2024 Missouri Track and Field Preview: Class 3 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. The biggest change in 2024: with Class 3 moving to the first week of Missouri State Championships, all the other athletes and teams listed here will have one fewer week to improve their marks heading into the state series. 

With 19 days from the start of the season to the first competition day, we will be try to space 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 | Class 4 Boys Preview | Class 4 Girls Preview



William Gaines-Parker - Kennett

Kennett's William-Gaines Parker stands out as one of the top returning short sprinters in Class 3 this season. As the reigning champion in the 200 meter dash and runner-up in the 100 meter dash, Gaines-Parker should certainly be viewed as the one to beat in the sport's two most popular events. 

At last year's state championships, Gaines-Parker capped off a season in which he finished 1st or 2nd in every meet in both the 100 and 200, aside from one blemish at the East Prairie Invitational. His wind-aided 10.62 is well ahead of the next closest returner, although his wind-legal 10.73 from the Day 1 is also clear of the rest of the 2024 returner field. A wind-legal 21.69 has him as the top returner on time in the 200, as well, placing him firmly in the driver's seat for a 100/200 this May. But don't count him out in the long jump, either, as Gaines-Parker's 6.43m personal best is 7th among Class 3 returners.


Canyon Crowley - Fair Grove

Fair Grove's Canyon Crowley heads into the 2024 season with the top mark in the 400 meter dash, assuming Clark County moves back down to Class 2. As a 200/400 specialist, he has the potential to make plenty of noise in his own right this spring.

Crowley's wind-legal personal best of 21.89 is second among 2024 returners and earned him fourth at last year's Class 3 finale. He was the runner-up in the 400 with his 49.01 personal best, which is not only tops among Class 3 returners, but sixth among all returners in the state. He was also a major part of two all-state relays - a 1:31.32 4x200 and and 3:27.76 4x400. This winter, he has already run 22.70 for 200 meters. Watch for Crowley to challenge for a 200/400 double this spring and help his Eagles squad pull in big points.


Kaiden Snyder - St. James

The 2024 Class 3 110 and 300 meter hurdles events should be fun to watch this spring with St. James senior Kaiden Snyder leading the way as the reigning Class 3 champion. He will most likely have to do battle with a former Class 4 athlete who pulled in 18 points between the two events last spring, profiled below. Even still, among all returners in the state in the hurdles, Snyder stands out.

Snyder heads into the 2024 season with three all-state medals in his collection, two of them being gold. This past spring, he pulled in individual titles in both the 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles with marks of 14.36 (+0.0) - though his personal best is 14.25 - in the 110s and 38.74 in the 300s - though his personal best is 38.15. He lost only 3 times in 14 110 meter hurdles races and went undefeated in 8 300 meter hurdles races. His impressive 54.01 400 meter hurdles best is 18th among returners in the country and helped him earn 6th at the AAU Junior Olympics last summer. St. James has a rich recent history in the hurdles events and Snyder should continue to carry on the legacy this spring. 


Martell Coleman - STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley

Speaking of a rich history of success, STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley once again has two of the top sprinters heading into the 2024 season: Navon Moreland-Bell and Martel Coleman. Let's talk about the senior, Martel Coleman. 

Coleman had a significant breakthrough in 2023. After an abbreviated 2022 season in which he competed twice in the 200 meter dash, running only 24.84, and a 2021 season in which he posted 12.11 and 25.13 100/200 marks, Coleman dropped all the way to 10.83 and 22.44, cementing himself as one of the top 100/200 returners in Class 3. He was 5th at last year's Class 3 State Championships in the 100 meter dash and returns as the second ranked runner i nthe event. He should also once again contribute a strong leg on both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.


Matthew Malmstrom - Helias Catholic

A jack of all trades and master of a few, Helias Catholic's Matthew Malmstrom will step down to Class 3 for his final track season.

Malmstrom was a part of two strong hurdles contingents in 2023. The reigning Class 4 State Champion in the 110 meter hurdles, he will bring a 14.52 personal best into Class 3 as he looks to remain on the top of the podium. As for the 300 meter hurdles, he will look to return to prominence after missing out on finals and a personal best in 2023. His lifetime best of 38.44 came in 2022, when he finished as the Class 4 runner-up. Malmstrom also ran his personal best in the 400 meter hurdles in 2022 - 56.94.

