A track meet can find it hard to compete with graduations, vacations and all the other activities of early summer. Even a meet pitting state-line rivals against each other.
Organizers of the seventh annual Champions Meet Missouri/Kansas Challenge, which took place Wednesday at Lee’s Summit North’s Bronco Stadium, had expected a good number of competitors from for both the Missouri and Kansas teams. Many events though went off with only one or two athletes. And the blue Kansas jerseys were hard to spot among the sea of black Missouri uniforms.
“Usually this time of the year, track takes a back seat to a lot of things,” said Chris Earley, who runs the Eastern Jackson County Track Club and organized the meet. “It is what it is.”
With so few entries, the Kansas team didn’t stand a chance in the team standings. Missouri won the boys meet 103-13 and the girls meet 64-13. Earley has seen the numbers fluctuate over the years, but he said the turnout between the two states is usually more even.
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“We had less Kansas kids for some odd reason,” said Earley, who also coaches cross country at Fort Osage. “Last year we had it at Grain Valley and we had probably 25 Kansas kids.”
While the meet lacked for quantity, there was still some quality in the field. Adia Eberle, a two-time Class 1 state girls high jump champion from Midway, showed up to jump for Missouri. Problem was, she was the only girls high jumper. She cleared 5 feet, 4 inches, well below the 5-6 she cleared last month in Jefferson City.
But as the only one in the field, that was good enough.
“There were quite a few people on the list,” said Eberle, who will compete next year for the University of Kansas. “But I guess the other people had other things to do.”
The weight events were a bigger draw. The boys shot put had a field of 11 that included state medalists Isaiah Childs of Lee’s Summit West and Caden Robinson of Summit Christian Academy. Childs, who took fifth in the Class 5 state meet, placed fourth Wednesday with a 49-9 toss. Robinson who was sixth in the Class 3 state meet, finished seventh at 46-1. Class 5 state champion Jordan Garr of St. Joseph Central won it with a 54-1 ½ toss.
“It was kind of relaxing,” said Robinson, who will play football this fall for Evangel. “I was nervous for state but this was just was just a great time because I could go out and not worry about what I did.”
There were other Missouri state champions, such as Drexel’s Joey Jacobs, who won the Class 1 boys discus last month and took second on Wednesday. Columbia Independent’s Khristen Bryant, who set an all-class state meet record with a 13-0 leap in the Class 1 pole vault, won the event Wednesday at 11-6, and North Kansas City’s Keiara Williams, the Class 5 girls shot put champion, took that event and the discus.
Earley just thought he’d have more of those winners on hand Wednesday night.
“We’ll keep doing it,” Earley said. “If we have 10 kids show up we’ll keep doing it.”