The Kansas Relays annually attracts the best of the best in high school track and field from the region.
The 91st edition of the tradition-laden meet last weekend was no exception, drawing athletes from across Missouri and eight other states, yet several athletes from the Northland still turned in top performances despite cool and rainy conditions at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence.
There were major battles in the boys’ and girls’ 400-meter dashes.
Chris DuPree, a sophomore at Park Hill South, won the boys’ 400 in 48.52 seconds. He edged Raytown South senior Vontrae Booker, the Missouri Class 4 state champion in the event last year, by 0.06 seconds (48.58).
The girls’ 400 also featured a tight race between rivals Taiya Shelby of Park Hill and Kaitlyn Lewis of Liberty. Shelby took the gold this time in 56.87 with Lewis right behind (57.46). Shelby also placed eighth in the girls’ 800.
There were other Park Hill-Liberty battles as well. The Trojans and Blue Jays finished third and fourth in the girls’ 1,600 relay and fifth and seventh in the girls’ 400 relay.
Liberty’s Caroline Crawford and Park Hill’s Kristen Birmingham also tied for fourth in the girls’ high jump, while the Trojans’ girls finished fourth in the 800 relay.
Liberty’s Madelyn Hill recorded two top-10 finishes, placing third in the girls’ 800 and seventh in the 1,600, while Park Hill South’s Emma Roth finished fourth behind Hill in the girls’ 800.
Finally, Platte County’s Jonathon Watts placed third in the boys’ long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 2 1/2 inches and the Pirates claimed seventh in the boys’ 3,200 relay.