Even with three champions already crowned and a hefty lead, Lee’s Summit West girls track coach Jesse Griffin was taking nothing for granted.
Griffin knew the Titans still needed things to break their way in several events during the second and final day of the Class 3-5 state track meet before they could secure another Class 5 girls team title. And for the most part, they did.
West won two more events, and a better than expected run in the relays propelled them to a comfortable victory and their third consecutive state championship May 26 at Jefferson City High School.
West tallied 86 points – far off the all-class record 109 total it had last season. But that was still a good 40 points better than runner-up Pattonville.
“We tallied up the points” after the first day, Griffin said. “We came back to the girls and said we’ve still got to continue to take one event at a time. And if you do that we’ll be in a good position at the end of the meet.”
West was already in a good position after first-place finishes Friday by Makayla Kelby in the Class 5 girls shot put, Maddie Harris in the javelin and Jessica Haney in the high jump. And Haney’s victory almost didn’t happen.
Haney woke up Friday morning feeling sick after something she ate the night before disagreed with her. But thanks to an early three-hour rain delay, Haney had enough time to recover.
Haney jumped 5 feet, 9 inches, setting a personal record and beating the Class 5 record she set last season winning the second of her three state titles.
“The delay ended up helping, because I ended up having a couple of more hours,” said Haney, who also placed sixth in the triple jump on Saturday. “By the time high jump rolled around I was feeling a lot better.”
Griffin felt better too after the second day started with a victory in the Class 5 girls 3,200-meter relay. So did West senior Jana Shawver.
Shawver was caught at the finish line Friday by Park Hill’s Taiya Shelby in the Class 5 girls 800, a race she won last season. The next day she ran neck and neck with Blue Springs South distance standout Tori Findley on the anchor leg.
“It was honestly one of the hardest races I ever ran,” Shawver said. “She kept pushing me the entire way. She was trying to get the inside, so she kept running faster but I knew I couldn’t let her have it.”
Shawver didn’t let Findley pass her and delivered the victory for West. The Titans’ team of McKenna Butler, Audrey Parson, Madison Hulsey and Shawver finished in 9 minutes, 13.37 setting a new Class 5 record. Hulsey and Shawver both ran 2:13 800 splits.
“That’s a pretty good team effort,” Griffin said. “We were a little behind, and Madison did her part to make that relay successful.”
West also took fourth in the 400 relay and third in the 800, well above their seedings of seventh and eighth going into the meet. The Titans 1,600 relay took sixth in a very fast race.
“So we were really under the gun to make the finals,” Griffin said “It was really a tribute to the girls stepping their game up when it counted.”
Kelby added to her gold medal count by winning the Class 5 girls discus for the fourth straight season.
Kelby unleashed a toss of 166 feet, 8 inches that topped her previous Class 5 best and broke an all-class record that had stood since 2001.
The day before, Kelby won the Class 5 girls shot put with a 46-7 ¼ toss.
Both came on her first attempt.
“I wanted to go out with a bang,” Kelby said. “And that’s exactly what I did.”
SCA’s Lee doubly fast
Lenetta Lee trained hard all season against a talented Summit Christian Academy teammate.
Lee was the only sprinter on her team, but that didn’t keep her from winning the Class 3 girls 100 and 200 meter dashes Saturday. Lee, a junior, won the 100 in 12.11 seconds and finished her day by winning the 200 in 24.60 seconds. Lee had the top qualifying times in both after setting personal-bests in Friday’s prelims.
And that was after taking seventh the day before in the Class 3 girls long jump.
“It was a lot of work,” Lee said. “I just pushed myself to do my best and I got here.”
SCA had another all-state athlete in senior Kaylee Lunn, who placed sixth in the Class 3 girls 100-meter hurdles.
Other area highlights
Ashlyn Cook of Lee’s Summit placed seventh in the Class 5 girls javelin.
Caroline Meyers of St. Michael the Archangel just missed reaching the podium in the Class 3 girls 1,600 with a ninth-place finish.