A decathlete in the AAU circuit who will be competing in the heptathlon this weekend at New Balance Nationals Indoor, Malmstrom has the opportunity to contribute significant points in several areas this spring; which four he ends up choosing should be fun to monitor.



Ben Chance - Bowling Green

Bowling Green's Ben Chance has been enjoying one heck of a year and a half as he has cemented himself among the state's elites in the distance events, regardless of class. 

No stranger to the limelight at this point, Chance was a contributor to his team's Class 3 drubbing last spring by picking up a 6th place medal in the 1600 and 4th place medal in the 3200. He heads into his senior season coming off an individual state title at the Class 3 State Cross Country Championships where he also ran a personal best 15:25.50 5K. It capped off a season in which he pulled in seven victories in eleven tries. Chance boasts track personal bests of 2:01.65 in the 800 (1:59.02 official split last May), 4:21.58 in the 1600, and 9:32.22, putting among the top returners in each event. Expect Chance to challenge the 4:15 and 9:00 barriers in the 1600 and 3200 as he looks to pull in even bigger points for a Bowling Green squad that lost some significant pieces to graduation.


Chase Sorrell - East Newton

The East Newton Sorrell era ends this spring with Chase's final track and field season. The senior and Missouri Southern commit heads into the 2024 season as one of the most decorated distance runners among his graduating class in the entire state. 

Sorrell is the reigning Class 3 800 meter champion, 1600 meter runner-up, and 3200 meter bronze medalist. He currently has 8 individual state medals to his name across cross country and track and field, as well as two more state golds in the 4x800 meter relay. His 1:53.60 personal best capped off an undefeated 9-for-9 season in the half mile and has him second among all 2024 returners in the entire state and first by over 3 seconds in Class 3. 

After running a personal best 15:32.80 5K this fall for 2nd at the Class 3 State Cross Country Championships, Sorrell is looking ready to improve upon that 800 mark, his 4:17.60 1600 best that is tops among Class 3 returners, and his 9:30.77 mark that is second among returners. Sorrell could seriously challenge for a distance treble this spring if he plays his cards just right.


Sam Vaughn - Herculaneum

Among the ones looking to keep Chase Sorrell from pulling off a distance treble this spring is Herculaneum senior and Sorrell's future college teammate, Sam Vaughn.

Vaughn heads into the 2024 season with personal bests in the 1600 of 4:21.30 in the 1600 and 9:28.17 in the 3200. The 1600 mark is third among returners (his teammate Nathaniel Wright is second among returners, 0.05 seconds ahead of Vaughn) and the 3200 mark is tops among Class 3 runners. A 15:37.00 mark closed out Vaughn's final cross country season with a bang and third place medal at state, his lone race this winter of 9:09.01 in the Arkansas HS Invitational 3k busted some rust, and now we should watch for him to attack both of the longer distance races this spring.


Tyler Kloeppel - Fatima

If anyone can take down Sorrell in the 800 this spring, it appears that Fatima's Tyler Kloeppel is among the upset effort favorites. Last spring, Kloeppel popped out of virtually nowhere dropping 6 seconds off his 2:05.48 personal best before dropping another 3 seconds all the way down to 1:56.79 for third in last year's strong field of half milers. 

After flying under the radar all season, though, Kloeppel is firmly on the radar in the 800 this spring. We will see just how low he can go this spring after experiencing a solid cross country season. 


Brian Burns - Southern Boone County

And so it begins...

Southern Boone County lost the eldest Burns to graduation, which only the novices thought would be the end of the Burns run of elite success in Missouri. Oh no, it was just getting started. Now, after what should certainly be considered a breakout winter, Connor's brother Brian Burns is looking to cement his own name among the state's greats in the distance events. 

Burns closed out his sophomore cross country season with a solid 16:06.70 personal best and 7th place state medal in Class 3. This came after an abbreviated freshman season in which he ran 4:52.78 and 10:46.88. Nevertheless, Burns has thrown down on the indoor track this winter, running 4:18.34 for the full mile up in Chicago on January 20th. He will be looking to improve on that this weekend at New Balance Nationals Indoor. We have to believe another major breakthrough is coming this spring as Brian Burns solidifies himself as a top distance runner in the entire state regardless of class.



