After 18 gold medals had been handed out, after a weather delay had spanned nearly six hours, and after two schools had polished their math expertise to calculate their championship odds, a Missouri Class 5 boys track and field title came down to one final race.
The Blue Springs Wildcats concluded it in a familiar position — taking home a team trophy.
To complete a daylong comeback, Blue Springs outran Lafayette in the state meet’s final event — the 1,600 relay — to win its fifth boys track and field state championship in program history, and the third in the last four seasons.
The Wildcats trailed Lafayette by two team points before the final relay but placed second in the 1,600. Lafayette took seventh in the race.
“You could hear the explosion on the backstretch when we all knew we had it clinched,” Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack said. “Our whole section of people really lit up for the last event. It was a wonderful celebration.”
Blue Springs fielded only one individual state champion over the weekend in Jefferson City — senior Dylan Cowling, who won the javelin with a throw of 188 feet, 2 inches, winning the event by 12 feet. Fortunately for the Wildcats, the javelin counted toward the team race for the first time this spring after serving as an exhibition for the last two years.
Aside from that, the team championship stayed true to its moniker. Among the 19 participants Blue Springs had at the state meet, 17 earned all-state honors.
“That’s really a team championship. Everyone feels like they made a contribution to this, and they should,” Cusack said.
Blue Springs and Lafayette were tied after the opening day of events Friday. They remained tied when the weather halted action early Saturday afternoon.
After the meet resumed in the evening, Lafayette built an 11-point lead with just two events left. Tre Wheaton and Darius Clark trimmed the margin to two team points after the triple jump, setting up the dramatic conclusion in the relay.