North Kansas City’s Bailey wins girls high school high jump at KU relays

04/19/2014 6:06 PM

04/21/2014 11:52 AM

NeKiesha Bailey has never been one to sell herself short. She joined the North Kansas City track team two years ago, then promptly told coaches she would graduate as the school record holder in the high jump.

High expectations. Equally lofty performances.

Bailey opened her junior season by backing up her freshman-year promise, and she kept the momentum rolling Saturday, winning the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 6 inches at Rock Chalk Park.

“I had a rough time here last year — my head wasn’t in the right place — so I came in and focused from the start on what I needed to do to win,” said Bailey, who settled for fifth place last year. “I was able to clear my mind and just do my thing.”

After Bailey and Wichita sophomore Mona Gottschaemmer each cleared the bar at 5-6 Saturday, Bailey defeated Gottschaemmer in a jump-off to win the event.

Bailey’s season-best jump is 5-7, which broke a 37-year-old school record.

Burks still rolling

Raytown South senior Justice Burks expressed surprise after winning the Missouri Class 4 state championship in the 110-meter hurdles last May.

Nothing qualifies as a surprise anymore.

Burks won the same event Saturday, narrowly besting Grandview senior Harvey Kendall and Liberty North junior Andrew Madison.

Burks finished in 14.15 seconds, taking advantage of a strong wind.

“After last year, I know anything is possible. Nothing is out of reach,” Burks said. “I expect to win now. I plan on it.”

Eastham wins

It’s reasonable to expect that Blue Valley Southwest sophomore Tristan Eastham knew little about the 2,000-meter steeplechase prior to Saturday. After all, it’s not an event offered at Kansas state meets nor one Eastham had much time to practice.

But it’s an race he had been eyeing for quite some time.

“It’s a real guts race,” Eastham said. “You just go out there and give it all you got for five laps. I like that.”

It seems to be a good fit. Eastham edged Raymore-Peculiar junior Keaton Wasson to win the event.

“It was a pretty hard race,” Eastham said. “That extra lap — the fifth lap — is the hardest.”

First-time winner

For the past two months, Liberty junior Madison Nasteff has been making a short drive to William Jewell College, where she trains in the 2,000-meter steeplechase.

It’s paid off.

In her competitive debut in the event Saturday, Nasteff captured a gold medal, crossing the finish line in 7:37.43.

“This is my first time doing it, so I just wanted to have fun with it,” Nasteff said. “I run distance, and I really like the mile, so I thought it would transition.”

Lee’s Summit West senior Annika Sisson was second, 10 seconds behind Nasteff, with Raymore-Peculiar sophomores Kiley Deain and Jamie Wharton third and fourth, respectively.

A trio of relay wins

A day after winning the 6,400-meter relay, Lee’s Summit West struck gold again Saturday, winning the girls sprint medley. A team of Sydney Watkins, Nicole Kallenberger, Jamie Newsome and Elizabeth Nolke won in 4:16.06.

St. Thomas Aquinas won the girls 3,200-meter relay, using a foursome of Bailee Cofer, Grace Geiger, Haley Dietsch and Emily Downey.

Lee’s Summit North won the final girls race of the day, the 1,600-meter relay, with a team of Rhema Taylor, Kala Taylor, Aliyah Hakim and Jenny Krause.

Sunflower Showdowns

The Relays included four Sunflower Showdown relay races.

Olathe South won the girls 400 meters; Olathe North won the girls 1,600 meters; and Piper won the boys 1,600 meters.

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