Caelan Harland - Macon

Macon's Caelan Harland is having the kind of winter indoor season that turns state-level elites into national-level elites. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have found our next Missourian superstar pole vaulter. 

Harland heads into his junior year with two Class 3 state titles to his name already and a 4.9m (16-1) outdoor personal best. This indoor season, he has completely shattered that mark with an incredible 5.33m (17-6) at the New Mexico Lobo Classic in early February. It was a massive breakthrough after he had cleared 5 meters three times before it. He was already tied for 21st among returners in the country, but that 17-6 clearance puts him a quarter of an inch behind the top outdoor returner in the country, Bryce Barkdull. He is US No. 2 this winter, only three-quarters of an inch behind Barkdull.

Harland, only a junior and only the 10th Missourian high schooler to ever break 5 meters, appears to be tracking toward the recently set and broken and set and broken state record held by both KC Lightfoot and Chris Nilsen - 5.61m (18-4.75). 


Jason Williams - Orchard Farm

Orchard Farm's Jason Williams heads into the 2024 season as one of the top short sprinter/long jumpers in the entire state, much less Class 3. The reigning state champion in the long jump after clearing 7.01m (23-0) on his fifth jump last May, Williams may have some stiff competition with a few stellar returners right behind him, but his 2023 state gold elevates him ever so slightly. Not to be outdone, he boasts lifetime bests of 10.95 and 22.51, both of which from his sophomore year. Williams is clearly one to watch as someone who could put up significant points in three events for his team this spring.


Bleyne Bryant - Bowling Green

Bleyne Bryant was a major part of the Bobcats' dominant team victory in 2023, scoring points in the 8 points in the long jump and bringing in the gold medal in the triple jump. He also contributed a leg on their 8th place 4x100 relay. 

Bryant is now the top returner in the triple jump, once again, with his 14.11m (46-3.5) personal best. Last spring, he won 11 times in 12 tries, with his only loss coming to Winfield's Bailey Riley who eventually finished 3rd at state behind Bryant. His 6.99m (22-11.25) personal best in the long jump has him just a shade behind Jason Williams for the top long jump mark, giving Bryant a realistic shot at the horizontal jumps double in 2024. That would be huge for Bowling Green's repeat chances.


Tyler Erwin - Montgomery County

Four boys head into the 2024 season with a personal best in the high jump at 1.9m (6-2.75) or better and Montgomery County's Tyler Erwin leads the way with his 1.93 (6-4) personal best. Erwin cleared 6 feet at 8 different meets in 2023 and finished 3rd at the Class 3 State Championships. But that was just 2023. As a sophomore, Erwin cleared 6 feet at 11 of his 12 meets, jumping a 1.98m (6-6) at his home invitational. He would finish 8th at state in 2022. 

Erwin may be the strongest returner in the high jump, but he is also third among returners in the long jump with a 6.94m (22-9.25) personal best, which earned him the bronze medal at state last spring. A 13.69m (44-11) personal best in the triple jump helped him qualify for the AAU Junior Olympics after he finished fifth in the event at the Class 3 state meet. 

A thee-event contributor, watch for this Montgomery County senior to rack up points in all three non-pole vault jumps this May.


Kannon Harlow - Central Park Hills

Kannon Harlow lands on our list as a pole vault/long jump specialist with the chops to pick up major points in both events wherever he goes.

Harlow is among the top returners in the entire state in the pole vault with his personal best mark of 4.55m (14-11.25). He finished third in the event at state last year after finishing second as a sophomore. In any other class, we are considering him a heavy favorite for the state championship. Unfortunately, in Class 3, he will have to go up against one of the state's all-time greats in his quest to close out his career with state gold. The long jump is a viable spot for a state gold for him, too, though, as he enters the 2024 season with a 6.64m (21-9.5) personal best, fifth among returners.



Trace Wooldridge - Lamar

Class 3's premier shot putter is Lamar senior Trace Wooldridge. He heads into the 2024 season well over a meter ahead of the rest of the field.

Wooldridge won a Class 3 state title in his first season of competition and should be considered the favorite to repeat. His 16.77m (55-0.25) mark at the Class 3 State Championships was one of not only two marks over 16 meters, but two marks over 15 meters on the season as it seemed like he really started to figure it all out at the District 6 meet. With a year of experience at the highest level under his belt, watch for Lamar's newest superstar thrower to back up last year's performance with another gold in 2024.


