Tolton Girls, Buggs-Tipton Headline Class 1-2 State TF Meet

Once again, Jefferson City High School will play host to the Class 1 and 2 State Track and Field meets a week before it plays host to the Class 3, 4, and 5 meets next weekend. Of course, Class 3 gets added to this mix next season, but for now, the Class 1 and 2 fields have the floor on Friday and Saturday. 

This year's small schools meets include several races and athletes to watch. With nationally ranked boys and dominant distance squads on the girls side, Class 1 and 2 should bring the fireworks this weekend. Here's 10 storylines we're watching.


Father Tolton Distance Girls Will Dominate This Weekend

As the Championship Factor running out for the Father Tolton girls team, they found themselves Class 2 for the first time in a while. As a result, they look poised to grab a state team championship solely on the backs of their vaunted distance squad.

It's been almost unfair for the rest of the fields at the Class 2 District 4 and Class 2 Sectional 2 meets. Tolton has qualified three girls in the 800 meter run, three girls in the 1600 meter run, two girls in the 3200 meter run, and the top 4x800 meter relay in Class 2 so far. 

Elyse Wilmes leads the way with the top marks in the 800 and 1600. She should have no problems scoring 20 points in both events as she boasts lifetime bests of 2:08.99 and 4:57.06. In fact, Wilmes may even challenge the Class 2 state records in both events as she needs to run 2:12.88 to break the 30 year old record in the 800 and 5:00.93 to break Courtney Rogers' 1600 record from 2014. That 800 record went down at the Class 2 Sectional 2 meet, so expect to see her grab one, if not both records, before Tolton has to move back up to Class 3 next year. Also, don't be surprised if she posts legs on their 4x800 and 3rd ranked 4x400 relay teams. 

Supporting Wilmes are Olivia Andrews, Makaylin Viet, and Jillian Andrews. Olivia finds herself in the 800, 1600, 3200, and 4x800 relay, while Viet will be running the 1600 and 3200. Jillian qualified in the 400, 4x400, and 4x800 relays. Olivia is the second-ranked athlete in both the 800 and 1600 with personal bests of 2:20.37 and 5:05.89. She, herself, could challenge the 1600 state meet record if Wilmes does not! But she should also be the favorite to win the 3200 with her personal best of 11:06.22. She is 38 seconds ahead of North Platte's Brianna DeBord in second. Viet enters the state meet with personal bests of 2:22.99, 5:17.23, and 11:45.91. While Wilmes and Olivia Andrews should both pick up firsts and seconds, Viet, in her freshman year, has a good shot at earning top 3 finishes in all three distance events. Jillian Andrews has run 1:02.38 and will need to work hard to climb into a top 8 spot, but she's run 2:27.50 in the 800, too, giving the Trailblazers two solid legs for the 4x400 and 4x800 relays. 

Put it all together and it's looking like Father Tolton should continue their dominant run through the state series and score a heap of points in the distance races this weekend. We project they could come away with as many as 80 points between the 800, 1600, 3200, 4x400, and 4x800 relays, an unprecedented and dominant performance for any team at any level. This is not to include their 4x100 relay, and individual qualifiers in the Javelin, Long Jump, and Triple Jump. Don't be surprised if the Trailblazers leave Jefferson City with a rare triple digit state championship victory. 


Asher Buggs-Tipton Goes For State Titles 9, 10, 11, and 12

This season, Green City junior Asher Buggs-Tipton took his talents to the Bill Summa Invitational and put to rest any thoughts that he could not be competitive at the higher levels. Buggs-Tipton broke the meet records in 110m Hurdles and 300m Hurdles at the prestigious meet, running MO No. 1 marks that still stand in the 110m Hurdles and stood in the 300m Hurdles until this past Saturday. His wind-legal personal best marks of 13.95 and 38.61 put him well ahead of the rest of the field in the Class 1 hurdle events and should earn him individual state medals #9 and #10. 

Where the junior is rolling the dice in his quest for four more state titles is in the 100 meter dash. Currently ranked 22nd in Class 1, Buggs-Tipton enters with a season best of 11.53. But, whereas his seed time has him well behind the field, his 10.70 personal best from 2022 would have him 0.22 seconds ahead of the field this spring. It would appear he's most likely been coasting in the event the last two weeks. 

