Class 1 Girls
Delaney Straus Wins Distance Treble, Close 2nd In 400
It's a dubious quadruple. It's also one that very few have attempted.
Rarely does an athlete attempt to win the 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 at the state level. In fact, the last time we saw it attempted, Hardin-Central's Riley Gorham in 2017, a similar outcome occurred.
The only difference was that instead of finishing 4th in addition to the distance treble, Marion County's Delaney Straus finished a close second and narrowly missed achieving the feat.
Oh, and Gorham was a senior. Straus is a freshman.
When asked whose idea it was to try all four events, she said, "My dad's."
"In junior high, I got the mile record for my school and then I got the 800 and my dad said, 'Why don't we try the 400?' and I ended up being pretty good at it so I just stuck with it."
"Pretty good" is an understatement for Straus. Though she would finish second in the race to Greenwood's Danielle Wilson, she would still come across the line 0.63 seconds back in 1:00.18 in her fourth race of the weekend.
But in the longer distance events, Straus was all business, getting to the front pack and attacking each event. She kicked off her weekend with a 3200 victory in 11:55.71, 6 seconds ahead of defending champion and perennial all-stater Ashley Riley of Jefferson/Platte Valley. Next came the 1600, her third race of the weekend after the 400 prelims on Friday, and, in similar dominating fashion, Straus finished in 5:22.94 to grab the win. The 800 ended her weekend and she was able to walk away with yet another gold in a personal best of 2:20.73. We spoke with her after her 3200 victory on Friday:
The freshman scored 38 points on her own and earned Marion County a fourth place team trophy as a result.
With three more years left to continue to improve, Straus could become the next big thing in the distance events in the state of Missouri.
Miller, Jensen Square Off In High Jump
Two of the best female high jumpers in the entire state squared off on Friday in the Class 1 competition. Stanberry senior Marissa Jensen, the returning state champion and Class 1 state meet record holder at 5-7.25, went toe-to-toe with St. Joseph Christian sophomore Brooklyn Miller for the fourth straight week.
Jensen won the previous three meetings, but on Friday, it was all Miller.
Both athletes were the last to come in, starting out at 4-11 as only 8 athletes had remained. Miller cleared each height on her first try all the way up to 5-3. Her first miss came at 5-4, but that would prove to be her only at that height. Jensen took a different approach, limiting her jumps as the heights increased and the athletes dwindled. She cleared 4-11 and 5-0 on her first try, passed at 5-1, cleared 5-2 in one attempt, passed again at 5-3, and then cleared 5-4 also in two attempts. The two athletes were tied and the only two remaining as the bar rose to 5-5.
Both athletes missed on their first two attempts and it appeared that this event may be going to a jump off. But, on her final attempt, Miller cleared the height. Jensen would miss on her third attempt, giving Miller her first ever state title.
"It's so crazy," Miller said about winning the title. She also had many nice things to say about her fellow competitor, Jensen.
"I don't think I'd be jumping as high if it wasn't for her pushing me to go higher."
Blue Eye Wins Three Of Four Relays, Holds On For Team Title
Who says you need a track to win a team state title?
Blue Eye does not adhere to whatever mold you think fits for a state champion team. They improvise daily based on the situation, borrowing time on nearby high school tracks, running repeats in fields around the school, doing handoffs in the gym and hallways, the ladies from Blue Eye have done it all.
Not to mention, it's only their second year as a track team.
We had heard about the Arnold sisters and the freshman trifecta of Riley, Avery, and Braylynn Siercks. The trio burst on the scene this fall when they went 1-2-11 during at the cross country state meet in Class 1 to help their team secure a second place team finish. But the Lady Bulldogs distance crew could not hold off Worth County (see below) without some help.
The freshman trio teamed up with the elder Arnold sister, senior Taylor Arnold, to win the 4x800 relay on Friday in 10:02.46. Later in the day, Riley would take fourth in the 3200 (12:06.44) with Siercks finishing 6th (13:03.05). On Saturday, the distance girls would continue to tear up the track as Riley and Avery finished second and fourth in the 1600 in 5:25.69 and 5:28.51 respectively. Avery would go on to place fifth in the 800 in 2:26.78.
As previously mentioned, though, it wasn't all on the distance girls this weekend. They still needed 33 more points if they were going to secure the victory. That's where Kyla Warren, Mackenzie Hobbs, Madison Box, and Kohnnar Patton came in. The four combined to chip in the next 33 points with 20 points coming from 4x200 and 4x100 victories and the other 13 coming from a third place finish in the 4x400, an eighth place finish in the 400 from Hobbs, and a third place finish in the 200 from Warren. Two of the eight athletes mentioned are seniors as Blue Eye will return a competitive crop of athletes to go for the repeat in 2020.
Fun fact: Blue Eye won three of the four relay events and placed third in the 4x400. This was their first year with the ability to field relay teams.
Spiers, Gladstone, Pole Vaulters Help Worth County Finish Runner-Up
With 18 events in the books, Blue Eye had secured the team title. But Worth County, sitting in second by 19 points, still wanted to make it a little interesting.
Coming off a second place finish (on a rock, paper, scissors loss to West Platte) in 2018, Worth County returned some of the top athletes in Class 1 and looked poised to challenge for the win again. Though they would fall just 1 point short, it was still a weekend to remember for the Lady Tigers.
Junior Anna Gladstone did the brunt of the heavy lifting, hitting for "the cycle," and scoring 29 of their 67 points with a long jump victory (17-10.25, +2.2), third place high jump finish (5-2), fourth place finish in the 100m Hurdles (16.23, +2.3), and second place finish in the 300m Hurdles (46.89).
Junior Merrideth Spiers defended her Class 1 discus title with a 132-5 heave and finished second in the shot put with a 40-1 mark. Her throws prowess had added 18 more points, which would be later matched by the pole vaulting duo of Regan Allee and Keelin Engel. The last event contested and scored, the 18 points added from Allee's victory (9-9) and Engel's runner-up finish (9-0) helped the Tigers finish a mere point behind Blue Eye for the team title. Elizabeth Lyle added the two points in the high jump that made it officially 67.
With 65 of their 67 points returning for the 2020 season, the battle between Blue Eye and Worth County will absolutely be one to watch next season.