Nine MRs, Top MO Marks Reign @1st B. Summa Inv since passing

Just as on the ladies' side (Akins Blazes to 3 of 5 Meet Records @ 61st Summa Inv), talented boys and teams from near and far made the trip to Independence for William Chrisman High School's 61st Bill Summa Invitational on Saturday, April 8. The meet in the Kansas City suburb of Independence is the first since the passing of the meet's namesake.


Elite Performances

Summa was a long-time Bears' head coach. Many alumni showed up for the meet to honor their coach. A ceremony was held during the meet with alums and loved ones gathering on the edge of the track that bares Summa's name and a moment of silence was observed. 

The ladies at the meet had a great showing, but the number of standout individual and team performances by the guys was many. Nine meet records were broken while many more school records and top state marks were achieved. 

William Chrisman head coach Tyler Rathke not only attracted some of the state's best talents from large Class 4 and 5 schools, but some standout smaller Class 1, 2, and 3 schools and individuals as well. Teams enjoyed the luxury of not having a coach or coaches work and run-off field events, as Rathke enlisted school staffers and friends to work. 

Great conditions contributed to some excellent performances with a high temperature of about 70 degrees and a clear, blue sky, and a slight breeze. 


Boys Elite 3200

Rock Bridge senior star Ian Kemey had a big week. He announced earlier in the week that his college decision process was over and that he would be attending Oklahoma State University to continue his academic and athletic career. With that out of the way, Kemey raced to join elite company, set a personal record (PR), and possibly break the 9-minute barrier in the 3200-meter run. 

After some injuries over the winter, Kemey wasn't satisfied with his first 3200 race of the season, a 4th-place 9:20 at the Festus' McCullough-Douglas Invitational. He was motivated by that disappointment and by the quest to join the sub-9:00 club. He took to the track to do so but without his training partner of the last 2.5 years, Rock Bridge junior Andrew Hauser. Hauser and Southern Boone County's Connor Burns were among a slew of Missourians in California to compete at the Arcadia Invitational, with Hauser and Burns racing in the Invitational 3200-meters that night.

Class 5 state cross country champion Sage Wilde of Liberty North took the early lead with Kemey and Liberty's Peyton Willbanks following while the trailing pack was 20 meters back after two laps. Things didn't stay that way very long. Kemey moved to the lead on the third lap and gapped Wilde and Willbanks with 67 and 69-second 3rd and 4th laps. 

Kemey never ran a lap slower than a 69.8-seconds. As his lead kept growing, coach Neal Blackburn exhorted him to keep pushing. The bell rang and Kemey cranked out a 66.5-second final lap, racing down the homestretch with his hands and index fingers pointing high, the pistols firing gesture of Oklahoma State. 

Kemey fell into a big embrace by Coach Blackburn. He finished with a PR, meet record, and the state's fastest time on the season of 9:05.87. Kemey would say later if he knew he was so close to the 9-minute mark, he would have tried to push harder. However, a nearly solo 9:05 performance is extremely impressive. 

Wilde was 2nd in 9:20 with Joplin senior and Kansas signee Hobbs Campbell 3rd in 9:22. Rockhurst super sophomore Henry Acorn was 4th in 9:23 while Liberty's Willbanks was 5th in 9:24. Lincoln College Prep's Isaac Rivera , Park Hill South's Thomas Garrett, and Rock Bridge's Hudson Summerall made it eight under 9:30 as they finished in 9:25, 9:27, and 9:27.

Kemey's time still stands as the fastest on Missouri soil this year, but Burns and Hauser would both go under 9 minutes in California to bump Kemey to #3 on the season state list. 

After the early Elite 3200 there was a long break before the 4x800 kicked off the regular track schedule.

Rockhurst edged Liberty North for the win in the 4x800. The Hawklets ran 8:11 for a meet record. Liberty North, without standout 800/1600 runner Grayson Tapp, ran 8:12 for 2nd. Class 1 Hermitage broke their school record with an 8:14 to take 3rd.

Tapp Tapp

Liberty North senior Grayson Tapp takes 1600/800

In the 1600-meters, Liberty North went 1-2-5 as Grayson Tapp continued his great senior campaign. Tapp led most of the way, running to a meet record in 4:18.29. Teammate Sage Wilde was 2nd with a new PR of 4:24 after for his second silver medal finish of the day. Rockhurst's Acorn was 3rd in 4:25 while Rock Bridge's Ty Welty was 4th in 4:28 and North's Asher Curp 5th in 4:29.  

Tapp returned to the track for the 800. He led a large, tight pack around the final curve of the first lap before eventually, a 3-man sprint to the finish decided things. Tapp held off Campbell and Kemey for his 2nd individual title of the day, finishing in 1:57.32. Campbell was 2nd in 1:57.88 while a boxed-in Kemey settled for 3rd in 1:58.09.