2024 Missouri Track and Field Preview: Class 4 Boys

With the outdoor track and field season finally upon us, let's take a look at the top athletes from each of our five classes!

Leading up to our first competitions on March 15th, MileSplit will be unrolling previews for Class 1-5 Boys and Girls. We will introduce and discuss five of the top athletes in each of the sprints (100, 200, 400, 100/110 Hurdles, and 300 Hurdles), distance (800, 1600, 3200), jumps (long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault), and throws (discus, shot put, javelin) events. We will also introduce 3-4 of the top freshmen to watch, plus 3-4 teams to watch and a dark horse team on which to keep an eye. 

With 19 days from the start of the season to the first competition day, we will be spacing out the drops to make sure each classification gets plenty of attention. Check back throughout the week to see who gets added next!

More Content to Explore: Meet Calendar | Virtual Meets | Rankings | 2023 Photos | Class of 2024 College Commitments

Recent Drops: 2024 Class and District Predictions | 2024 MSHSAA Track and Field Season is Here! | Class 5 Boys Preview | Class 5 Girls Preview


Griouard Weddington - Grandview

Grandview's Griouard Weddington has been one of the state's top short sprinters over the last two years and heads into his senior season with a significant chance at the 100/200 double at the Class 4 State Championships. 

A four-time individual all-stater now, Weddington has earned top 3 medals in the 100 and 200 meter dashes each of the last two season, but is still seeking out the elusive state gold. He heads into the 2024 spring with eye-popping personal bests of 10.56 in the 100 and 21.41 in the 200, making him the top Class 4 returner in both. Typically performing in the low-22 to mid-21 range in the 200 and mid-to-high 10 in the 100 throughout the 2023 season, Weddington has shown the kind of consistency that puts him among the state's elites. And don't sleep on his 51.70 best in the 400.

This winter, Weddington has put up a 6.88 personal best in the 60 meter dash and two marks under 22.6 in the 200 meter dash. He appears ready to fly this spring.


Jackson Carter - Ft. Zumwalt East

The surprise of the 2023 season, dual-sport baseball/track star Jackson Carter nearly won the 100 meter dash at the Class 4 State Championships in his first year ever competing in track and field. 

Carter heads into his senior year still expected to patrol center field and the short sprint events this spring. The UCM commit has shown us some 60 meter dash times this winter, running 7.17 first and then 7.06 at the USATF Ozark Association Indoor Championship. He will head into the spring with impressive personal bests of 10.60 in the 100 and 22.40 personal bests. Because of his commitment to baseball, Carter does not get much work on the track so we should not expect to see him move up from the 200, but anything could happen. Expect Carter to be among the top short sprinters in the state regardless of class this spring. 


Melvin Sledge - Hazelwood East

We may be on the cusp of a national-level 400 meter breakthrough unlike we have seen since another Hazelwood athlete back in 2019-2020. This year, all eyes are on what Melvin Sledge will bring to the table in his junior campaign.

Sledge took a massive step forward in his sophomore season, dropping his open 400 personal best from 52.30 to 48.16 en route to capping off an undefeated season with a gold medal at the Class 4 State Championships. While his 49.07/48.16 prelims/finals double was impressive, it was the anchor leg in the 4x400 meter relay final that should put everyone on notice. Sledge took the baton nearly 2.5 seconds behind Ladue and dropped a 46.90 (I will say it again - 46.90) split to bring home the victory for the Spartans in 3:20.15. All of this after running 47.59 in the prelim round and two open 200s in 21.87 and his lifetime best 21.70 (+2.3), to go along with the two open 400s. 

There is a realistic possibility that we are talking about Melvin Sledge this year not only on a state level, but also a national level, in the 200 and 400. Bookmark this profile.


Tyler Wise - Pleasant Hill

There is a solid group of three guys between 10.57 and 10.60 that will make that Class 4 100 meter dash final must-see in May. Those boys are the afore-mentioned Weddington, Carter, and Pleasant Hill senior Tyler Wise.

Wise heads in with a 10.60 personal best in the 100 of his own and snagged a fourth place medal in the event in 2023. His 200 meter dash best of 21.85 (+2.3) earned him fifth last spring and is fourth among returners, behind Weddington, Sledge, and Smithville's Jet Coleman. Wise is another 100/200 specialist that will certainly make waves everywhere he goes.