Kyle Cotton - St. Charles West

On paper, the Class 3 javelin is way too close to call heading into the season. Two guys head into the season over 51 meters, but are both within 2 millimeters of each other led by St. Charles West's Kyle Cotton. 

Cotton earned a 5th place medal at last year's Class 3 State Championships after losing only once all season. He would go on to finish in 4th at the AAU Junior Olympics. With the four seniors ahead of him out of the picture, the junior should be among the favorites to compete for gold in 2024 with his 51.76m (169-9.75) personal best. A javelin specialist in his first two years, do not expect much else out of the St. Charles West Warrior, but do expect to see 8-10 points at the state meet and to see him standing either atop or near the top of the Jefferson City podium in May.


Carson Sterling - Maryville

Seven of last year's top nine finishers at the Class 3 State meet in the discus were seniors. The lone non-senior was now-junior Carson Sterling of Maryville. His 43.83m (143-9) mark earned him the final medal, but his 46.3m (151-11) as him as the top returner in the state heading into the 2024 season. 

Sterling is fifth among returners in the shot put with a 14.97m (49-1.5). The four guys ahead of him are Wooldridge, Fair Grove's Seth Hardison, Herculaneum's Jacob Moreland, and Ste. Genevieve's Paul Taylor (profiled below). We expect Sterling to be a major factor this season in both the shot put and discus.


Weston Marshall - Montgomery County

The athlete that is just 2 millimeters behind Kyle Cotton for top javelin thrower in Class 3 is Montgomery County's Weston Marshall.

Marshall's season ended after he threw his personal best 51.74m (169-9) for the Class 3 District 4 title. Up to that point, he had finished first or second in every meet in which he had competed and appeared on a course to compete for gold at the Class 3 State Championships a year after finishing in the dreaded ninth position. Marshall is another javelin specialist with no shot put or discus marks to his name, but he should be considered among the favorites to pull in the win in the javelin this spring, making him one of the top returners in Class 3 among the throwers.


Paul Taylor - Ste. Genevieve

Sophomore Paul Taylor had one of the stronger freshman campaigns we have seen in recent memory from an athlete not named Jackson Cantwell. The Ste. Genevieve Dragon hit a personal best in the shot put of 15.39m (50-6), making him one of only eleven Missourian freshmen to ever clear 50 feet according to our database. He is third among Class 3 returners heading into 2024 after finishing fifth at state in 2023.

Taylor's javelin personal best of 47.83m (156-11) is seventh among returners and fourth all-time among freshmen. Watch for Taylor to break through in a major way and push the limits in both events as he heads into his sophomore season.


Incoming Freshmen to Watch

Wyatt Klaiber - El Dorado Springs

Any other year, El Dorado Springs' Wyatt Klaiber would be considered the best freshman distance runner in the entire state. He was the second of two freshman this fall to go under 16:00 in the 5K, the first time that has happened since 2007 with Caleb Hoover and Joe Skelton, and already heads in with at least one elite, state-level personal best on the track.

Klaiber set the track ablaze last spring with a personal best full mile at the Hoka Festival of Miles of 4:30.91, behind SLUH's Jackson Miller, but still good enough to be among the top 20 marks in US history for a middle schooler. He ran 2:07.94 in the 800, but that should surely come down sooner rather than later. 

After finishing 4th at the Class 3 State Championships this fall with his 15:40.80 personal best, expect Klaiber to be among the top distance runners in Class 3 this spring.


Mace McKim - Maryville

Yes, the implements are lighter in middle school, but that does not make Maryville's Mace McKim's personal bests in the shot put and discus any less impressive heading into his freshman campaign.

McKim led the way among middle school shot putters in 2023 with a personal best of 16.15m (52-11.75). Even if you take off 2 full meters that still puts him fourteenth among Class 3 returners - and that is a less-than-generous conversion. As for his discus mark, 47.37m (155-5) would lead the way heading into the 2024 season, but even if you subtract 5 meters, he is still among the top ten! The Spoofhounds should get a major boost from this throws phenom this spring.


Ethan Ross - Centralia

We are looking at Ethan Ross to be a difference maker right way in the Class 3 pole vault, even if the top of the Class 3 ranks are occupied by two of the state's best. 

