The discus throw is Lee’s Summit West sophomore Makayla Kelby’s specialty. And it’s what landed her a state championship in her freshman season.
But she strove to diversify her resume this spring, electing to spend the majority of her practice time working to perfect the shot put.
It paid off, too.
Kelby won the Missouri Class 5 girls shot put state title on Friday at Jefferson City High School, recording a mark of 44 feet, 10 3/4 inches.
“I was more focused on the shot (put) because I’ve been struggling in that,” Kelby said. “But I still had the confidence I could win it. Having the competition like this helps me perform so much better.”
Kelby will attempt to defend her discus championship Saturday.
She was able to claim Friday’s title before weather washed out the final portion of the scheduled events. The second-day schedule has been adjusted to accommodate a heavier workload.
Hogan Prep thrower sets record
A Division I football career awaits Hogan Prep senior William Bradley-King, who in the fall inked a letter of intent to attend Arkansas State.
But first things first.
In the final weekend of his high school athletic career, Bradley-King added his name to the state record book. He launched a discus throw of 188 feet, 4 inches Friday and won the Class 3 title and set the class record.
“I’ve been saying I was going to break the Class 3 discus record since last year,” Bradley-King said. “I felt like I threw it great.”
A long time coming
When he was 6 years old, William Chrisman junior James Bailey signed up for his first track team. He qualified for multiple state and national meets, but each time he concluded his season just shy of a first-place medal.
The elusive gold finally came Friday.
Bailey won the Class 5 boys discus with a throw of 182 feet, 8 inches.
“I’ve been wanting this since I was a kid,” Bailey said. “This is the first huge event that I’ve always wanted to win that I came out on top.”
Bailey will compete in the Class 5 shot put on Saturday.
Winnetonka’s McMiller wins shot put title
Winnetonka senior DeeNia McMiller stepped into the shot put ring, and the significance of the approaching moment hit her — she had only one attempt left in her high school career.
She made the most of it.
McMiller recorded a shot put of 42 feet, 8 1/2 inches on her final attempt to win the Class 4 event Friday.
“Really, for me, it was just about getting over my nerves because my nerves really do get the best of me at times,” McMiller said “I just had to clear my mind for a minute.”
Lincoln Prep jumper wins title
Lincoln Prep senior Tasjia Thomas battled hamstring and knee injuries throughout the spring. The combination held her out of events until the week before the postseason began.
It didn’t take long to rediscover her groove.
Thomas won the Class 3 girls long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 10 3/4 inches.
“Ever since I got to Lincoln, my goal was to win state,” Thomas said. “With all the injuries, I didn’t know if it was going to happen this year.”
▪ Lee’s Summit West freshman Jessica Haney won the Class 5 girls long jump when she cleared 5 feet, 7 inches.
▪ Kearney opened its state track meet in style. The Bulldogs won the Class 4 3,200 relay race, the initial event of the day.
Kearney’s team of freshman Mason Marshall, senior Spencer Wolters, junior Clayton Adams and junior Nick Pierce completed the run in 7 minutes, 57.92 seconds.