His fourth event is one he's won twice at the state meet already in his career: the long jump. Buggs-Tipton has cleared 6.55m so far this spring, almost 30 centimeters behind the state leader, but, once again, his personal best of 6.90m would push him into the top spot among Class 1 jumpers. 

So, even though on paper it may look like Buggs-Tipton is in danger of losing his streak, when a deeper look is taken, it would appear that Asher Buggs-Tipton is in prime position to post individual state titles 9, 10, 11, and 12. 


Hayden Dixon Brings Nationally Ranked Bests To The Class 2 Shot Put, Discus Fields

Schuyler County senior Hayden Dixon has taken the state, and nation, by storm with his shot put progress this winter and spring. 

Dixon enters the Class 2 finale with an indoor national championship to his name and a MO No. 1, US No. 9 mark of 19.83 meters in the shot put. The Mizzou commit has won every shot put event in which he's competed after back-to-back 2nd places at the 2022 State and Great Southwest Classic meets. That's 18 straight victories. This weekend should be no different as he sits 2.5 meters ahead of fellow shot put phenom Brenin Howell of Westran and his 17.37m best. Dixon will have a great shot at breaking the impressive Class 2 state record of 19.40m set in 2006. 

In the discus, he's 30 centimeters ahead of his next closest challenger with his personal best mark of 52.40 meters. This mark was good enough to edge out second-ranked Langden Kitchen, another Westran standout, at the Class 2 District 3 meet two weeks ago. 

Before he heads down to Columbia in the fall, Dixon appears poised to bring in two golds in the shot put and discus, and put a stamp on an incredible high school career. 


North Platte's Stable Of Sprinters Look To Hold Off Father Tolton's Distance Juggernauts

The ladies from North Platte ran up the score on everyone else at the Class 2 State Track and Field meet last May. Their sprint relays scored 28 points and their individual sprinters tacked on another 37 points of their own. With a couple more points in the distance races, the Panthers posted 71 total points and finished 23 ahead of their next closest challenger. 

They returned superstars Olivia Rogers and Lindsay Ramsey, among others, and have already ran the table on the best that Northwest Missouri has to offer. Rogers is running even stronger than last year with new personal bests in the 100 and 200 of 11.88 and 24.54, making her the top ranked athlete in both races heading into the weekend. She will also be a key player on their top-ranked 4x100 relay and second-ranked 4x200 relay. Ramsey, on the other hand, will be pushing the envelope in the long sprints as she enters with the second best 200 meter personal best (25.07) and best 400 meter personal best (58.41). Between Rogers and Ramsey, North Platte could pick up 38 points already. 

The afore-mentioned sprint relays will contribute big points to the Panthers' efforts, too. 18 points are projected in the 4x100 and 4x200, with another 10 projected in the 4x400 relay. North Platte picked up 28 points in these three events last year, too. 

The difference between North Platte and Father Tolton will be the balance across event groups. Whereas Tolton won't pick up much from the sprints, but will load up on points in the distance races, North Platte will load up on points in the sprints, but also add a significant amount of points from Brianna Debord, Shelby Lingle, and Chloe Heckman in the distance races. Debord and Heckman are the 2 and 3 seeds in the 3200, as well as the 5 and 6 seeds in the 1600. Lingle enters with a 2:27.05 seed time that puts her 6th in the field heading into the weekend. Debord and Heckman boast personal bests of 5:29.48/11:44.43 and 5:34.21/11:55.96, meaning they'll be right there with the Tolton ladies in the distance races, working to offset their big totals. All three girls come together to form 75% of the second-ranked 4x800 relay team, too. 

All in all, Tolton projects to score anywhere from 80-90 points, but North Platte could end up going blow for blow with the private school juggernaut as they are projected to score 100 points in their own right. It'll be an epic battle and when the dust settles, whoever wins that Class 2 crown will have certainly earned it. 


Riley Blay Eyes Another Distance Treble

Coming off a late winter/early spring injury, West Nodaway junior Riley Blay appears back to normal and ready to challenge for his second straight Class 1 distance treble. 

Blay has yet to hit a personal best this outdoor season, but he may be working up to a big show this weekend. He heads into the Class 1 state meet with the top seed in the 3200 and top 3 seeds in the 800 and 1600. His season bests of 4:32.77 in the 1600 and 9:33.06 in the 3200 have him in the driver's seat to at least win those two events, but his biggest challenge will come in the 800 meter run. 

