816 Sports

April 22, 2014

816 track: Kansas Relays recap

Kansas Relays recap featuring Southland area athletes on the Missouri side.

If there’s one thing Raytown South senior Justice Burks learned from a surprise victory in the Missouri Class 4 state-championship 110-meter hurdles event last season, it’s that short races are built for surprises.

He used that to his advantage last May by capturing his first state gold medal in the race after qualifying fourth.

A year later, however, Burks has experienced a reversal of roles.

Suddenly, he’s the hunted target.

“I expect to win, where I might not have last year,” Burks said. “But everyone else expects me to win, too. Sometimes I get a little rushed. I just have to calm down and treat it like I did last year.”

Burks went through the full-range of his new approach last weekend at the 87th Kansas Relays in Lawrence.

He finished third in a 110 hurdles preliminary race, blaming it on his inability to calm his emotions before the race.

He fixed the problem just in time. Burks won the finals race, beating out Grandview’s Harvey Kendall.

“I treated it like it was just another race, no different than last year,” Burks said.

Burks also ran the second leg of the Raytown South 1,600 relay, which finished seventh.

Mugeche ponders future

The letters started rolling in after Stephen Mugeche completed his freshman track season, when he was deemed an all-state distance runner.

They haven’t stopped pouring in since.

Now a junior at Blue Springs High, Mugeche said he has received interest from a host of Division I universities, including Colorado, Oklahoma, Brown and Cornell. While some schools would like to add Mugeche to their respective track teams, others would prefer he run cross country.

Mugeche has placed in the top four at the Missouri Class 4 state cross country meet each of the last two seasons.

“I feel like track is more my thing,” Mugeche said. “Ever since that day I got all-state as a freshman, I knew track was my future.”

Mugeche specializes in the 3,200- and 1,600-meter events. He owns the Blue Springs High record in the 3,200.

Winning combo

Lee’s Summit North shuffled its girls 1,600-meter relay team for the first month of the season.

It has finally found the winning combination.

In only their third competition together, Rhema Taylor, Kala Taylor, Aliyah Hakim and Jenny Krause won the event at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence last Saturday. Needless to say, the new combination is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.

“It definitely ups the ante,” Rhema Taylor said. “It makes us want to continue to drop our time. We expect nothing but greatness at this point.”

More Kansas Relays

•  Summit Christian Academy athlete Carlie Queen continued her impressive freshman campaign. A week after winning the high jump at the MU Relays, Queen placed third at the Kansas Relays last Saturday.

Queen was one of three jumpers to clear 5 feet, 6 inches in Lawrence, but she was downgraded to third because of her number of misses in the earlier rounds.

• Lincoln Prep sophomore Tasjia Thomas placed fourth in both the long jump and the triple jump in Lawrence. Three Kansas City-jumpers finished among the top-four in the triple jump, with Lee’s Summit West senior Jamie Newsome taking second and Truman sophomore Alexis Hart placing third.

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