The pole vault standard was built for premier college athletes, but Missouri state track meet officials wanted to be safe. So as Park Hill senior Christopher Nilsen crept toward a national high school record that he eventually broke last week, they purchased the upgrade.
But it wasn’t needed, after all.
Nilsen fell short of breaking his own mark Saturday at Jefferson City High School, though he still managed to claim a second consecutive Missouri Class 5 pole vault state championship.
He cleared the bar at 16 feet, 9 inches — 3 inches shy of his state record from last season and well shy of the U.S. record he set last week of 18 feet, 4 3/4 inches, which garnered him national attention.
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“It’s definitely not the height I wanted to get, but I came here to win,” Nilsen said. “I’m just really grateful for everything that’s happened this season.”
Grandview senior Maliek Kendall referred to his preliminary hurdles races Friday as disappointing.
But they were equally motivating.
Kendall bounced back Saturday to win the Class 4 110-meter hurdles race in 13.86 seconds.
“(After) the prelims, I told myself, ‘You’re going to push, and you’re going to drive in the finals,’” Kendall said.
Grandview followed his lead, capturing its sixth straight team championship.
Senior Caulin Graves aided the cause, winning both the 100-meter dash (10.64 seconds) and 200 (21.35 seconds).
Lee’s Summit West wins girls title
When Lee’s Summit West sophomore Jana Shawver grabbed the baton, she trailed first place by nearly 50 meters in the Class 5 1,600 relay.
Her ensuing comeback provided the Titans with a fitting end to their day. Lee’s Summit West won the race, capping a Class 5 team championship.
The Titans earned a host of victories Saturday. Nicole Kallenberger repeated as the pole vault champion, reaching 11 feet, 9 inches. Junior Erin Sermons won the 400-meter run, holding off Liberty’s Kaitlyn Lewis.
“I heard the crowd screaming, and I was tempted to take a peek behind me,” Sermons said. “I’m just glad I held on.”
Sophomore Kyra Atkins won the 300 hurdles in 42.79 seconds. And a day after winning the shot put title, sophomore Makayla Kelby added the discus title with a mark of 153 feet, 3 inches.
New event, same result
As Pleasant Hill senior Logan Blomquist worked to improve his shot put this week, he developed a kink in his release.
But he relocated the right touch Saturday. Blomquist unleashed a shot put of 58 feet, 6 3/4 inches to win the Class 4 title.
“I started out pretty rough,” Blomquist said. “My coach had been telling me to block the left. I finally did it, and I got a good one.”
After winning the 200 last spring, Raymore-Peculiar senior Micah Beaver won the 100 dash Saturday in 10.65 seconds.
“Everyone beat me off the line because I had a bad start, but I was able to catch up,” he said.
Truman senior Alexis Hart returned to the top of the podium, winning the Class 5 girls triple jump with a leap of 38 feet, 3 inches. She won the long jump in 2014.
Blue Springs South senior Savion Cauveren won the Class 5 boys 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, with a personal record in the first race and breaking a class record in the latter.
“It’s the state finals,” he said. “You gotta bring your best.”
Raytown South senior Quincy Hall successfully defended his title in the Class 4 boys 400-meter run. He also took part on the winning 800 relay team before closing out the meet by anchoring another victory in the 1,600 relay.
On the girls side, Raytown South senior Skyler Paige used a personal-best time of 14.73 to win the Class 4 100-meter hurdles. She was part of the winning 800 relay team, as well. The Cardinals also won the girls 400 relay.
“I just tried to focus on improving my time and not worry about what everyone else was doing,” Paige said.
Liberty North won the Class 5 boys 800 relay and the 400 relay, propelled by a comeback anchored by Jon Redmond.
▪ After a pair of second-place finishes last year, Blue Springs senior Justin Hall moved up a spot on the podium, winning the Class 5 boys triple jump with a mark of 48 feet, 8 1/4 inches.
“I was hoping for more, but I had some big jumps that I scratched,” Hall said. “It still turned out all right.”
▪ After winning the Class 3 long jump Friday, Lincoln Prep senior Tasjia Thomas won the girls triple jump Saturday. Lincoln Prep freshman Mikayla Deshazer won the Class 3 discus.
▪ Kearney junior Clayton Adams won the Class 4 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 17.55 seconds.
▪ Pleasant Hill junior Donna Borer won the Class 4 girls discus with a throw of 149 feet, 9 inches.
▪ Lawson senior Nikita Smith won the Class 3 girls 400 in 56.53 seconds.
▪ Ruskin senior Antonio Sisco won the boys para 200-meter race.