In just one race, Lee’s Summit West demonstrated its utter domination of girls track this season.
West’s victory in the girls 800-meter run in the Suburban Gold Conference meet was a given, considering the Titans had the best in the state at that distance in Jana Shawver. Shawver got her victory, and in the process led a one-two-three finish by the Titans as they rolled to a third consecutive conference crown May 4 at Blue Springs South.
Shawver, a senior who will run next year for Kansas, crossed the finish line in 2 minutes, 16.74 seconds. McKenna Butler was right behind her in 2:20.08, followed by Hailey Hardin in 2:21.79.
“This year our 800 is really deep,” Shawver said. “So it’s cool to have so many girls who can run it.”
West showed that kind of depth everywhere on the Rusty Hodge Memorial Stadium track. The Titans won seven individual events and three of the four relays to score 213.5 points, 93.5 more than runner-up Blue Springs. They also had the top two in two other events besides the 800.
But it was the 800 sweep that caught the eye of West track coach Jesse Griffin, who has led the Titans to back-to-back Class 5 state championships. Griffin said it was the first time the Titans had swept an event since moving up to the Gold conference four years ago.
“It’s a different level of competition,” Griffin said. “And to go one-two-three in an event like the 800, the girls really stepped up.”
West senior Jessica Haney wanted to step it up in the high jump. Haney, the Class 5 defending state champion in the event, had gone 5 feet, 8 inches back in March at the Belton Invitational but hadn’t been close since.
Haney exceeded that mark with a 5-9 leap that gave her first place and the best jump in Missouri this season. It also broke the conference meet record of 5-7 she set last year.
Haney also won the triple jump with a 37-2 ½ mark that was just shy of her 37-11 personal best.
“I was really proud of myself,” Haney said of her high jump. “I’m just glad that I finally got over those heights because I haven’t jumped 5-8 in a good month or two. So I was just really happy to get back up where I hoped I would be at this time of the year.”
Makayla Kelby was also a double winner for West, taking both the discus and shot put titles. West’s other individual champions were Shannel Watkins in the 100-meter dash, Maddie Harris in the javelin and Marissa Ritchey in the long jump.
West won the 400, 800 and 3,200 relays and in the only relay they didn’t win, the 1,600, the Titans placed second in 4:01.68. That’s the third-fastest time in the state this spring. Park Hill ran a state-best 3:57.72 to beat the Titans.
“This really showed the direction that we’re going right now is good,” Griffin said. “I like our chances as we move forward if we can just take care of business.”
North sprinters shine
Lee’s Summit North sprinter Keyon Mozee said his legs were feeling a little heavy going into the meet. He was hoping some stretching and a good warmup would help him find some speed.
Did it ever.
Mozee, a sophomore, won the boys 100 and 200 and ran a leg on the first-place 400 relay team to lead another big day for the Broncos sprinters. Mozee won the 100 in 10.62 seconds and the 200 in 22.08, both personal bests.
Mozee led off North’s 400 relay team, which won in 42.42 seconds.
“I was pushing for a faster time (in both races) than I had been running all season,” said Mozee, whose uncle is North football coach Jamar Mozee. “And that seemed to work out, so I’m going to keep doing it.”
Nyles Thomas finished second to Mozee in the 100 and 200 for the Broncos, who also had Isaiah Vigliano (50.01) and Matthew Hughey (50.44) go one-two in the 400. The Broncos’ 800 relay team was also a winner.
North assistant track coach Jason Starnes, who oversees the sprinters, had expected this kind of a meet from them all season. It just took some time, he said, because of all the cold weather and shuffled meets early in the season.
“We haven’t seen what we can really do,” Starnes said. “We really showed today what we’ve got moving forward.”
North also had a champion in Blake Gillihan, who won the boys 800. Devon Richardson won both the high jump and triple jump in helping the Broncos place second to Blue Springs in the boys meet.
Johnny Brackins Jr. of Lee’s Summit added to his impressive freshman season by being named top boys scorer of the meet. Brackins won the 110 hurdles in 14.90 seconds, placed third in the 200 and triple jump and fifth in the long jump for 26 points.
Tigers senior KC Lightfoot shattered the conference meet pole vault record he set last year with an 18-foot vault. Lightfoot, who has gone 18-3 this season, beat the old mark by a foot.