AAU Jr Olympic Region 16 qualifiers: Kansas City/St. Joseph

The AAU track and field season will come to an end by Aug. 6 as Junior Olympic Games are held over an eight-day span in Greensboro, North Carolina.

To qualify to the event, athletes or relays had to place in the top six, while multi-event such as the triathlon, decathlon and heptathlon an athlete had to be in the top four to advance out districts and then regionals.

Missouri was split up into two regions - No. 15 and No. 16. The latter was held at Carl Junction with athletes from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and even a few from Texas.


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This is the second of a three-part series looking at qualifiers in the 15-16 and 17-18 year old divisions from Region 16. First up is the Kansas City and St. Joseph region.

From the latter, almost all of the qualifiers compete for the Pony Express Athletic Performance club ran by Danny Butterfield.

Pony Express' Olivia Rogers (1426) sprints toward the finish line in the 200-meter dash at the AAU Region 16 meet. She attends North Platte, helping the team win the Class 2 title this spring. 

Andrew Rhoades is back competing in the decathlon after placing eighth in the event last year. He is seeded 15th overall heading into this year's meet.

Earlier this summer, he placed eighth in the Great Southwest Classic decathlon event in New Mexico. The Princeton product was all-state this spring in the 100 (fourth) and 400 (third) in Class 1.

West Platte standout Charlie Kinslow is seeded 24th heading into the 800-meter run for Pony ExpressHe took second in regional meet behind Capital City's Keion Grieve, a state championship in the spring.

"The top guy was a great runner; He was a state champion," Kinslow said. "I tried my best and thankfully got the job done so I can advance the nationals that hopefully make a good name for myself at nationals."

Kinslow been running the 400 but regional meet was only the third time ever at the high school level. Butterfield told him the speed in the 400 will only help in the 800. It will also showcase his versatility to college coaches. Kinslow has been with Pony Express for a little more than a year.

"I've had multiple athletes from my high school that run with him (Butterfield) and he's doing great with them and just his knowledge is out of this world," Kinslow said. "And it's fun translating that onto the track and seeing results."

In the 17-18 100-meter dash, North Platte'Olivia Rogers is seeded 23rd. She was second at the regional level for Pony Express. She won two individual state titles this spring for North Platte, taking first in the Class 2 100 and 200.

Pony Express has two of the top 10 in the 17-18 javelin with third-seeded Lexi Craig (Stanberry) and 10th seeded Tommi Martin (Tarkio) in the field. The two were second and fourth, respectively, at regionals. Craig won the Class 1 javelin championship in May, a spot ahead of Martin.

Kendra Zeilstra will run in the 17-18 1,500 for Pony Express after taking fourth in regionals. The Brunswick product was a Class 1 qualifier in the 1,600.

Pony Express' Bella Redman clears a hurdle in the 400-meter event at the AAU Region 16 meet in Carl Junction. She attends Maysville High School. 

Bella Redman will run in the 17-18 400-meter hurdles and is seeded 29th. She attends Maysville, where she won the 300-meter hurdles title in Class 2 this spring.

In the 15-16 division, Tucker Singer from Tina-Avalon is seeded second in the shot put. He won the state championship this spring at the Class 1 level in the event.

Recent St. Michael the Archangel Catholic graduate Preston May qualified in the long jump for Pony Express but is not at nationals. Also a national qualifier but not at nationals is Maryville's Jesus Flores, who was fifth in the high jump.

Ava Graham was first in the 15-16 discus and fourth in the shot put for Pony Express but won't be at nationals.

See Page two of the Kansas City qualifiers