The Columbia Rock Bridge boys team picked up a second straight title and did so by securing five state event championships during the Class 5 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships.
The Bruins finished with 97 points, more than doubling competitor's point totals including runner-up Joplin (46). The 97 points is the most points ever scored by the winning team in the state's largest classification, passing the mark of Blue Springs set in 2015 with 96 points.
Incidentally, the Bruins are also the first team to repeat as the state's largest class champion since Blue Springs won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
In last year's winning effort, Rock Bridge totaled 52 points. This was team trophy number five for the school and the fourth straight for coach Neal Blackburn's squads.
The Bruins could have scored even a few more. At Districts, the quartet of Chris Giles, Cooper Allen, Casey Hood, and Drevyn Seamon ran into the history books. They ran 1:24.90 for the 4x200. The fastest in state history. Nine days later at the weather postponed Sectional meet, the Rock Bridge squad couldn't get the baton around the track cleanly and didn't finish. However, the Bruins more than made up for it four and five days later at State.
The most points came in the 100-meter dash, with Rock Bridge pulling off a rare 1-2 finish, scoring 18 points. Senior Chris Giles won the race (10.46) and teammate Casey Hood, a junior, was second (10.53) - both times fast enough to break the Class 5 state meet record. Hazelwood West's Justin Robinson set the mark at the truncated one-day meet in 2019 at 10.56.
Rock Bridge went 1-2 in the 100-meter dash with Chris Giles (right) winning and teammate Casey Hood (center) taking 2nd while SLUH's Ryan Wingo (left) was 3rd.
That was one of four state meet records broken in Class 5.
Giles added a second individual title in the 400 (47.95) ahead of Liberty-Wentzville's David Richard (48.85), repeating as the champion in the event after running 49.04 last year.
Giles made it to the top of the podium four times after individual or relay events, and a fifth time for the team trophy. Giles, Allen, Hood, and Seamon couldn't have the 4x200 state title after earning the overall state record at Districts, so they went out and dominated the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays.
In the 4x100 prelims on Friday, the quartet broke the Class 5 state meet record, running 41.50-seconds, bettering the mark set by Liberty North (41.63) in 2016. Rock Bridge won the prelims by 9/10ths of a second. A day later, the quartet ran 41.79, winning the state title by just over 2/3's of a second.
That same group made up the 4x400-meter relay. They cruised to 1st-place in the prelims in 3:21.23. With two days of races already on their legs and less than the usual six days between Sectionals and State, the foursome put an exclamation point on the meet, winning the 4x400 final in 3:19.47. The margin of victory was .77-seconds.
Hood, Seamon, Giles, and Cooper claimed the 4x100 and 4x400 titles.
Sophomore distance phenom Andrew Hauser captured his first state track title, winning a loaded 1,600-meter run in 4:11.72, securing the fifth title for the Bruins.
The day before, the Bruins took 4th in the 4x800 in 8:00. They closed out day 1 with 13 points in the 3200. The trio of sophomore Hauser, junior Ian Kemey, and senior Weston Jokerst put themselves among the best threesome of distance teammates in state history with their performances this Spring. The group went 3-5-6 in the best 3200 state meet race ever. Hauser ran 9:05.11, Kemey 9:10.36, and Jokerst 9:12.00.
Behind Hauser in the 1600, Kemey was 5th and Jokerst 10th. Jokerst capped the Rock Bride distance crew's state meet with his 4th and final race of the meet. The Southern Illinois signee finished his 15th and 16th laps of the meet with a 1:56.72, 4th-place 800-meter finish, adding 5 more team points.
Read more about the Class 5 boys state rack recap on the next page