Antwon McKay - Cardinal Ritter

Cardinal Ritter's Antwon McKay heads into the 2024 season as the state's top returner in the 300 meter hurdles in Class 4 and 6th overall. His 38.76 mark at last year's Dale Collier Invitational came after a massive 39.19 personal best at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational and led him on a course to a 4th place medal at last year's Class 4 State Championships. McKay was also a state qualifier in the 110 meter hurdles with his 15.15 personal best. He's also run 22.58 in the 200 meter dash. McKay is a major player in the hurdles and could be ready to break through as the best of the best sprinters overall in Class 4.



Isaac Rivera - Lincoln College Prep

It was a historic cross country season for Lincoln College Prep's Isaac Rivera, capped off with a then-No. 2 all-time mark on the Gans Creek course of 14:54.60 for the win in the Class 4 State Championships. He won 6 of 8 meets before the postseason where he finished 4th at the prestigious Garmin RunningLane Championships, finished 17th at the NXR Midwest meet, and qualified for Foot Locker Nationals with a 4th place finish in Kenosha. 

Rivera heads into the spring top 3 among Class 4 returners in the 1600 and 3200, but has already run an all-conditions 3200 personal best on the indoor track this winter with his 9:23.07 mark from two weeks ago. This past Saturday, he ran 9:23.25, showing he has not lost a step and is ready to roll. He has run 4:23.10 and finished the unfortunate 9th at last year's state meet. We fully expect Rivera to be a challenger for the sub-9:00 barrier and be among the top contenders for state gold in the 1600 and 3200.


Keion Grieve - Capital City

Capital City's Keion Grieve's cross country season came to an abrupt and unexpected halt this fall as he was unable to run in the Class 5 District meet due to a personal scheduling conflict. He was still able to drop his 5k personal best to 15:40.72 at the Missouri Southern Stampede, but was not able to drop that even further at the lightning quick Class 4 State Cross Country Championships. 

But Grieve's success is probably not most defined by his cross country success - Grieve is one of the most decorated middle distance runners in state history. A 3-time all-stater and 2-time state champion in Class 5, Grieve heads into Class 4 to contend with one of the craziest groups of returning 800 runners we have ever seen. The young man who ran a personal best 1:51.26 for 3rd at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympics should be among the top contenders for a third straight 800 gold, even in a stacked field. Not to be outdone, he will compete in the 400 and 1600, as well, with his 49.53 and 4:13.89 personal bests. 


Isaac Lind - Lutheran St. Charles

It is not often that someone drops 9 seconds in the 800 when their outdoor personal best was 2:02.92 heading into the season, but Lutheran senior Isaac Lind pulled off that feat in 2023. The Bradley University commit had one of the biggest breakthrough seasons of anyone last spring, 

Lind finished off the regular season with a 1:54.14 personal best in what was the fastest 800 meter race the state has ever seen (it took 1:55.58 to earn a medal). He then dropped to 1:53.87 at the Music City Track Carnival. Lind is now second among returners in Class 4 in the event, as well as 16th in the 400 with a 51.51 best. Coming off an injury-shortened cross country season, Lind has been less active this indoor season than last winter, but should not take long to build back up to the elite middle distance level. 


Liam Adair - Smithville

Smithville's Liam Adair heads into his junior track campaign ready to build off a breakout sophomore spring. 

Adair has been among the state's greats in the 1600 and 3200 since qualifying for the 2022 Class 4 State Championships as a freshman in both events. He picked up a 15:50.91 personal best and his first all-state medal (5th) in his sophomore cross country season before putting the oval to the torch with 4:22.55 and 9:23.01 personal bests in the 1600 and 3200, good enough for 6th and 3rd, respectively, at the 2023 State Championships.

Rolling into his junior season, Adair kept pressing forward with a 15:18.00 personal best for the win in the Tim Nixon silver division and capped it off with 15:30.60 for 5th at the state meet. The Cross Country National Youth Championships winner in November and top 50 finisher at the RunningLane Championships in Alabama, Adair has run 4:31.27 and 9:35.77 at separate meets this winter and should be ready to roll heading into the 2024 outdoor season.


Tyler Anderson - Ft. Zumwalt East

A three-time state qualifier in the 800, two-time state qualifier in the 1600, and key anchor to a state qualifying 4x800 relay in 2023, with two all-state medals to his name on the track and now on the cross country course, multiple-time AAU All-American Tyler Anderson heads into his final prep season with big goals.

After experiencing a major breakthrough this fall, running 15:44.50 for 8th at the Class 4 State Championships, Anderson has already nearly matched the outdoor 800 personal best of 1:56.38 he earned last summer with a 1:56.99 mark at the Morolake Akinosun Elite Invitational in mid-January. He posted 9 sub-2:00 performances last spring/summer to go along with a 4:22.75 personal best which earned him 8th at state in the 1600. Watch for Anderson to put the range on display this spring as he chases barriers from sub-50 in the 400 (he has run 50.27 so far) to sub-9:30 in the 3200. 