Last May, Blay had to put in a major charge down the final 100 meters to edge out Principia's Sam Omware for the victory. This year, he enters the race 5 seconds back of top seed Cade Nold of Dora. Nold was the second fastest freshman in the state last year in the half mile and has only improved upon that distinction as a sophomore. His 1:58.10 best is the only mark under 2:01 of anyone in Class 1 and means Blay has his work cut out for him if he wants to snag all three golds. 

Can the two-time cross country state champion do it? Yes, absolutely. With personal bests of 2:00.03, 4:25.06, and 9:21.90, and all of those state golds to his name, Blay has absolutely shown himself to capable of running his best when it matters the most. Watch for the junior from Burlington Junction to go all out for the treble this weekend. 


Crystal Smith Goes For Four Golds Of Her Own

Jasper's Crystal Smith was going to be the Buggs-Tipton counterpart at the Class 1 meet until Jasper moved up into Class 2. Still, Smith enters the Class 2 meet with a solid chance at bringing in golds in four different events in her sophomore season. 

It's not a slam dunk by any means, but Smith enters seeded in the top 2 in 3 of those 4 events. Overall, according to state rankings, she's the top ranked athlete in the 100m Hurdles (15.15), second in the 300m Hurdles (46.24), fourth in the high jump (1.68m) and seventh in the 200m dash (25.95). 

Coming off state titles in the 100m Hurdles and high jump as a freshman, plus the 2nd place finish in the 200 meter dash, expect Smith to rise to the Class 2 occasion and challenge for multiple gold medals this weekend.


Jennifer Hinkle Eyes A State Record In The Javelin

Knox County senior Jennifer Hinkle has continued to climb this season in the Javelin, even after finalizing her commitment to the University of Missouri earlier this year. A two-time state medalist, she's looking to finally put it all together at the state meet and snag her first state championship in her best event: the Javelin throw. 

Hinkle has been running wild throughout the spring in the event. She's posted victories in all 14 meets in which she's competed and only thrown under 40 meters once (39.48m). Her 48.29m (158-5.25 feet) mark is tops in the entire state this year and MO No. 4 all-time behind Sophia RiveraSydney Juszczyk, and Julia Crenshaw, three all-time greats. Hinkle is four meters better than last year's Class 1 record and is already a foot ahead of the overall state meet record set by Megan Fortner in 2019. If she puts it all together on the day, Hinkle could become the first girl to ever throw over 160 feet in the javelin at the state meet. 


Hermitage's Distance Studs, Strong Long Sprinters Will Push Them To The Top Of Class 1

Hermitage's distance squad has only gotten better over the years under the leadership of Coach Mark Sabala. This spring, the Hornets have a realistic shot at grabbing the team title on the backs of their long sprinters and distance runners. 

It all comes down to these four boys: Dejuan Chambers, Justin Horn, Justus Yates, and Bennett Mantooth. All four boys were key players to Hermitage's dominant cross country victory, but this spring, they will disperse to different events and try to pile on the points to put the Hornets over the top and on top of the podium.

Horn heads into the weekend with the second best mark in the 800 and third best mark in the 3200 and should be in contention for gold from the go, even with Riley Blay in the mix. Yates has the second best season's best in the 1600 and fifth best mark in the 800 meter run. These two will also jump into the top ranked 4x800 relay squad. Between the 800, 1600, 3200, and 4x800 relay, it's looking like the Hornets should pick up 36 points. 

Chambers and Mantooth will contribute points in the 110m and 300m Hurdles (Mantooth), 400m dash (Chambers), and contribute important legs on the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400 relays. Mantooth is going to have a hard time getting to finals in the short hurdles, but in the 300m Hurdles, he is the third fastest runner among the field with a 40.72 season best. Chambers will be locked in on the open 400 meter dash as he is seeded seventh with a 51.93 mark. The sophomore is a distance runner by trade and should have that aerobic advantage as he runs for a medal in the quarter mile. 

Hermitage could put together 44 points in just those events and are projected to add another 4 points in the 4x400 relay. Should their other two sprint relays sneak into finals and Mantooth picks up a point or two in the 110m Hurdles, Hermitage is projecting into the mid-50s which could be enough to hold off Hayti, Green City, and Princeton, among others.


Drexel and Tarkio Will Battle It Out For Class 1 Supremacy

Heading into Class 1 state weekend, Drexel and Tarkio (East Atchison) have appeared to distance themselves as the two titans battling it out for the top spot as a team. 

