Talk about an indoor season breakthrough.
Joplin's Donovyn Fowler was gearing up to climb the national rankings this spring after dropping a massive personal best in the long jump and nearly matching his wind-aided triple jump best.
The 23 foot jump he unleashed at his lone indoor meet ranked him tied for 35th overall and 2nd among sophomores nationally, as well as 3rd overall in Missouri and well ahead of the second best Show-Me State sophomore. In the triple jump, Fowler cleared 46-4.25, just off his 46-9 (+2.4) from last summer's AAU Junior Olympics, but tops nationally among all sophomores on the indoor circuit.
Now ranked 40th in MileSplit's Class of 2022 Recruiting Rankings, Fowler is on his way to becoming a national talent, especially after adding over 15 inches to his long jump lifetime best.
Crane's Aric Spyres makes the list as one of the Class of 2022's best high and long jumpers in the entire state.
Last spring, he cleared 6-2 in the high jump, third best among all freshmen, and finished out his season 5th at the Class 2 State Meet. A couple of trips to Columbia this winter proved fruitful, though, as Spyres cleared 6-3.5 twice to place among the top sophomores in the entire country.
In the long jump, Spyres cleared 18-10 as a freshman, but destroyed that mark during the indoor season when he cleared 20-1.25. Spyres is clearly one of the next men up in the jumps events, particularly among Class 2 jumpers.
(Photo from Mizzou Indoor Series Championship Meet. Barousse finished 3rd in the Pole Vault in 13-11.25)
Pole vault seems to be a family affair in the Barousse household and the next one up is the Class of 2022's Luke. The Poplar Bluff vaulter cleared 14 feet as a freshman, easily tops among his classmates, and qualified for the state meet as one of only two freshmen in the Class 5 field.
This winter, he improved upon that 14-0 best with a 14-5.25 clearance at the second Mizzou Indoor Series meet, placing him not only tops among all Missourian sophomores, but 15th among all sophomores nationally.
In a state with several stellar vaulters on the rise, Barousse is already starting to separate as one of the next superstars.
Branson's Cali Essick showed her sprinting prowess when she qualified for the Class 5 state meet in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, but it was in the long jump where she really stands out among her 2022 classmates.
Essick debuted in the outdoor long jump with a 16-0.5 mark and proceeded to clear 16 feet 9 more times in 11 tries en route to an eye-popping 18-0 personal best at the AAU Region 16 Qualifier. The mark set her up as the second best long jumper in her class in the state and the fifth best returner in Class 5.
This winter, Essick stayed consistent with two more marks over 16 feet, including a 16-9 indoor best. This was an improvement of nearly 2 feet from her previous indoor personal best and, combined with her outdoor marks, certainly has her on every jumper's radar moving forward.
Led by former state champion Brian Hancock, the Battle vault crew is quickly becoming one of the most prolific in the state, and next up for the Spartans is Keyleigh Reichert.
As a freshman, Reichert cleared 11 feet 5 times, and 11-6 twice. Reichert won her district and sectional meets before finishing 8th in a loaded field at the Class 5 state meet.
Heading into 2020 as the top returner by 6 inches, Reichert would have had to contend with Liberty's Rachel Homoly for the state title. Expect these two to duke it out over the next two years for Class 5 supremacy.
Among long and triple jump specialists, East Buchanan's Emma Klein has shown that she could be one of the best in the entire state by the end of her career.
A two-time Class 2 state runner-up already, Klein finished with silver medals in the 2019 long and triple jumps to go along with her 17-0 and 36-10 personal bests in the respective events. The marks have her 3rd and 1st among returners in Class 2.
Indoors, Klein added to her resume with 16-9.75 (MO No. 7) and 35-8 (MO No. 3) bests in her first winter campaign. She also tried her hand in the high jump, clearing 4-6 in her first go at the vertical jump, and threw in an 8.35 60m dash mark.