Asia Cole didn't let a disappointing fifth-place finish in the discus Friday afternoon distract her from the business at hand Saturday.



The reigning state champion in the shot put separated herself from the field with an early toss of 44 feet, 5.25 inches to win the title for the second year in a row at the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

Asia Cole didn't let a disappointing fifth-place finish in the discus Friday afternoon distract her from the business at hand Saturday.

The reigning state champion in the shot put separated herself from the field with an early toss of 44 feet, 5.25 inches to win the title for the second year in a row at the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

“I was also the defending champion in the discus, but I have had a real up-and-down year in the discus,” Cole said. “I came in today determined to win the shot put – and I did.

“It's kind of funny. I felt a lot of pressure yesterday in the discus because I was the defending champion in that event too. But I didn't feel any pressure today in the shot put. I came in feeling confident.”

She won last week's sectional with a meet-record 47-2.5 effort, and said she is still waiting for a throw like that at state.

“I still have the monster coming at state,” the junior standout said, grinning. “I thought it might come today. It was a perfect day to throw. Oh well, that will give me something to work on next year.”

n One of the most outstanding high jump coaches in Eastern Jackson County is William Chrisman's Keith Peterson, who retired from coaching and teaching at the end of Saturday’s state meet.

And junior Chrisha Riley made sure he helped a youngster win at least one more medal in his final campaign as she finished eighth (the top eight finishers earn state medals) with a leap of 5-3.

“I didn't know what Coach Peterson and the high jump meant to people in Independence until this week,” Riley said. “I had people come up to me wishing me well, telling me go out and get a medal for Coach Peterson – people I didn't even know.

“Coach Peterson is a special coach. He knows just how far to push you and he did a lot to help me this season. I'm excited about getting a medal his final year and, oh my goodness, I am so excited about coming back to state a senior.”

The Bears earned two other all-state honors. Senior Nieka Wheeler finished eighth in the 100 (12.60) and teamed with Sarah Daniel, Kyana Mason and Alliyah Mayweather to take eighth in the 400 relay (50.41).

n Truman freshman triple jumper Lexi Hart was having a heart-to-heart conversation with Cole in the athletes' awards tent when she heard the announcement for the triple jumpers to go to the awards stand.

“I thought I was eighth place,” said Hart, who actually finished fourth with a leap of 37-7.25. “They are calling all these girls names and I'm thinking, 'I shouldn't even be here. I didn't even finish eighth.' Then they call my name and fourth place and I'm like, 'Well, I guess I didn't do so badly after all.’”

Hart is still learning the sport she dominated her freshman year.

“When I came down here, I felt like the little freshman who had to compete against the big sophomores, juniors and seniors,” Hart said. “But once I started to compete, I found out I could compete with them. They weren't as big and bad as I thought. I actually had some fun.

“Now, I have a fourth-place medal and I have to improve on it the next three years.”

n Blue Springs South sophomore Grace Klausen was thrilled with her seventh-place showing in the 1,600 Saturday.

“Oh my goodness, I wish I could put into words how I feel,” said Klausen, who did not run track last year while playing soccer for the Jaguars. “I got a little taste of what a big meet would be like when we ran at the KU Relays, but nothing can compare you for this.

“There are so many fans and so many great runners. I got a little taste of what big meets are like today and I can't wait for next year.”

n Lee’s Summit North finished ninth as a team with 25 points as Eboni Moore also earned all-state honors in the triple jump, finishing just ahead of Hart in third at 37-8. North’s Rhema Taylor claimed fifth in the 400 (57.60) and combined with Aliyah Hakim, Kelsey Lewis and Jenny Krause for a third-place finish in the 800 relay (1:41.36). Cydnee Holmes took eighth in the shot put (38-2).