The Missouri Class 3, 4 and 5 state track and field meet will take place Friday and Saturday at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City. Here are five things to watch during the two-day meet.
1. Blue Springs chases a repeat
The Blue Springs boys track and field team put on a show at the Missouri Class 4 state meet last spring, when they won the state title by nearly 40 team points.
If the past two weeks are any indication, the encore could be nearly as impressive.
The Wildcats compiled 147.50 points at the Class 5, Sectional 3 meet Saturday, nearly double the amount of second-place Nixa.
Blue Springs senior Jacob Peister will attempt to defend his state title in the triple jump. His top leap at sectionals — 49 feet, 6 inches — is more than 2 feet better than his state-winning jump last spring. It’s also the top mark in the state this season.
Twin brothers Carlos and Khalil Davis are the favorites in the discus throw, and they could contend in the shot put competition, too. Carlos owns the top high school discus throw in the nation this season (214 feet, 4 inches).
Senior Taysean Goodwin is coming off sectional championships in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. Kai Miller will challenge top-ranked Park Hill junior Christopher Nilsen for the state title in the pole vault. And Justin Hall is a top contender in the long jump after capturing the sectional championship.
2. Liberty North aims for another
The Liberty North boys track and field team captured the first state championship in school history — in any sport — last spring, when they won the Missouri Class 3 title.
Can the Eagles make it two straight?
The task undoubtedly toughens this season, with Liberty North making the leap to Class 5. But the Eagles aren’t exactly short-handed.
They’re led by senior Andrew Madison, who won three state championships last season. Madison dominated the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles races at the Class 5, Sectional 4 meet Saturday — just as he has much of the season — and he anchored the 800 meter and 1,600 relay victories for the Eagles, who also won the 400 relay and finished atop the team standings at the meet.
3. Seeing gold
Over the past two seasons, Grandview sprinter Anglerne Annelus has filled her trophy case with six gold medals.
She’s not done yet.
Annelus, a senior, won the 100 meter and 200 meter championships at the Class 4, Sectional 4 meet Saturday at Staley High School. Neither were much of a surprise — Annelus is the two-time defending state champion in both events.
She’s also anchored a pair of relay state-championship wins over the past two seasons. She is scheduled to race on the state-qualifying 400 and 800 relay teams this weekend.
4. Strong contingent in Class 5
The newly-formed Missouri Class 5 has produced a host of multi-event competitors from the Kansas City area — including a group of freshmen.
Liberty freshman Kaitlyn Lewis will take plenty of momentum into the state meet after capturing the 200 meters and 400 titles at sectionals over the weekend. Her teammate, freshman Avrie Jones, won the 100 meters.
Liberty also qualified first in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays, with two of the three teams using all-freshman lineups.
On the more experienced side, Truman junior Lexi Hart is looking to defend her state title in the long jump. She won both the long jump and triple jump sectional championships.
Also in Class 5, St. Teresa’s Academy senior distance runner Ann Campbell and Blue Springs South junior sprinter Jahliah Clay are two more competitors capable of producing multi-medal weekends.
5. Class 3 athletes to watch
The Class 3, Sectional 4 meet Saturday at Blue Springs produced three local multi-event winners who will look to replicate their feats this weekend at Lincoln University.
Lawson junior Nikita Smith has a particularly strong chance to make some noise. She won the 100 meters (12.35 seconds), 200 (25.24 seconds) and 400 (58.22 seconds) at the sectional meet, the latter by a full 3 seconds.
Lincoln Prep junior Tasjia Thomas won the long jump (17 feet, 11.5 inches), besting the field by more than a foot, before she later won the triple jump (38 feet, 2.5 inches). She was also on the school’s winning 400 and 800 relay teams.
Pembroke Hill junior distance runner Evan Peterson cruised to victory in both the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200 run at sectionals.