Today we are on to our fourth edition of athletes to watch for the 2021 track season, and are going to take a look at both hurdle races. For these articles I am be taking into account any marks recorded in 2019 or 2020, and will do my best to predict what class athletes will compete in.
Kiara Strayhorn (Jefferson City) will be the top returner this season after Tyra Wilson (Rock Bridge) graduated early to enroll at Texas. Strayhorn ran a wind aided 13.78 at the Great Southwest Classic, and holds a wind legal PR of 14.14. Other girls 100m hurdlers to keep an eye on are Akilah Heffner (Trinity Catholic), Sydney Juszczyk (Trinity Catholic), Carrie Rainey (Excelsior Springs), Alexis Bellamy (MICDS), Amyah Davis (Winnetonka), and Kennedi Watkins (Marquette).
Nyla Adams (Ritenour) is the top returner in the 300 hurdles coming in with a personal best of 44.06, and placing fourth place in Class 5 in 2019. Amani Jones (Francis Howell North) comes in right behind her with a time of 44.13. Other athletes to watch include Akirah Venerable (Lee's Summit West), Chelby Melvin (STEAM Academy),and Amyah Davis (Winnetonka),
It feels like I've mentioned him in every article I've written recently, but the top returner in the boys 110m hurdles is Johnny Brackins (Lee's Summit). The USC commit comes into the year with a 14.20 personal best which he ran to finish as the runner up in Class 5 at the state meet back in 2019. Other top boys to watch include Bryan Haney (Lee's Summit West), Edward Nelson (Hickman), and Parker Wormek (Camdenton).
The boys 300m hurdles looks to be wide open after a lot of graduations in the event. Bryan Haney (Lee's Summit West) has the fastest returning time with a 39.94, which is just ahead of Nathan Glades (Joplin) at 39.97. Those are the only two boys who are under 40 seconds heading into the season, but trust me there will be plenty more. As in all the boys events we've covered, there is going to be HUGE growth in the events as boys tend to improve a lot over their junior and senior seasons.