Akins blazes to 3 of 5 Girls Meet Records @ 61st Summa Inv

Talented athletes and teams across Missouri and a few from Kansas and Arkansas made their way to Independence for William Chrisman High School's 61st Bill Summa Invitational on Saturday, April 8. The meet in the Kansas City suburb 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 athletes honored Summa with some great performances. William Chrisman head coach Tyler Rathke not only attracted some of the state's best talents from large Class 4 and 5 schools, but the smaller Class 1, 2, and 3 schools 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. 

One thing Rathke and staff couldn't control was the weather, however, for a second straight year it was excellent, with a high temperature of about 70 degrees and a clear, blue sky, and a slight breeze. 

Zooming Zaya Akins and the Sprints

The best female high school sprinter in state history put on a show. Raytown South senior Zaya Akins, a University of Kentucky signee, ran in her second outdoor meet of the season since earning her 3rd national title. Akins claimed New Balance Nationals Indoor 400 crown in March in Boston. Akins sprinted to three meet records, bettering her marks from last year's Summa Invitational.

Akins opened her outdoor season the week before with a 24.06-second 200-meters at the Blue Springs South Rusty Hodge Invitational. That was her first outdoor meet on Show-Me State soil since her 2022 2nd-place USA Track and Field Under-20 Championships 400-meter finish. That finish earned her a spot on the Team USA Under-20 team for the U20 World Championships in Cali, Colombia last summer. 

Akins returned home with a gold medal and a great experience. She placed 13th in the 400-meters and earned gold in the 4x400, where she ran a leg in the prelims, as the U.S. squad won both the prelims and final. 

At Chrisman, Akins won three events at the meet for a second straight year. The defending Class 4 100 and 400-meter champion kicked off her day in the 100-meter dash. She clocked 11.74 to beat the field and a pair of stars by more than 0.75 seconds. Class 4 Incarnate Word's Chavi Flowers of St. Louis edged Class 2 North Platte state champion and Missouri State University commit Olivia Rogers for 2nd by .003 with both running 12.52 rounded up from 12.514 and 12.517 seconds. 

Akins later took the 400-meter dash crown in just 53.48 seconds. Akins won the race by nearly five full seconds, and 3rd-place was nearly 8-full seconds back. Akins' performance also moved her to 2nd on the MileSplit national performance list after the weekend.  

It was also was 1.75-seconds faster than her win at last year's meet, which bodes well for the rest of her senior campaign. North Platte sophomore Lindsay Ramsey was 2nd in 58.41, just over 2 seconds ahead of 3rd-place. 

In her final race of the day, Akins blasted out of the blocks and around the curve to win the 200-meters in 23.61-seconds by a 1.5 margin The time improved on her MO#1 performance the week before and gave her a top-20 U.S. time. Just like the 100, Olivia Rogers and Chavi Flowers were next, but with Rogers taking 2nd-place this time in 25.11 while Flowers was 3rd in 25.28.