Brandon Johnson - McCluer

Last spring, we saw McCluer's Brandon Johnson open up his season with a 1.89m (6-2.5) mark in the high jump at the McCullough-Douglass Invitational in March. And then we didn't hear about him again...until the Dale Collier Invitational over a month later. There, Johnson quieted all doubt that his season had ended prematurely with a 2.01m (6-7.25) clearance, pushing him near the top of the state rankings. He followed that up with a 2.05m (6-8.75) clearance at his conference meet, a 2.06m clearance at the Sectional 2 meet, and a 2m clearance for the win at the Class 4 State Championships.

A high jump specialist at this point, Johnson heads into the 2024 season as the heavy favorite to repeat as Class 4 state champion in the event and is likely remain undefeated along the way. Watch for him to challenge the 7 foot mark this spring.


***Updated 3/5 - Keylan LaGrant no longer attends Lutheran St. Charles so he was removed and replaced in this preview. Missouri MileSplit was recently informed he now attends East St. Louis High School in Illinois***

Ethan Milius - Fulton

Fulton's Ethan Milius heads into the season among the Class 4's best in the combined long jump and triple jump. With a long jump personal best of 6.4 meters (21-0) and a triple jump mark at 13.65 meters (44-9.5), Milius should be considered among the top contenders in both of the horizontal jumps this spring. He was 5th in the triple jump at the Class 4 State Championships in 2023 in his first year competing in the event. 


Dwayne Foley - Ladue

Ladue's Dwayne Foley is the best combined long jump/triple jump returner with a combined distance of 20.34 meters. He cleared 6.98 meters (22-11, +3.4) for 5th at last year's Class 4 State Championships, the first non-senior of the sixteen finalists. Foley is the top returner in the state in the event based on state finish and personal best as a result. 

In the triple jump, Foley was able to clear 13.36 meters (43-10) at the Class 4 Sectional 1 meet, but was unable to improve upon that at the State meet, clearing 13.09 meters for the final medal in the event. He will surely be one to watch at the jumps pits as he will be competitive wherever the Rams go this spring.


Leo Flynn - Parkway Central

Graduation and enrollment-related movement has hit the pole vault ranks hard in Class 4, but after the dust settles on March 15th, we anticipate the changes to classifications will make Parkway Central's Leo Flynn the top returner in Class 4 in the pole vault. 

Flynn was consistent throughout his sophomore campaign in the 3.45m-3.8m range before clearing 3.91m (12-10) at the Class 4 Sectional 2 meet and climbing all the way up to 4.13m (13-6.5) at the State meet, earning him a 6th place medal on jumps. Flynn is one of only two boys who cleared a height at last year's state meet that we anticipate to return for the Class 4 season with seven boys having graduated and the other five moving either up into Class 5 or down into Class 3. He is our pre-season favorite for the win in the pole vault. 


Brayden Hicks - Marshfield

The next closest returner to Dwayne Foley in the long jump appears to be one of Marshfield's stable of jumps stars, Brayden Hicks. Hicks, a junior, is coming off a 2023 season in which he picked up 7th place medals in both the long jump and triple jump, clearing 6.71 meters (22-0.25) in the former and 13.26m (43-6) in the latter. While he heads into the season eighth among triple jump returners based on personal best, based on place at the state meet where it matters most, he is third. While the long jump is where he appears to excel the most, Hicks should be considered among the top horizontal jumpers in Class 4 and a state title contender in both events.



Derek Joiner - Grandview

Grandview has two of the state's top returners in their respective event groups with Weddington in the sprints and Derek Joiner in the throws. 

Joiner excels in the shot put where he is the top returner, reigning state champion, and over 2 feet ahead of his next closest competitor. The massive 17.59m (57-8.5) personal best he threw at last year's Class 4 State Championships was over 4 feet further than his previous best and 12 feet further than his sophomore year best. He did throw over 17 meters three times at State, though, so this 17.59 toss was not a fluke. 

Joiner is 9th among discus returners with a 46.08m (151-2.25), but could climb in his senior year. Either way, he should be the favorite to repeat as shot put champion in 2024.


Michael Phillips - DeSmet

Usually the throws area is littered with seniors, but last year had several sophomores and juniors and seniors sprinkled throughout, with DeSmet's Michael Phillips being among those in the shot put and discus.

