With the cancelation of the 2020 season comes the swifter-than-hoped departure of some of Missouri's all-time most decorated athletes.
Once the calendar turns to June, the Class of 2020 across the state officially becomes college students. Athletes like Justin Robinson, Brandon Miller, Alicia Burnett, Courtney Williams, Wes Porter, Martin Strong, Jack Crull, Madison Hulsey, Riley Burger, and Michelle Owens, among others, all have tragically lost their opportunity to close out their phenomenal high school careers with the senior seasons so many others have received.
We've saluted many of our seniors over the past month, but would have loved to see them receive a proper send-off.
When MileSplitUSA posted their Class of 2021 Recruit Rankings back in November, for the first time since the national team began running these rankings, a Missourian girl was listed among the Top 5. The Columbia native Tyra Wilson came in at No. 4.
Wilson's resume coming off her sophomore season was other-worldly.
Not only did she become the top all-time hurdler in the state in both of the hurdle events, but she was the top 2019 sophomore in the country in them, too. She posted US No. 1 marks among 10th graders in the 100 Meter Hurdles and 300 Meter Hurdles after running 13.39 (+1.7) and 40.79, respectively. Her 100 Hurdles mark came at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships and her 300 Hurdles mark came at the prestigious Great Southwest Classic. The marks were also US No. 3 and US No. 6 all-time among sophomores. Furthermore, her 400 Meter Hurdles mark of 58.33 was US No. 2 among 2019 sophomores and No. 3 all-time.
Regardless of age group, the hurdle marks were US No. 4 (100mH), US No. 2 (300mH) by 0.01 seconds, and US No. 4 (400mH).
And that was just in the hurdles.
Wilson added a triple jump mark of 40 feet, 1/2 inch to the mix, US No. 10 among 2019 sophomores and MO No. 9 all-time (regardless of age). Her 39-5.5 jump at the 2019 Class 5 State Meet earned her one of her three gold medals on the day (the other two coming in the hurdles, of course).
In the open events, Wilson has posted marks in the 200 and 400 of 24.27 and 56.53. The 200 came last season, but her 56.63 came in the summer after her strong freshman season. A 24.47 earned her second place at the state meet in the 200 last spring. All totaled, she alone scored 38 points for her Rock Bridge squad.
Her freshman season told a tale that the phenomenal performances were coming soon. The state champion in the 300m Hurdles and anchor on the 5th place 4x400 Meter Relay, Wilson posted personal bests of 14.24, 42.71, 1:00.31, 38-4.5, and 56.63 in the 100mH, 300mH, 400mH, triple jump, and 400, respectively.
It's easy to expect even more was on the way this spring from Wilson. Though she only raced once this winter, she's shown that she is one of the premier talents not just in Missouri, but in the entire country, so the rust would have been busted quickly.
As someone who has consistently raced both on the summer and winter circuit over her middle and high school career, expect to see her in an event or two should there be summer meets this year.
MileSplitUSA released their Class of 2021 Boys Recruiting Rankings in November and Lee's Summit's Johnny Brackins was the only Missourian to check in on the list, coming at No. 31. Brackins' sensational sophomore outdoor and junior indoor campaigns sealed the deal for Brackins as one of the nation's best juniors.
Brackins broke through in a big way last spring. After a strong freshman season which culminated in a 7th place finish in the Class 5 110m Hurdles, Brackins' steadily climbed through the summer and winter into a massive sophomore breakthrough.
Closing out his freshman season with three All-American finishes at the AAU Junior Olympics, Brackins moved into an abbreviated sophomore indoor season where he posted marks 8.26 in the 60m Hurdles, 22-5 in the long jump, and 44-9.5 in the triple jump.
At the Gary Parker Invitational in mid-April, Brackins put himself on the map with a 24-1.75 long jump and his career best triple jump of 48-10.5.
His long jump was among the top all-conditions jumps in the nation, but his eye-popping 25-1.5 leap later that month helped him finish as the second best sophomore in the nation. His 24-0.5 (+0.8) jump to finish second at the AAU Junior Olympics was tied for the second best wind legal mark among sophomores.
In the triple jump, Brackins finished second at the Class 5 State Meet with his 47-9.5 mark. His 48-10.5 personal best was third in the country among all-conditions marks for 10th graders and the 48-5 (+1.6) to win the AAU Junior Olympics National Championship put him No. 5 in the nation among wind-legal marks.
On the track, Brackins added impressive marks and performances in the 110m Hurdles and three open sprint events. He closed out his sophomore year with a 14.20 (-3.0) best in the 110m Hurdles, earning him another runner-up finish at the Class 5 State meet and US No. 6 wind-legal mark among sophomores. He also posted 10.94, 21.94, and 49.67 marks in the 100, 200, and 400, respectively. All of three of those marks were among the top three in the state among sophomores, with the 49.67 mark being tops in the 400.
All totaled, Brackins individually contributed 26 points to his team's 7th place effort in 2019.
Before the cancelation of the 2020 season, the Lee's Summit junior climbed all the way to No. 22 in the MileSplit50 indoor rankings. Something was certainly brewing for Brackins this spring as he closed out the indoor campaign with the US No. 2 long jump of 24-6.5 and US No. 11 triple jump of 48-2.75. The 8.06 mark in the 60m Hurdles also ranked US No. 27 and No. 9 among juniors.
The abrupt end of the 2020 season brought with it the abrupt end of the high school careers of Missouri's most recognizable faces on the boys track and field circuit - Justin Robinson and Brandon Miller - but as the head off to Arizona State and Texas A&M respectively, it appears that they will be passing the torch to Lee's Summit native Johnny Brackins as the next national superstar from the Show Me State.