KC Lightfoot of Lee's Summit was doubtful at first he would have an 18-foot day. Early morning rains had pushed the schedule back almost three hours and later turned the day into a sauna.
As it turned out, Lightfoot did have another 18-foot day on Friday as he took the Class 5 boys pole vault title in the Missouri Class 3-5 state track meet at Jefferson City High School. Lightfoot cleared 18 feet even and set a new all-class meet record in the process.
“I felt good at the opening, but it took me three to get over 17-8, Lightfoot said. “I didn’t know if I was feeling it either to be honest.”
Lightfoot didn’t make his first attempt until 16-0, and when he made that on the first try the state title was his. He needed just one try to get over 17-1 and beat the old mark of 17-0 held by Chris Nilsen of Park Hill since 2015.
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Lightfoot actually recorded Missouri’s all-time best when he cleared 18-5 at districts two weeks ago. But that mark seemed far away as he struggled first at 17-8 before clearing it on his third try.
And when he hit 18-0 on his third attempt, it marked six weeks in a row he had cleared that height.
“The wait didn’t help, and I was getting pretty tired out here,” Lightfoot said. “I jumped quite a few times, needing a third attempt meant I put in more work than usual.”
Lightfoot made three tries at 18-5.5 for a new personal record and a Missouri best but didn’t come close on any. Still, it was quite an exit for Lightfoot, who will next compete for Baylor.
“I’m glad I ended on an 18-foot jump,” Lightfoot said. “That’s a pretty good season.”
Cutting it close
Keegan Cordova’s’ first clue that things were tightening up came as he passed the grandstands.
Cordova had a good lead as he took the baton for Platte County’s anchor leg in the Class 4 3,200-meter relay. And that lead seemed secure until he heard an increasing roar from the crowd.
Cordova delivered the victory, but it wound up being by a slim three-hundredths of a second over Ladue.
“I heard the crowd going crazy,” Cordova said after teaming with Evan McPhatter, Devon Richardson and Nicholas Bjustrom to finish in a school-record 7 minutes, 50.03 seconds. “I knew it would be loud toward the finish but something was going on.”
Cordova couldn’t see Ladue’s Alex Cobin closing the gap on him as they headed down the stretch. That gap kept narrowing until Cordova nipped Cobin at the tape.
"Toward the end, my legs stared locking up a little bit,” said Cordova, who shaved 3 seconds off his personal best on his 800 leg. “I knew it was going to be close, I was scared, and I was pushing all the way.”
No stopping Findley
Tori Findley of Blue Springs South isn’t the kind of person who lets something stick in her craw. Still, she couldn’t help thinking about what happened in last year’s Class 5 girls 1,600 as she took to the track on Friday.
Mother Nature might have cheated Findley out of a victory that day, but she certainly wasn’t on Friday. Findley won going away in a personal-best 4 minutes 51.07 seconds, a good 12 seconds faster than runner-up Emma Roth of Park Hill South.
Findley was leading the 1,600 last year after two laps when severe weather stopped the race. After sitting out a long delay, she found it hard to regain her form and finished second.
“When it rained this morning, I was thinking, ‘please don’t stop us in the middle of the race,” Findley said. “After coming so close last year that made this all the more special.”
Findley will be running for a second Class 5 3,200 title on Saturday as well as running on the Jaguars’ 3,200 relay.
Much better, thanks
Jessica Haney of Lee’s Summit West may have been the only athlete who welcomed the weather delay.
Haney didn’t know if she would get a chance at a third consecutive Class 5 girls high jump title when something she ate the night before started disagreeing with her early Friday morning. Had the meet run on time, she might have never made it to the jumping pit.
But the delay gave Haney enough time to recuperate and win another title. Haney finished at 5 feet, 9 inches, setting a personal record and beating the Class 5 record she set last season.
“The delay ended up helping, because I ended up having a couple of more hours,” Haney said. “By the time the high jump rolled around I was feeling a lot better.”
Haney was one of three champions on the first day of the meet for the LS West’s girls, who are contending for a third-straight state title. Makayla Kelby won the Class 5 girls shot put with a 46-7.25 toss, and Maddie Harris won Class 5 girls javelin with a 138-2 throw.
Other area results
Jordon Woods of William Chrisman won the Class 5 boys triple jump. Woods, a senior, won with a jump of 48-1.5.
Mikayla Deshazer of Lincoln College Prep won the Class 3 girls shot put. Deshazer had a winning throw of 45-8.5.