Phillips heads into his senior season with personal bests of 16.86m (55-3.75) in the shot put - second among returners on mark and place at state - and, though he is 14th in the discus with a 43.38m personal best, he did qualify for the State meet last year and would have placed 10th had he have hit that mark. A three-time all-state finisher in the shot put at this point, it is clear his home in the shot put ring, but do not sleep on the DeSmet Spartan in the discus, too.


Payton and Preston Brown - Hillsboro

Since the event became MSHSAA sanctioned in 2017, it just seems like Hillsboro has at least one guy among the top of the rankings in the event. This year, they have two - brothers Payton and Preston Brown. 

Payton leads the way with his 57.9m (189-9.75) personal best, a mark which would have had him soaring to the top of the podium last May, but he settled for second with a 54.91m toss instead. He cleared 50 meters five times last season and seven times in 2022. The two-time state runner-up should be poised for an overall gold this spring. 

Payton's younger brother Preston will be his biggest challenger. As a sophomore, Preston cleared 50 meters four times, headlined by his 55.81m (183-1.25) best. Like his brother's back-to-back second place finishes, Preston has back-to-back eleventh place finishes. He heads into the season second among Class 4 returners as the Brown brothers are the only two returners clear of 180 feet in the field.


Mark Goldman - Parkway North

Parkway North's Mark Goldman had an interesting end to his sophomore track and field season in 2023 as he qualified for the Class 4 State Championships in the discus, finishing an impressive 4th, but, even though he was ranked in the top 12 among shot putters, he decided not to even give it a shot at the District meet. 

This year, Goldman heads into the 2024 season having already broken his personal best with a 16.6m (54-5.5) on the indoor circuit. In fact, he has already cleared his previous best of 16.0m three times. As for the discus, Goldman enters the season as the top returner with his 53.09m (174-2.25) personal best. His 21m weight throw mark this winter was tops among Missourians to go along with the top indoor shot put mark. Goldman is on a crash course to a very successful junior campaign in 2024. 


Theodore Grace - Kearney

A three-time AAU Junior Olympics National Champion in the event, Kearney junior Theodore Grace is among the most successful javelin throwers in the short history of javelin throwing in Missouri. 

Grace heads into the 2024 season third among returners with a 53.92m (176-10.75) lifetime best. After finishing 5th at the Sectional 4 meet in 2022, he finished 7th at the Class 4 State meet in 2023. He is MO No. 3 all-time among freshmen and MO No. 9 all-time among sophomores and should be among the contenders for state gold this spring. 


Incoming Freshmen to Watch

Chance McPike - Warrenton

Warrenton has what may be a major game changer entering their ranks this spring. Freshman Chance McPike was among the top 8th graders in the 100, 200, 400, high jump, long jump, and triple jump last season with some very impressive personal bests for a middle schooler. 

McPike ran 11.17 in the 100, 23.58 in the 200, 52.90 in the 400, and cleared 1.8m (5-10.75) in the high jump, 6.09m (19-11.75) in the long jump, and 12.34m (40-5.75) in the triple jump. It is an impressive line heading into one's first prep season and we expect that whichever four events he narrows it down to will be four events in which he surely excels. 


Cruz Anders - DeSoto

Undefeated on the track as an 8th grader in all races except for one (the Jr. High Hawk Invitational 1600), and a winner of 6 of his 8 races on the middle school cross country course, DeSoto's Cruz Anders headed into the 2023 cross country season as one of the top freshmen to watch. He did not disappoint as the Dragon ran a 16:23.80 personal best in his debut and narrowly missed out on a state meet berth after finishing the dreaded 31st in a star-studded Class 4 District 1 race. 

Anders heads into his first high school track season with track personal bests of 2:12.26 and 4:43.44. Pairing those with his 16:23.80 5k personal best tells us Anders may only get better as the distance goes up. Watch for him to contend in the 1600 and 3200 this spring as he builds off that solid fall freshman campaign.


Top Teams

Ladue Horton Watkins

Heading into this spring, several of 2023's top teams have graduated significant point scorers so it is difficult to project the top team contenders just by looking at last year's state meet. What is apparent, though, is that among the top 6 teams, Ladue appears to be returning the most all-state runners of anyone else.

Led by the afore-mentioned Dwayne Foley in the long jump and triple jump, Ladue also returns all-staters Shaun Roberts in the 100 and 200 and Gavin Via in the 400. Roberts ran 10.84 and 22.13 in a breakout junior season and Via posted a massive personal best 49.41 in the open 400. Their 4x400 meter relay is consistently among the best in the state and they will return two men from last year's 3:21.19 team, both of whom not named Gavin Via. They had a stronger 2023 cross country season than 2024 with Nicholas Raibley and Kaiden Gheorghian both taking steps forward over the fall. 

