Two seniors, a junior and three sophomores will represent the Carthage track and field program at this weekend’s Class 4 state championship meet at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Friday and Saturday’s championships will mark the 86th boys’ championships, and the 38th for the girls.
With the top four finishers in each event advancing to state, the Tigers qualified in six events at last Saturday’s Class 4, Sectional 3 meet at West Plains High School.
Senior Kaylee Morgan will compete in the long jump, 100 meter dash, 4x100 relay and the 200 meter dash. Morgan placed third in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet, three inches out of first place and a foot and a half below her seed distance after fouling twice.
“Kaylee didn’t jump very well and there was a head wind,” Carthage coach Andy Youngworth said. “None of the girls jumped well. She fouled her first jump, and when you do that at the sectional meet, you’ve got to get a mark. None of the girls jumped close to their season’s best. Her last jump was probably an 18-foot jump and she fouled again.”
Morgan finished fourth in the 100 with a time of 12.83, and she took second in the 200 with a time of 26.67.
“She didn’t get a great start in the 100 and had to work her way up,” Youngworth said. “There was only .12 seconds separating first from fourth, so you can’t fault her for that. She had the top time out of our district going in, and those are very talented young ladies who beat her. In the 200 she got a great start, and a girl from Columbia Rock Bridge beat her in the last 10 meters.”
The 4x100 relay team of sophomores Amy Keller, Sierra Barrett, Amanda Shannon and Morgan finished third with a time of 50.47.
“We had good exchanges and I don’t know what place Kaylee was in when she got the baton, probably fifth, and she just had such athletic ability she was able to roll up Glendale and Jefferson City at the end. That’s a season’s best for us.”
It also marks the fifth-straight year Carthage has qualified for state in the girls’ 4x100 relay. Keller ran the curve last year, and Morgan has anchored the relay for at least two years, but Barrett and Shannon were new additions to the relay this season.
“You’re not going to replace Kaylee, but we’ll find a fourth who will be very good next season,” Youngworth said.
Carthage will be sending two boys to state in junior Bryan Burns and senior Stefan Stokes. Stokes was crowned the sectional champion in the 110 hurdles, posting a time of 15.03.
“I teased him afterwards and told him he decided hew as going to give the field a two or three-step lead, but he’s got such good foot speed he was able to make up the distance,” Youngworth said. “He’s our only sectional champion. Last year he false-started at districts and we had another hurdler who false-started a couple years ago when he was going into the district hurdles as the top seed, so we’ve had a little bit of a snake-bitten history the last few years in the hurdles. It’s good to see for Stefan. He spent a lot of time in the summer and winter working towards this, and it was very gratifying to see him qualify.”
Burns qualified for state with a second-place finish in the discus, as the junior threw 168-01 to beat his seed distance by more than 20 feet. The throw also topped Burns’ personal record by 12 feet.
“Bubba had a great series of throws,” Youngworth said. “He was in first place with one throw left and a kid from Willard beat him by a few inches. Bubba was pretty pumped.”
The throw put Burns within three feet of the school record, set more than a decade ago.
Carthage competed in 14 events at the sectional meet. With the top four moving on to state, the Tigers came close in several events, but did not qualify.
Barrett finished sixth in the triple jump with a distance of 34-03.
Sophomore EJ Morgan finished seventh in the boys triple jump, with a distance of 42-00.
Junior Emily Goeken, a state qualifier last season, placed fifth in the discus with a distance of 118-03.
“I know she’s disappointed, she was two feet away,” Youngworth said. “If she had thrown her season’s best she would have gotten out, but it was a pretty tricky wind. She qualified last year and didn’t make it this year, but she had pretty major knee surgery last summer and it cost her the volleyball season and half her basketball season. I’m not sure she’s 100 percent healthy, but I know she’ll be healthier next year and we’ll be improved.”
Burns finished seventh in the shot put with a distance of 44-04.50, nearly five feet below his seed distance.
The boys’ 4x800 relay team of sophomores Ben Southwick and Carter Hensley, along with senior Charles Whitehead and junior Hunter Blount, finished eighth with a time of 8:33.50.
“Ben ran a great lead leg,” Youngworth said. “We were with the leaders. Carter and Hunter ran a couple seconds slower than we did the week before, so we added some time, but that was such an emotional race last week for us that it’s pretty hard to bottle that.”
The boys’ 4x100 relay team of junior Jordan Dangerfield, sophomore Cameron Priester, sophomore Kennan Harrison and Stokes finished fifth with a time of 43.51. The time set a new PR for the team by almost half a second.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries and things that kept us from being 100 percent on that relay,” Youngworth said. “We’ve run the same four runners maybe two or three times all year, so for them to come out and run as fast as they did says a lot about them.”
Keller finished sixth in the girls’ 400 with a time of 1:01.89.
The girls’ 4x400 relay team finished seventh, with Keller, freshman Allison Fix, Shannon and freshman Shelby Teegarden finishing in 4:24.92. That time was at least a second longer than the district time, but the relay team moved up a spot in the standings.
“If we’re not in the hunt to qualify, our goal is either to PR and/or move up in the rankings and we did. Two sophomores and two freshmen on that team, and they’re just going to get better,” Youngworth said.
In the sectional team standings, the girls finished seventh with 37 points, while the boys finished 10th with 27 points.
Jefferson City took first on the girls’ side, Joplin finished 11th, Neosho finished 14th and Webb City finished 20th. The Webb City boys took fourth, while Joplin and Neosho were 14th and 15th, respectively.
“We’ve got a very tough sectional,” Youngworth said. “Jeff City and Columbia Rock Bridge are the two premier teams in that sectional. Our girls finished seventh. We beat everybody we’ve beaten all year and we were only a handful of points away from fifth. We had six girls there, and when you score that many points in just six events that says something.”