A disappointing finish could only throw so much shade on a mostly outstanding day of results for Marshfield at Friday’s Class 4 state track meet in Jefferson City.
The Blue Jays teams posted a combined nine podium finishes. Though that’s just one more than in 2019, Marshfield athletes largely placed higher than in the last trip to Adkins Stadium two seasons ago when the Lady Jays ended in 12th place as a team.
This time, they doubled their team score from 19 to 38 points. The last of them came from senior Brianna Utecht's third-place finish in the 200-meter dash in a time of 24.86 seconds, just seven-hundredths behind Parkway Central's Kayeln Tate.
At that point, with the end in sight, Marshfield sat in fourth place overall, poised to come home with the program’s first-ever state plaque. All that needed to happen was for Platte County to finish in anything but first or second place in the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the evening, and overtake Marshfield in points.
And that’s exactly what happened, as the fourth runner from Platte pulled away on the last stretch to come in second place, over a second ahead of Kearney in third. Those two extra points –– the difference between second and third –– pushed the Pirates to a total of 39.5, just ahead of Marshfield.
It left Jays athletes and coaches gathered together on the border of the track in the opposite corner of the finish line clearly disappointed despite elation after a number of big finishes on the day.
In her first event of the day, Utecht's 14.33 mark in the 100 hurdles was good for second place behind Winnetonka's Amyah Davis (14.26). She turned around in less than a half hour and took fourth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.12 seconds.
Her long jump experience almost mimicked the Lady Jays' finish as a whole. Her final attempt of 5.54 meters was the best of anyone –– better than her first jump, or any attempt by another by over two-tenths of a meter –– but St. Teresa's Academy senior Leah North went and bested Utecht on her final jump by just one-hundredth of a meter to snatch away first place.
“I was kind of disappointed after my hurdles,” said Utecht, who accounted for 26 team points from her four events. “It wasn’t a good time for me. Both my 100 starts, I almost jumped it and I think it distracted me from having a good start and just kind of the whole race in general. I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but my starts weren’t very good.”
On her 200 dash conclusion, she said, “I felt really good coming off the curve, I felt like I was flying. Then, I don’t know...there were really fast girls there [laughs]. But it was cool to get to race against them and have that competition, which is what it’s going to be like in college.”
“I really wanted to be a state champion today. It wasn’t the day that I wanted, but I know I’ve had a really good season and I’ve got to move on from it. I’ve only been doing half the events I did today for a year. I’m happy with [how far I’ve come]. It’s sad that it’s over and I’m going to miss it a lot. All my teammates, we shed tears for each other and were there for each other.”
Relay teams for Marshfield also provided plenty of excitement. The 4x100-meter girls quartet of Emma Dinkins, Kiana Massie, Cassie Fishel and Alliyah Joiner earned fourth place by finishing in 50.43 seconds.
“[Emma] has amazing starts out of the blocks, Kiana catches us up and Cassie is always first out of the curve and gives an amazing hand-off,” Joiner said. “I just tried to keep the lead Cassie had coming around the corner.”
All four were more than satisfied after being seeded seventh in the heat. On the spring as a whole, a giddy Joiner said, “I got to run with my cousin [Emma], my homeslice Kiana and the best newcomer we have. They were amazing this year and I love them all.”
Earlier in the day, the boys 4x200-meter relay team consisting of Cooper Kimrey, Jackson Wolff, Dayvion Harris and John Mccall captured second place (1:32) behind Moberly.
"My only goal was to beat the No. 1 seed West Plains next to me, and I kept up with them pretty well; I was proud of my leg," Kimrey said.
Of the hand-off from Harris, Wolff said, “It was a little funny. I didn’t feel the baton, and I heard a ‘slow down.’ I did –– perfect [hand-off] –– and took off. I think we were in fifth. The tail wind helped and I saw Johnny give me the ‘keep it going,’ handed it off and it was great.”
McCall added, “I noticed we were in first place and totally expected someone to pass me on the curve and no one did until 150, but still, second place, best thing I’ve ever done.”
Massie also aided Marshfield’s point total by finishing fifth in the javelin. The junior's first throw of 37.46 meters also broke a program record.
“I’ve been wanting to do that all year,” said Massie, who bested Zoe Bisby’s program-best mark set a few years ago at districts by over several feet. “It felt fantastic. The rest of them, I was thinking too much. But it’s OK, I still placed. I wanted to get a little bit better of a throw, but I’m still happy, and I have another year, so there’s still room for growth.”
Also at the meet, Logan-Rogersville athletes were among those who narrowly missed out on finishing top-8. Landon Hendrickson (9:49.50) came in ninth in the 3,200-meter run, while he took 11th overall in the 1,600. The Lady Cats 4x100 relay team of Olivia Frieze, Brianna Linehan, Aleah Metge and Railey Stillings missed out on a podium finish by almost seven-tenths of a second and took 10th.