When asked to analyze her girls' track team before the season, Liberty High School coach Pam Koch replied confidently that the spring could feature one of the school's better squads in her 16-year coaching tenure.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
When the postseason schedule started last Saturday with the Missouri Class 4, District 8 meet, Liberty continued to back up its coach's predictions.
Liberty won the team competition with 113 points, followed by Staley with 83 points, Park Hill South with 81.5, North Kansas City 62 and Winnetonka 56. The top finishers qualified for the Class 4, Sectional 4 meet Friday and Saturday at Blue Springs High School.
Liberty took plenty of trips to the podium at the District Activities Complex behind Staley High School. The Blue Jays exercised the relays to score bonus points, winning the 800 and 3,200 relays.
And they also fared well in individual events. Sophomore Sharee Zombo opened the day with back-to-back second-place finishes in the 100- and 200-meters, finishing runner-up to William Chrisman senior Nieka Wheeler in both events; senior Marie Taylor won the 1,600 by 17 seconds, crossing the finish line in 5 minutes, 19.24 seconds, and senior Heather Glenn won the pole vault. Glenn has the top pole vault heights in the state this season at 12 feet, 6 inches.
Staley senior Ali Taylor pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the day by finishing ahead of Fort Osage junior Asia Cole in the discus. Cole is the defending state champion in the discus and shot put.
In a photo finish, North Kansas City sophomore Kiesha Bailey topped Park Hill South's Audrey Rothers in the 100 hurdles. The two finished within one second of each other. And the day was just beginning for Bailey, who later won the long jump with 17-6.
It wasn't a lost cause for Rothers, however, who came back to win the 300 hurdles.
Winnetonka sophomore Sabrina Monsees won the 800 in 2:17.58.
The Liberty boys will need to make extra room in school's trophy case. The Blue Jays made it a clean sweep last Saturday by winning the Class 4, District 8 meet, also at Staley.
The meet featured tighter race than the girls' competition. The Blue Jays totaled 98 points, followed by Park Hill with 89 points, Staley with 78 points and Fort Osage with 78.
Lindell Watkins launched the Liberty parade to the podium by winning the 300-meter hurdles. Brandon Jolliff won the pole vault by clearing 12 feet, 9 inches. Teammate Tanner Prendergast finished second.
Staley's Collin Heller continued his domination in the shot put, and Park Hill South senior Cody Kildow won the discus throw by 19 feet.
Park Hill's Cain Winebrenner won the 800. The Trojans have been anchored most of the season by their relay teams, and nothing changed last Saturday when they won the 800 and 3,200 relay events.
BOYS TENNIS: All-conference honors
Park Hill South headlined a list of Suburban Red Conference tennis honors released Monday.
Zach Royle and James Geary were named to the singles first team, and together the two Trojans also occupied the No. 1 doubles team.
After missing last season because of a leg fracture, Blake Barnard of Park Hill earned first team singles honors, along with teammate Max Shoettger. Barnard and Austin Keberlein also made first team doubles.
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to email@example.com.