Northwest Missouri area dominated girls Class 1 finals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - All season long, the state-wide leaderboards in Class 1 have been filled with the names of northwest Missouri girls. With the regionalization of small-class track and field most of those girls have only competed against each other in smaller meets, so last Friday and Saturday offered those girls a chance to prove their times and marks in front of the entire state.

And they did not miss with three of the top four teams in both Class 1 being from the northwest corner of the state. 

"It definitely shows how special our little northwest corner is," Platte Valley senior Andrea Riley said. "We took three of the top four trophies and the other team was from our sectional, so we've been competing with the best all year round."

In Class 1, it was the prowess of the 275 Conference which produced state champion Tarkio (East Atchison) along with third-place squad Platte Valley and fourth-place Rock Port. 

East Atchison won the Class 1 girls title with 70 points. It is the first title for the program, which was fourth last year and third in 2021.

The 4x400-meter relay win broke a tie with 60 points each with Drexel -- but only East Atchison was in the final race.

The Wolves won the 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays, while the high jump and 800-meter run also were champions.

Faith Anderson won the high jump on Friday and the other three titles came on Saturday.

"The family environment that these girls have made," Anderson said. "I'm gonna cry. The family environment is amazing and I'm going to miss these girls so much."

The 4x200 team with Tommi Martin, Anderson, Grace Oswald and Elizabeth Schlueter. Oswald, Anderson, Schlueter and Natalie Hedlund won the 4x400-meter relay. 

Martin won the 800-meter run as well for the Wolves.

"I would not expect me to be a state champion in any individual event," Martin said. "It has been a goal of mine for a long time."

Drexel had 60 points and the Bobcats earned at least six points in eight different events.

Emily Wheeler Drexel won the 100-meter hurdles and third in the triple jump, while Olivia Shipps was third in the shot put and discus. Drexel was also the runner-up in the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays.

Josie Parks, Gracie Marks and Grace Francis were on both of those relay teams, while Wheeler (4x200) and Izzy Richardson (4x100) were the other runners.

For third-place Platte Valley, the South Nodaway and Jefferson co-op, they were led by their sensational freshman distance runner, Mya Wray, who had Class 1's fastest cross-country time but ran injured in the state championships. She was healthy for track and field though and took hold of her first two state titles in the 1600- and 3200-meter run - both convincing victories where she ran solo much of the race.

"I definitely looked at this as my opportunity," Wray said. "I'm not injured, I got to give it my all right here."

Rock Port had their own star pace them with junior Rylee Jenkins winning the discus state championship after teaming with Avery Meyerkorth, Ella Meyerkorth and Norah Watkins to win the first event of the weekend on the track, the 4x800-meter relay - an event where East Atchison was second and Platte Valley was third. 

Nodaway Valley (West Nodaway and Nodaway-Holt co-op) sophomore Ava Graham won another title for the 275 Conference by winning the shot put. Worth County's Eva Engel and Mound City's Ava Barnes went 1-2 in the pole vault just as they have across northwest Missouri all year. 

"It is awesome," Engel said. "Me and her - we push each other."

Worth County's 4x100-meter relay team of Emma Spencer, Hailey Adwell, Rayleigh Smith and Brooklyn Richardson made it a clean sweep for their little corner of the state in the relays. 

"It feels really good," Adwell said. "I'm really proud of my teammates. ... Our team - we've been working really hard for this."