Ross heads into his first high school season at a distinct advantage over most of the state's freshmen. His 3.65m (11-9.75) best from last spring would slot him tenth among 2024 returners in Class 3 already. He has also run 11.90 in the 100, 25.16 in the 200, 55.01 in the 400, and long jumped 5.85m (19-2.25), all numbers that pale in comparison to his pole vault best, but still show the kind of potential that could make Ross the next big multi-event star to come out of Centralia very soon.


Top Teams

Bowling Green

We could not start off the team discussion without mentioning Bowling Green. After scoring 74.5 points in 2023 and exactly doubling up the next closest team, it was the kind of dominant victory that we seldom see on any level anymore. 

Heading into 2024, the Bobcats will be without several of the 2023 seniors who contributed significant points to their gold medal effort, but they return several other significant contributors. Coach Chance's son, Ben, is chief among them in the 800, 1600, and 3200, as well as Bleyne Bryant in the 100, 200, 400, long jump, and triple jump. Other important returners to their effort include Jace Eskew in the high jump and Elija Henningfeld in the distance races. They aren't necessarily depleted after last year's historic season, but they will be looking for some significant improvements from guys who may have been considered JV last season in order to repeat in 2024.



Herculaneum has long been regarded as a distance powerhouse, pulling in over a baker's dozen cross country state championships in their long history, but have only pulled in one state championship on the track, all the way back in 1979. In 2023, they finished third, earning their fourth team trophy since 1990. Heading into 2024, they have a realistic shot at winning their first team title in 45 years. 

The distance crew leads the way, of course, with Sam Vaughn and Nathaniel Wright looking to score significant points in all three distance events. Their 4x800 relay should be among the top 5 teams once again, as well. Jacob Moreland is the other major point scorer as he looks to compete for individual wins in the shot put and discus. They, too, will need help from role players, but short sprinter Cameron Harris, who hit personal bests of 11.05 in the 100 and 23.49 in the 200 as a sophomore, is a good start. The Blackcats are on the prowl and should be dangerous once again in 2024.


Montgomery County

The third cat team in our preview, the Montgomery County Wildcats appear ready to make their first ever leap into the top 4 teams in Class 3 after finishing tied for 10th in 2023. 

Led by two athletes about whom we have already spoken at length - Tyler Erwin and Weston Marshall - we expect them to also obtain significant points in the 400 from 50.47 man Jacer Brower. We are keeping an eye on pole vaulter Landon Massey and shot put/discus specialist Conner Finke as difference makers should they take another step forward in their senior years. Jadrian Thurmon is coming off a major breakthrough on the cross country course and could be one to watch in the 800 and 1600 this spring, as well. Much like Bowling Green's upperclassmen group last spring, Montgomery County could benefit from the same veteran leadership and storm all the way to the top this spring.


Helias Catholic

We are expecting Helias Catholic to step into Class 3 this spring based on an enrollment dip from 553 to 504. Even though 503 was the cutoff for Class 4 last year, we are projecting that that cutoff will change to 512 and push the Crusaders into Class 3 this spring. 

That's a good thing for Helias as they should step right into the discussion as one of the top four teams to watch in their new classification. Matthew Malmstrom leads the way, of course, as someone who can score significant points in several different events, most notably the two hurdle events. He is the team's top returner in 6 events. Ian Benne has had a strong indoor season after improving his 5k personal best to 16:09.50. He has already run 1:58.56 in the 800 this winter after having not posted an open mark since middle school. Logan Hillman in the long jump and high jump, Stephen Meisel in the javelin, and Mason French in the pole vault are all guys who can provide depth in the field events. We think Helias should be able to clear 30 points, with 20 of them coming from Malmstrom alone. They are a strong bet to land a podium spot and major player for a Class 3 team title.


Dark Horse Team to Watch


Kennett was 15th last season with 18 points coming just from William Gaines-Parker. But in 2024, they should have the kind of supporting cast that bumps them into team trophy contention.

Three guys beyond Gaines-Parker will be the key to their success: Chauncey Fobbs in the high jump and triple jump, Chavez Thomas in the javelin, and Kevin Thompson in the shot put. If those three guys can take a step forward and contribute significant points in those events, Kennett could certainly be a dark horse team to watch for a podium run in 2024.