Long before many of their senior teammates arrived Thursday morning at Blue Springs High School, distance standouts Stephen Mugeche, James Barnett, Simon Belete and state alternate Dominic Piccinini were jogging around the Peve Stadium track under the watchful eye of assistant track and head cross country coach Frank Gallick.

Long before many of their senior teammates arrived Thursday morning at Blue Springs High School, distance standouts Stephen Mugeche, James Barnett, Simon Belete and state alternate Dominic Piccinini were jogging around the Peve Stadium track under the watchful eye of assistant track and head cross country coach Frank Gallick.

They were fine-tuning for today’s Missouri State Track and Field Championships at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City.

“They’re ready to go,” said Gallick, who was timing various parts of the workout. “We’re all ready.”

While Gallick and the runners were out on the track, a variety of seniors were driving into the east parking lot, where two buses were awaiting their arrival.

“I left the two Reeder kids at home so I could get my 17 Blue Springs kids ready for the trip to state,” joked veteran Blue Springs girls track and field coach Jennifer Reeder, who was checking items off a to-do list. “We found out this week that no backpacks and no coolers could be brought into the stadium, so we’re trying to find enough shoe bags for the kids to use for their gear.

“After the bombing incident in Boston, they’re really cracking down on what you can and can’t bring into the stadium, so we’re having to improvise, but everyone else is having to do it too, so it’s no big deal.”

One of the runners head coach Joe Cusack is counting on for a big state performance is Mugeche, who won the 3,200 meters at sectionals and was second in the 1,600 to Truman standout Cole Rockhold.

“I’m excited about state because we have a chance to win it all,” said Mugeche, who was part of a second-place state finish by the Wildcats last season as a freshman. “We have so many great seniors on this team and we all want to work together to give them the chance to win state their final year at Blue Springs.”

While the runners were getting ready for the two-hour bus trip to Jefferson City, Cusack was finishing up some chores around the school.

“Doing a little laundry, getting some gear stored that kids returned, things like that,” said Cusack, whose Wildcat boys hope to end Hazelwood Central’s run of three consecutive state titles. “We’re going to do everything we can to beat them, but last year I really got to know their coaches and that team is a class act. If they win state, we’ll be the first ones to shake their hands.”

Cusack’s boys have not lost a meet this season, including a win over Hazelwood Central in an event at Festus, Mo., early in the season. The Wildcat boys and girls have won conference, district and sectional titles the past three weekends.

“We’d like to keep that streak going another weekend,” said Reeder, whose girls face a solid challenge from defending state champion Francis Howell and Hazelwood Central. “So many crazy things can happen at state, I really feel like we’re right in the mix and have a good a shot at winning it as any school.”

While the boys and girls from Blue Springs are vying for a state title, there are many other area standouts to watch, including Truman sprinter Roy Bay, who won the 100 and 200 at sectional and then turned in a breathtaking anchor leg in the 400 relay to give the Patriots a first-place medal in that event.

He is joined by distance standout Rockhold and, on the girls side, freshman Lexi Hart, who owns the longest triple jump in the state this year and a gold medal in the event from sectional.

“What’s so amazing about Lexie is that she is still learning about the sport, and she’s a freshman,” said Truman assistant track coach Steve Cassity, who also coaches the Truman girls basketball team, of which Hart is a member. “You watch her play volleyball or basketball and you can’t believe she’s just a freshman. Then you watch her triple jump and she looks like she’s been doing it all her life.”

The prospect of going to state excites Hart, who has never attended the biggest meet of the spring.

“I keep hearing how many people are there, and I just can’t wait to go,” Hart said. “It’s been a great year. We had such good volleyball and basketball teams and now we’re going to state (in track and field). I really wanted to do well at sectionals, but I didn’t know if I could win or not.

“Now, I feel the same way about state. I want to win, so we’ll see what happens.”

The Wilkerson twins from William Chrisman, DaVante and Dalvin, will challenge Bay in the 100 and 200 and look for defending state shot put and discus champion Asia Cole to take on all comers in those events. She shattered the sectional record in the shot put by nearly four feet, but finished fourth in the discus. Blue Springs senior Tyra Bickham won the discus and hopes to end Cole’s reign at state in that event.

Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC