who was fourth). Our triple jumper (Eboni Moore, who was third) and all our relay teams ran their best times of the year.

“It was a cumulative effort. Everyone just ran out of their mind or jumped out of their mind. We’ve talked in the past about what Maddie means to this team, and she scored a ton of points for us today.

“But this was a team effort. I have the best girls and the best coaches you could ever ask for. I just feel so blessed.”

He paused for a moment and looked at his team as the girls waited to be introduced as the 2011 Class 4 state champions.

“Does it get any better than this?” an emotional Brill said.

Smith and Abrought gave a bit of foreshadowing in one of the first events of the day as they went 1-2 in the 100 hurdles, finishing at 14.38 and a 14.41, respectively.

“I practice with Remy every day, so I know what she’s capable of,” Smith said. “I knew this race was going to be close. She pushes me every day in practice. We’ve been 1-2 the past two years. Now it’s her turn to go win it next year.”

Abrought nodded in agreement at that comment.

“I practice with the best hurdler in the state every day,” Abrought said. “I love Madison, and it’s just special to share today with her and all my teammates.”

The performer who stood in the spotlight for the Broncos was Stark, who didn’t realize what was happening in the jumping area until a coach informed her that her second-place finish had secured the state title.

“I saw all the girls watching me when I jumped, and I thought that was nice,” Stark said. “Then I found out we were state champions. And that was unbelievable. Unless you are a member of this team, you don’t know how great the coaches are or how hard we all work.

“It took a lot of hard work and dedication to make this happen, and I just happened to be the one who got the points to make us a championship team. But it was a total team effort from everyone.”

n Blue Springs junior Megan Wright was second in Friday’s pole vault with an 11-0 effort.

“I was happy to finish second, but I know I can do better,” Wright said. “I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”

n Blue Springs South junior Samantha Nightingale, who was fourth in the 3,200 on Friday, was sixth in the 1,600 Saturday.

“I’m not happy with how I did,” said Nightingale, who revealed that she had been running on a sore knee.

“I hurt my knee early in the season, came back and it felt OK until this week, and it started hurting again. I’m not making any excuses. I’m just glad I can come back next year as a senior and try to win a state championship.”