Andy Youngworth, Carthage High School track and field coach, took a moment Wednesday to commend his track and field athletes for another successful season and then shifted focus to the task at hand, the upcoming 2010 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships in Jefferson City.


Andy Youngworth, Carthage High School track and field coach, took a moment Wednesday to commend his track and field athletes for another successful season and then shifted focus to the task at hand, the upcoming 2010 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships in Jefferson City.

Junior Evan Adams, the sectional champion in the 800-meter run and a member of the state-bound 4x400-meter relay team, enters this weekend’s main event the Tigers’ Most Valuable Performer.

“I think, with his (time in the 800 open run), he’s one of the top four or five runners in the state,” Youngworth said.    

Adams, of course, has emerged as one of Carthage’s best athletes over the past two seasons, totaling the most points on the track this year for the Tigers. Adams, a returning state qualifier, is back in primetime after a stirring performance in the 800, where he captured first, before helping the 4x400 relay team advance last weekend at the sectional meet in Lebanon.

The Tigers are sending five athletes to state in two events for this year’s track and field championships Friday and Saturday at Dwight T. Reed Stadium on the campus of Lincoln University.

For the first time since the mid 1990s, the 800 run will feature preliminaries, with the individual heat winners and the six fastest times advancing to the finals on Saturday.

Under the old format, the top four runners in each heat would advance to finals.
Adams, who is ranked third after finishing first with a time of 1 minute, 57.46 seconds, is set to run in the preliminaries of the open 800 this afternoon. Adams’ ranking, according to Youngworth, is misleading.

“I have a feeling it’s going to be a very tactical race during the preliminaries,” Youngworth said. “Realistically, I think Evan has a good chance of reaching the finals. After that, it’s a crapshoot, but I think he has a chance to do really well.”

Needless to say, the majority of runners may take a conservative approach to the preliminaries of the open 800 run.

“You want to win your heat, but on the other hand, you can’t go out and die on the vine,” Youngworth said,

The 4x400 relay team, set to run preliminaries this evening, enters ranked 14th out of 16 teams, which means each athlete, realistically, needs to drop approximately a second in order to reach finals.

Carthage’s team includes Hayden Vaughn, Carthage’s lone senior qualifier, Griff Schramm, David Vogt and Evan Adams, who brought the team back from the brink by erasing a 20-meter deficit to place fourth.

“I’m not sure Hayden and Griff are topped out yet,” Youngworth said. “They both ran a high 51 (split), and both can drop their times a little bit. “I know David (who has battled shin splints recently) can … he has run faster in the past. But he has earned the opportunity to run at state and he looked good in his workout Monday.”

Conceivably, the Tigers could set a team PR in the 4x400 relay during preliminaries and not advance to finals, which goes to show how good the rest of the field is.

“And that’s with four guys averaging 49 seconds and some change,” Youngworth added. “That’s just a whole different realm of speed.”

Sophomore Kaylee Morgan, who is making her second consecutive state appearance, held off Kickapoo’s Ceckia Pierce in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.21 for fourth last weekend at the sectional meet.

“She is going to have to get a quality start out of the blocks,” Youngworth said. “The good thing for her is, this is her second state meet, so she has some experience and I think that’s going to help.

“I’m not sure how fast Kaylee really is,” Youngworth admitted. “I think she’s going to keep improving.”

Morgan, who narrowly missed qualifying for state in the 100-meter dash, also advanced with the Lady Tigers’ 4x100 relay team, which set a new school record with a time of 50.37. This year’s 4x100 relay team, which includes two freshmen, is seeded 14th overall.

“We broke the school record last week,” Youngworth said. “If we get good exchanges, we could break it again. Realistically, they’re going to have to drop almost a full second as a team, and that’s a better handoff or better start.”

Kassidey Borland, another returning state qualifier, and Morgan are set to lead freshmen Ashton Ralston and Shelbie Huffman, along with Chloe Shepherd and Bailey Beckner.

“You never know,” Youngworth said. “Strange things happen at state.”