Just make every second count: A phrase that sounds like the makings of an inspirational poster is also the philosophy of The Star’s All-Metro girls track and field athlete of the year Molly Born.
Born made the seconds count this year, more so than anyone in Kansas Class 6A history. She broke a 37-year-old state record when she finished the 3,200-meter race at the state meet in 10 minutes, 20.22 seconds. It was the second straight state title for the sophomore from Shawnee Mission Northwest.
But it wasn’t enough. Born went back to the track the next day and won another repeat state title, this time in the 1,600-meter race. And she broke another state record while she was at it, finishing in 4:51.09.
“I went into both races just wanting to PR (personal record) and just trying to make every second count,” Born said. “I had the state records in my head, but I still can’t believe it happened.”
Born, who is also a cross country state champion, runs between 40 and 45 miles every week. The hours she’s poured in have paid off. After her successful high school season, she traveled to Seattle in June where she ran in the Brooks PR Invitational against some of the best runners in the country. She placed fifth in the two-mile race at 10:11.36.
With two years still on the docket for Born’s high school career, she someday wants to get her times close enough to qualify for the Olympic trials.
All of the success she’s had so far, though? It’s come as a surprise to Born.
“No one else in my family runs, so it’s weird to think that only I would be good at it,” she said. “I started running in middle school, and it’s just kind of hard to believe where it’s taken me.”
The Star’s All-Metro girls track and field team
▪ First team: Carlie Queen, Summit Christian Academy, junior. She captured a third straight Missouri Class 2 state championship in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 6 inches. A week earlier, she jumped 5 feet, 8 inches for the sectional title.
▪ Honorable mention: Jessica Haney, Lee’s Summit West, freshman.
▪ First team: Nicole Kallenberger, Lee’s Summit West, senior. For the second straight year, Kallenberger won the Missouri Class 5 championship, clearing 11 feet, 9 inches. She reached 12 feet to win her sectional meet.
▪ Honorable mention: Callie Hicks, Lawrence Free State, senior.
▪ First team: Jazmin Williams, Shawnee Mission North, senior. With a jump of 19 feet, 3 inches, Williams won the Sunflower League championship, then followed that up with a Kansas Class 6A state title at 18 feet, 3 1/4 inches. She also won her second state title in the 300-meter hurdles.
▪ Honorable mention: Avrie Jones, Liberty, sophomore.
▪ First team: Jessie Stindt, Shawnee Mission East, sophomore. Stindt jumped a personal record of 38 feet, 9 inches in the 6A state meet, winning the championship. She also won her regional meet, and was second at the KU Relays.
▪ Honorable mention: Alexis Hart, Truman, senior.
▪ First team: Aarika Lister, Leavenworth, sophomore. Lister won the Sunflower League (11.65 seconds), the KU Relays (11.86) and her region (11.96) before taking home a Kansas Class 5A state crown in 11.98. She also was a state champion in the 200.
▪ Honorable mention: Garionna Pearl, Raymore-Peculiar, freshman.
▪ First team: Jacqueline Darby, Olathe South, senior. For the third year running, Darby took home a Kansas Class 6A state crown in the 200 (24.96 seconds). She also added her second straight 100 state title.
▪ Honorable mention: Demitra Carter, Sumner Academy, junior.
▪ First team: Erin Sermons, Lee’s Summit West, junior. She won the Missouri Class 5 championship in 55.71 seconds. She also won conference, sectional and district titles in the 400.
▪ Honorable mention: Nikita Smith, Lawson, senior.
▪ First team: Jana Shawver, Lee’s Summit West, sophomore. She won her conference, sectional and district meets before placing fourth in Missouri Class 5. She was second at Kansas Relays and had a season-best time of 2 minutes, 11.80 seconds.
▪ Honorable mention: Kami Tabor, Raymore-Peculiar, senior.
▪ First team: Makayla Kelby, Lee’s Summit West, sophomore. In two seasons, Kelby already has three Missouri Class 5 gold medals after she won the shot put and discus this spring. Her season-best discus throw was 163 feet, 6 inches.
▪ Honorable mention: Donna Borer, Pleasant Hill, junior.
▪ First team: Gabby Hopkins, Mill Valley, junior. Her throw of 43 feet, 1 1/2 inches went far enough for second place in Kansas Class 5A. She also won her regional meet, and was third at the KU Relays.
▪ Honorable mention: DeeNia McMiller, Winnetonka, senior.
▪ First team: Jenna Gray, St. James Academy, senior. Gray set a state record and won a Kansas Class 5A title with her throw of 162 feet in the state meet. It was the second straight state championship for the future Stanford volleyball player.
▪ First team: Skyler Paige, Raytown South, senior. With a career-best time of 14.73 seconds, Paige won the Missouri Class 4 state championship. She also qualified in the long jump.
▪ Honorable mention: Dacia Harris, Olathe East, senior.
▪ First team: Kyra Atkins, Lee’s Summit West, sophomore. In a photo finish, Atkins won the Missouri Class 5 state championship in 42.79 seconds. She was also a conference, sectional and district champion.
▪ Honorable mention: Danielle Reichart, Shawnee Mission South, sophomore.
▪ First team: Emily Venters, Lawrence Free State, junior. A regional winner in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, Venters finished second in both events at the Kansas Class 6A state meet. Her 4:56.93 finish in the 1,600 was fewer than 6 seconds away from Molly Born’s record-setting pace.
▪ Honorable mention: Rebekah Geddes, Platte County, sophomore.
▪ First team: Molly Born, Shawnee Mission Northwest, sophomore. Born broke a Kansas Class 6A record in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, on her way to two state crowns.
▪ Honorable mention: Cameron Gueldner, Olathe Northwest, senior.
▪ First team: Raytown South. The Cardinals blistered the course to win the Missouri Class 4 race in 47.69 seconds, with junior Nia Lunn, sophomore Kyla Davis, junior Sunni Sellers and senior Chance Truss climbing to the top of the podium.
▪ First team: Lee’s Summit West. The Titans finished second in Missouri Class 5, even though they bested the previous class record by more than a second. The team of sophomore Jana Shawver, sophomore Kyra Atkins, senior Bryce Lang and junior Erin Sermons finished in 1 minute, 39.82 seconds.
▪ First team: Lee’s Summit West. With a season-best time of 3 minutes, 52.0 seconds, the Titans won a close race in Missouri Class 5. Sophomore Kyra Atkins, senior Bryce Lang, junior Erin Sermons and sophomore Jana Shawver ran the four legs.
▪ First team: Olathe East. East won the Kansas Class 6A state championship in 9:35.87, with a team of senior Kayla Davis, senior Yulissa DelaTorre, junior Emily Schmeeckle and senior Allison Vermillion.