816 North Sports

Five things worth a second look during high school sports playoff weekend

Christopher Nilsen of Park Hill High School won his second straight Missouri Class 5 pole vault state championship.
Christopher Nilsen of Park Hill High School won his second straight Missouri Class 5 pole vault state championship. along@kcstar.com

Here’s a look back at five things worth a second look from the Northland high school sports scene last weekend:

1. The closing speed of Liberty North junior Jon Redmond

Liberty North junior Jon Redmond departed the Missouri Class 5 state track meet without the individual state championship he coveted. But the Eagles won a pair of relays due to his closing speed.

Redmond served as the anchor for the 4x200-meter relay and 4x100-meter relay teams, both of which won state championships Saturday at Jefferson City High School.

In the 4x100, Redmond blazed by an opponent on the final leg to win the race, edging Blue Springs South.

Redmond was also second in the 100 dash, losing to defending champion Micah Beaver of Raymore-Peculiar.

It was the second straight season in which Liberty North won the 4x200, this time using a quartet of junior Darrious Taylor, senior Tyler Lamport, senior Brandon Drew and Redmond. The winning 4x100 relay team consisted of Redmond, Taylor, Lamport and senior Anthony Taylor.

2. Kearney’s Clayton Adams bounces back

Kearney junior Clayton Adams expressed disappointment with the way his cross country season ended in the fall. He described his state-meet run as “all over the place” after he finished fourth.

The track season ended on a brighter note.

Adams won the Missouri Class 4 1,600-meter run Saturday, a tightly-contested race in which the top six runners were separated by only two seconds.

Adams completed the four laps in 4 minutes, 17.55 seconds, edging Hillsboro senior Aaron Dugan, who finished in 4 minutes, 17.89 seconds.

3. The end of a memorable run

Park Hill pole vaulter Christopher Nilsen assembled a historic senior season, which came to a close Saturday with a second straight Missouri Class 5 championship.

Nilsen didn’t reach his desired goal when he failed to clear 17 feet, 3 inches Saturday — a mark that would have broken his own state record from last year— but there will be plenty of accomplishments to cherish. He graduated with the top high school pole vault (18 feet, 4 3/4 inches) in American history.

4. The rookie season for Carson Gates

Staley sophomore Carson Gates concluded his first high school season with a second-place medal Saturday, when he finished runner-up at the Missouri Class 2 state singles tournament in Springfield.

Gates battled Parkway South sophomore Carson Haskins in the championship match before falling 6-3, 6-3.

And that’s a valiant effort against Haskins, who is the top-ranked player in the nation in the boys 16-and-under division, according to the United States Tennis Association.

Haskins delivered Gates his only loss this spring.

5. St. Pius X returns to the Final Four

Last spring, the St. Pius X girls soccer program produced its best state-tournament placing in school history when it took second in Missouri Class 2.

Another chance awaits.

St. Pius X, 19-3, will play Maryville in the Class 2 semifinals at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Swope Soccer Village. The winner will face Pembroke Hill or Notre Dame (St. Louis).

St. Pius X has not allowed a goal in four playoff games, edging Maryville and Boonville 1-0 in its past two matches.