Ladue has some strong front runners in several events and will look to add some depth pieces to compete for their first state trophy since 2019 and first victory since 2003.



With the afore-mentioned Liam Adair leading the way atop the distance events and the appropriately-named Jet Coleman holding it down in the 100, 200, and 400, Smithville has the pieces in place to make a legitimate run at Class 4 team hardware in 2024. 

With those two guys having the potential to pick up points in virtually every non-hurdles open running event, Marcus Eastridge (40.90 in the 300m hurdles) and Ethan Ritenour (16.18 in the 110 meter hurdles) have the potential to add to the total in the hurdle events. They also have the potential for points in the long jump with Max McKenzie, javelin with Kaulen Mueller, and 800 meter run with Quentin Zimmer. The Warriors have some up-and-comers in the shot put in discus, as well as high jump, pole vault, and triple jump showing their potential for small accumulative points in several areas. As for the relays, they return 3 of the 4 from their state qualifying 4x800 meter relay team and all 4 guys from their 3:28.35 state qualifying 4x400 meter relay. 

It's a deep team with opportunities for points in several areas so do not sleep on Smithville heading into the 2024 season.



Grandview appears ready to ascend the state ranks once again after a brief hiatus. From 2011-2015, the Bulldogs were absolutely dominant, winning outright or shared team championships in Class 3 in five consecutive years. They were third in 2018 before winning again in 2019. It is a program with a rich tradition of success over the last 15 years. 

Heading into 2024, they are led by two superstars in their respective event groups with Griouard Weddington holding it down on the short sprints and Derek Joiner making noise in the throws area, both profiled individually above. Grandview also returns Danny Richardson with his 22.85 200 personal best and 50.35 400 personal best and Anthony Tabron, whose 15.48m (50-9.5) puts him seventh among Class 4 returners. Corey Larry is another strong returner for them with an 11.29 personal best in the 100. He, Richardson, and Weddington were all part of 4x100 and 4x200 meter relays that ran 43.85 and 1:30.48, respectively, in 2023. 

Weddington could single-handedly bring in 20 points, with Joiner and Tabron adding another 15+ in the throws. With solid relays and a couple more points from Richardson or Larry in the individual events, Grandview should be considered a podium contender in 2024.


West Plains

There were a handful of teams we could go with at our fourth spot on the contenders list. It really is looking like the Class 4 trophy race is going to be an all-out brawl. Reigning champion Festus will still be in the mix even though they graduated several important point scorers. Cardinal Ritter and Farmington both have high point scorers that accumulate at the state meet level for their team. As does Hannibal, Hillsboro, Lutheran St. Charles, Parkway Central, and Kearney

West Plains may get the edge because of their balance up and down the event list. Starting in the sprints where superstar Heston Miller leaves a mighty hole with his graduation, the Zizzers still return William Stauffer and Lincoln Miller, two guys who, along with Zackery Tinsley, were big pieces of their 1:28.46 4x200 relay and 42.49 4x100 relay. Their distance squad is littered with newly minted upperclassmen like Carson King, Hoyt Stiner, and Kyler Gunter, all of whom had fantastic junior cross country campaigns and should be solid pieces for a strong 4x800 relay team once again. In the jumps, they return Nehemiah Wright in the high jump, Andrew Jacobs in the horizontal jumps, and Joshua Ingram in the pole vault. Throws are a major area of strength with Jaxon Hunter and Dawson Howell. It's a balanced team, it's a deep team, it's a team with a history of success at the state meet, so it's a dangerous team in 2024.

Dark Horse Team to Watch

DeSmet Jesuit

Never in their 57 year history has DeSmet ended up on the podium in track and field season, but heading into 2024, there is a realistic shot that they make the jump. 

Michael Phillips leads the way in the shot put and discus, where he could pick up double digits for the Spartans. After that, a slew of state qualifiers return for the 2024 season, including 300 meter hurdles 3rd place finisher Colin Griffin, 1600/3200 specialist William Poelker, whose 15:52.40 personal best this cross country means he may be ready to take another leap in the distance events, 110 meter hurdles 5th place finisher Liam Russo, and long jumper Nathan Hatcher.

DeSmet had a great 2023 cross country season in which Mateo Perales and Brian Bessire took major steps forward, as well, so their 4x800m relay could be much improved. They return 3 of 4 from a 4x200m relay that qualified for state and ran a season best of 1:31.21. With a few high point scorers and some role players sprinkled in, DeSmet should accumulate points at state and be major players for a team trophy.