Heading into Thursday’s Central Ozarks Conference track meet at Ozark, Carthage head coach Andy Youngworth wanted to get as many points out of senior Kaylee Morgan as possible.
Morgan scored as many as she could, winning all four events she participated in to score 40 of Carthage’s 93 points on the day.
Morgan posted a time of 13.15 in the 100, 26.40 in the 200, 1:00.26 in the 400 and a distance of 18-05 in the long jump, cementing her status as perhaps the best female athlete in the conference this season.
“Jarvis Jones is a pretty impressive male athlete, but clearly Kaylee was the class of the female side of the meet,” Youngworth said. “She broke her own record in the long jump, which also broke her own school record she set two years ago. I can’t speak highly enough of her. Missouri Southern is going to get a really special young lady. For a girl who’s never run the 400 to be open to running it the last two meets of the year while getting ready for districts, that says a lot about how unselfish she is and she’ll do anything to help the team.”
Youngworth said he was most impressed by Morgan’s race in the 400. Finishing into a strong head wind, Morgan finished in 1:00.26, barely clipping Nixa’s Allyson Galler, who finished in 1:00.32.
“It would have been easy for her to just cruise in,” Youngworth said. “She still had the 200 left and it was against a really strong wind, but she competed for every inch. That was a four-point swing there. If that girl beats Kaylee, then we’re fouth place. That’s what impresses me the most about her is how hard she competes.”
Morgan’s performance helped the Tigers to a third-place finish on the girls side. Ozark won the meet with 139.5 points, and Branson posted 131 for second. Nixa finished with 91, just two behind Carthage.
Amy Keller gained a point for Carthage in the 100, finishing in eighth place, and she picked up six more in the 200 with a third-place finish. Keller took fourth in the 400.
Shelby Teegarden finished eighth in the 800, while Allison Fix finished 10th. Megan Dawson took 11th in the 100 hurdles, and ninth in the 300 hurdles.
Carthage finished third in the 4x100 meter relay, with Keller, Sierra Barrett, Amanda Shannon and Michaela Joines racing. Dawson, Courtney Burris, Joines and Fix finished fifth in the 4x200 relay; Shannon, Fix, Burris and Teegarden finished seventh in the 4x400 relay; and Fix, Teegarden, Taylor Vaughn and Bree Smart claimed the eighth spot in the 4x800 relay.
“The 4x1 really ran a great last 100 in the race and almost took second,” Youngworth said. “We got nipped a little bit at the end. Our girls’ 4x2 was the first time we’ve run that all year really. We had three freshmen girls on there and Michaela. Allison Fix has been a middle distance runner and we don’t have a lot of depth, so I told her she was going to run the 4x2. She had never run it before or taken an exchange, so we worked on it, and those five points were really big.”
Shannon took fourth in the high jump, and Jennie Snyder finished ninth in the pole vault. Barrett was ninth in the long jump, and finished first in the triple jump, while Emily Petersen took ninth in the event. Emily Goeken finished fifth in the shot put, while Erin parks took eighth. Parks was eighth in the discus, while Goeken took third.
Barrett, a sophomore, set a new personal record in the triple jump.
“Our sophomore girls really stepped up and had a great meet,” Youngworth said. “Overall, I thought our girls competed hard. We’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year.”
The Carthage boys finished in fourth place at the meet, tallying 84 points to top fifth-place Willard by two. Nixa posted 138 for the overall win, Ozark was second at 129 and Webb City finished with 105 points for third.
Stefan Stokes took third in the 100, with Jordan Dangerfield following in sixth. Stokes also finished third in the 200, and Jayde Anderson was 11th in the 400. Ben Southwick earned third in the 800, and finished seventh in the 1600. Charles Whitehead finished 13th in the 1600.
Stokes picked up more points with a first-place finish in the 110 hurdles.
In relay events, the Carthage team of Dangerfield, Cameron Priester, Kennan Harrison and Stokes took third in the 4x100, and Dangerfield, EJ Morgan, Harrison and Matt Vantrease picked up fourth in the 4x200.
Dangerfield, Southwick, Vantrease and Whitehead took fourth in the 4x400, and Southwick, Jose Delval, Carter Hensley and Whitehead picked up fourth in the 4x800.
Jason Eckels finished ninth in the high jump, and Dalton Sprague took eighth in the pole vault, with Vantrease tying for 11th. Morgan finished third in the long jump, and Harrison took seventh. Morgan finished second in the triple jump, with Harrison taking fifth.
Bryan “Bubba” Burns finished sixth in the shot put, and Oliver Sprenkle took 11th. Burns also earned third in the discus.
“We beat Willard by two points, so every point counted,” Youngworth said. “Stefan Stokes won the hurdles and scored in the 100 and 200. Those events are loaded with Jarvis Jones and some really good sprinters from Ozark. Nixa kind of came out of nowhere to win the meet. I thought it would be Webb City or Ozark, but I think everybody thought that. Nixa’s got a coach who’s been there only three or four years and he’s done a great job hiding his kids. I was really impressed with how they competed.”
Youngworth said Southwick, a sophomore, ran “really hard” in the 800, and Burns held his place in the discus despite not having his best throwing day.
“Our young jumpers, Kennan Harrison and EJ Morgan, they both had good days,” Youngworth said. “Both PR’d in the long jump, and that’s a tough event in our conference.”
Carthage now sets its sights on next weekend’s district track meet, set for Saturday.