Drexel is the defending champs, having scored 46 points at last year's championships, 5 better than Valle Catholic (now Class 2), 8 better than Delta, and 9 better than Tarkio. This year, they're looking poised to stack points in the short sprints/hurdles, relays, shot put, discus, and triple jump en route to a defense of their state title. Led by Josie Parks, Emily Wheeler, and Olivia Shipps, the Bobcats have top 8 seeds in 9 events. Parks is the top seed in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash with her 12.62 and 26.31 marks. She's sure to contribute important legs to their second ranked 4x100 and 4x200 relay squads, too. Wheeler is the top seed in the 100m Hurdles and fourth in the 300m Hurdles. She owns personal bests of 15.92 and 48.07, tying her for first on the season in the 100m Hurdles and tying her for fourth in the 300m Hurdles. She is also the third seed in the triple jump with a 10.60m mark from her Sectional meet, but her 10.89m best has her competitive for the gold. Shipps is the throws contributor as she has the top seed in the shot put by quite a bit with her 11.93m best and sits eighth in the discus, though she has posted the fifth best mark in the state so far this season. Drexel is projected to score 68 points as it stands, well ahead of the 46 they scored last spring. 

Tarkio comes in with some of the best athletes in the state, much less Class 1, and should not be discounted as a team title favorite heading into the weekend. Tommi Martin is looking to pull off a rare double as she entered in the 800 meter run and Javelin. She is the top seed in the 800 with a 2:25.29 mark and third in the Javelin, though she has thrown much farther than that Sectional mark this season. They head into the meet with top seeds in four other events as Faith Anderson in the High Jump and 300m Hurdles hopes to join Martin and the 4x200 and 4x400 meter relays with Class 1 gold medals. Anderson is undefeated in both events this year (16-0) and comes in with 1.7m (5-7) and 46.53 personal bests to her name, respectively. She's looking to improve upon the respective 5th and 2nd place medals she earned last spring. Elizabeth Schlueter and the 4x800 will contribute key points to the effort, too, as Anderson and Schlueter could very well go 1-2 in the 300m Hurdles. 

The best part of it all: Based on Sectional meet seeds, Drexel and Tarkio are tied at 68. It's a perfectly evenly matched battle and should bring out the best in both teams as they scratch and claw for the victory. 


The Class 2 Boys Team Race Is, Once Again, Wide Open

In 2022, the top 5 teams were separated by 10.5 points. The top 2 teams - Lawson and Whitfield - were separated by 0.5 points. The Class 2 boys team race was arguably the closest race of either state meet weekend and appears to be that way once again this year. 

Lawson has moved up to Class 3, Whitfield has moved all the way up to Class 4 on Championship Factor and enrollment, and third place Lutheran North has moved up to Class 3, as well. That leaves Summit Christian, LexingtonPutnam County, Charleston, Christian, and Steelville, among others, to battle it out for the top spot. 

Summit Christian heads into the weekend with the best shot as they have the top seeds in the 200 meter dash and 4x400 relay. Marcus Jones leads the way for the Eagles as he is the top seed in the 200 and has the only sub-50 mark in the 400 meter dash among all Class 2 runners this season. He'll look to add a cool 20 points to his squad's total in two important events. Marcus Verbrugge will look to contribute in the 400 and 800, as well, with Andrew Pierce right on the medal bubble in the long jump. They qualified their 4x200 and 4x400 relays, led by Jones and Verbugge. 

Charleston is another top contender with a stable of sprinters and jumpers of their own. Dwight Williams, Zecobyion Ewing, and Kamirion Wiley lead the way in the 200 and 400 meter dashes. Williams holds the top seed out of the Sectional meets in the 400 (50.06) and sits fourth in the 200 (22.49). Ewing sits eighth in the 200 with his 22.79 mark, showing just how close the field is in the half-lap race. Wiley holds the second seed in the 400 meter dash as he was 2 ticks behind his teammate Williams at their Sectional meet. They're both second and third on the season overall. Fletravion Stanback will look to add points in the high and triple jumps as he seeded fourth in high and outside of the top eight in the triple. Zachyran Thomas has the fourth seed in the long jump. All five boys will surely combine to run on the top seeded 4x100 and 4x200 relays, giving Charleston a projected score of 54, a year after they scored one lonely point. 

This is a team race that will surely come down to a few points as there are truly eight teams in the mix for a team title in Class 2 boys.