First off all I would like to say that this is a great meet in great part due to a giant in this sport. Marion Freeman's contributions and dedication to track and field throughout the years was recognized by MSHSAA last spring. His annual meet at Clayton is one we always look forward to covering this meet.
Last week we had the treat of watching Amos Bartelsmeyer and Spencer Haik, the top two milers, duke it out at Kansas. This week Amos is back in action but in the 800. He will be faced up with stiff competition yet again this week with Charles “CJ” Jones. CJ, who ran the 7th best time in the nation last year (1:49.78), is coming off of his best race of the 2012 season. Last week he recorded the state’s best time in the 800 with a blazing 1:54.16. The last time these two raced each other, CJ broke the Class 3 State Record for 800m and just missed the overall record. With Amos not entered in the 1600 he will be fresh and ready to run at a blistering pace. While Amos and CJ have PR’s over five seconds faster than the next competitor, a couple other people in the field to keep an eye on will be Marcus Davis, and Darren Payton. Davis is coming off of a victory in the 400m at Kansas and currently has a personal best of 1:56.88. Payton will be coming across the river with Cahokia. He had a great indoor season running 1:57.06 but has struggled with the transition to outdoors. His PR of 1:55.14 shows that he can compete with these guys.
Marion Freeman has always brought some great sprint relay times and this year will be no different. The 4x4 should send the meet off with Fireworks with Cahokia, Hazelwood Central, and Cardinal Ritter all entered. Hazelwood Central and Cahokia faced off a couple weeks back at Corey Siebert which brought the top times for Illinois and Missouri. Hazelwood Central won that battle by .09 seconds with a swift clocking of 3:20.59. Central is a perianal powerhouse in Missouri and this year is no different. Their top three guys – Marcus Davis, Matt Quarrells, and Brandon Chunn, are the top three 400 runners in the state. Cahokia will feature a number of big guns including freshman sensation Ja’Mari Ward, sub 50 guy Marin Brady, and Jalon Monigan. Ritter will have the benefit of having CJ who has been reported at splitting in the 46-47 range when he is at the top of his game. I have no doubt that with good conditions we will see multiple times sub 3:20.
Nearly every field event has something special to watch out for. In the horizontal jumps, freshman phenom Ja’Mari Ward of Cahokia will be putting on a show. Ward is currently the 2nd best freshman in the nation for LJ (23-2.5) and the best frosh Triple Jumper in the nation (47-7.5). In the triple jump he will be facing off against his teammate, Jalon Monigan, who jumped 46-4.5 at the MSSU Lion Invitational back in February. In the Long Jump it will be another teammate – Chris Moore – who will be challenging Ward. Moore beat Ward in the triple jump at the unofficial Illinois Indoor state meet but was second to him in the long jump. In the Shot Put, Josh McDonald highlights the field. While Discus is his better event, he recorded a mark of 55-11 at the Kansas Relays to place 7th. With competition like Demetrius Bernard (ranked #6 in MO) and Martinus Mitchell (IL#12), we will most likely see some great marks in the Shot. The Pole Vault will include Zach Reed. Reed has had a breakout season which has led to the best mark in the state (15-3).
Hurdle Star Ezekiel Elliott will be racing the 110’s and 300 Hurdles this weekend. Cahokia’s Chris Moore who ran 38.50 back in the first weekend of April is also entered which should provide a good matchup for Elliott. The 3200 should be a good race with Amos Bartelsmeyer moving up a bit. He did show great distance, winning the Class 3 XC State Title in the Fall despite missing much of the season due to Mono. The Class 3 leader, Kirk Smith, is also entered, along with the third-ranked Class 3 Runner, Sheldon Keence.
Missouri Milesplit will be On-Site for both Thursday and Saturday. Pictures will be uploaded each night.