Marshfield’s track and field team made their mark in the Class 4 District 2 tournament in Carl Junction on Saturday, breaking a few school records and putting up several personal bests on the way to qualifying eight girls and six boys for state sectionals.
For the Lady Jays team, it was a bittersweet result. Though they claimed medals in several events and many athletes outperformed expectations, as a team, they closed the day behind three other schools to take fourth overall. It was a strong finish, but far shy of the district title that head track and field coach Roy Kaderly had set his eyes on.
“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed because we pulled about what we should have,” said Kaderly. “Just some of those other schools made strides that put them just over us.”
Indeed, it was a packed field at the top in the girls competition, with Marshfield’s 111 team points putting them just two and a half behind Bolivar (113.5), eight behind Carl Junction (119) and 15 behind district champion Webb City (126). To put that differential in greater perspective, the nearest team below Marshfield was Monett with almost half of the Jays’ points at 61.
“In the grand scheme of things, only being 15 points out of first, that’s not a whole lot,” said Kaderly. “It’ll be easy to pick up a few points here and there. I think as we continue to grow as a program, we can start filling two people to an event that can point.”
As for now, the team still moves on with plenty to be happy about.
The girls 4x100 meter relay team, consisting of sophomores Brianna Utecht and Alliyah Joiner, freshman Kiana Massey and senior Emma Hungerford, once again smoked all of the competition, taking first at the meet, but also overcoming Reeds Spring’s area-leading time (and Marshfield’s own school record) with a 49.24 second finish.
The 4x200 relay team, running with sophomore Baylee Hayes in place of Utecht, will also be heading to sectionals, having nabbed second place with a time of 1:48.55.
As for Utecht’s individual events, the sophomore did what she’s been doing all season, dominating the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash events and improving on her own times along the way. In the 200, her last race of the day, she bested the school record she had set just two weeks prior with a time of 25.62 seconds.
Utecht wasn’t the only one climbing to new heights, though. Hungerford, who has consistently placed in the sixth- through eighth-place spots in the 100- and 200-meter dashes throughout the year, finished fourth and third, respectively, in those events on Saturday, punching her ticket to sectionals in both.
Joiner, meanwhile, also secured a four-event sectional with a bronze finish in the 100-meter hurdles and a silver in the 300-meter hurdles.
Other sectional qualifiers among the Lady Jays include Destiny Skidmore, who finished second in pole vaulting with an 11-foot, three-inch clearance, Reagan Smith, who ran for fourth place in the 3200-meter run with a time of 12:27.50, and Emily Aldridge, who leapt to a new personal best with a four-foot, 10-inch high jump that put her in third.
While the boys accrued fewer team points than their Lady Jay counterparts, they also had a banner day at districts, advancing seven athletes to sectionals in five events.
The 4x100 meter relay team, featuring sophomore Daylon Kanengieter, junior Garrison Foster and seniors Tristan Greenfield and Jacob Villines, punched their ticket with a 45.14-second dash for fourth place. Greenfield will also be competing in sectional pole vaulting competition, having cleared 14 feet, three inches to tie for second place in Saturday’s competition.
Freshman Peyton McBride advanced in both the triple and long jump events, posting fourth-place distances in each, and senior Keegan Odell, who has consistently medaled in shot put all year, threw for second place (46-06.50) to lock his spot at sectionals.
The 14 Marshfield athletes will next compete to move on to state finals in Saturday’s sectional meet in West Plains.