Sans a trophy, a beard and a bus will have to do as measuring sticks for Marshfield’s track ambitions, for now at least.
Though MSHSAA doesn’t formally recognize a sectional champion, the Lady Jays were unofficially winners of last weekend’s Class 4 Sectional 3 meet in Camdenton.
Marshfield coach Roy Kaderly spoke in recent weeks about how a strong enough performance across the board would mean being able to cart more than just a modest number of athletes to Friday’s state meet in Jefferson City.
“We competed where I thought we should have [at sectionals], and we can take the bus now,” Kaderly said. “That was one of my goals, and we’re doing it.”
Unofficially, Marshfield's girls beat out Rolla and Union to be the best in Camdenton, while Webb City was best of the boys programs, followed by Willard. The Blue Jays' boys would have come in seventh out of 17 programs.
Senior Brianna Utecht was a 4x1 of her own. She won both the 100 (12.02 seconds) and 200-meter (24.62) dash events, as well as the 100 hurdles (14.31) and the long jump (5.54 meters).
Abby McBride finished behind Utecht in the long jump, but a fourth-place finish was still good enough to qualify for state, and she also won the triple jump (10.92m). Both were PRs.
Aaliyah Joiner missed out on qualifying in the 100 hurdles, but her time of 48 seconds flat in the 300 hurdles was good for third place.
Kiana Massie bested the field in Javelin with a throw of 35.13m, while Bayley Simmons rounded out the state qualifiers by taking fourth in the high jump.
From Logan-Rogersville, Railey Stillings squeezed into the qualifiers for state by finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles (16.19) and Leiah O'Neal placed second in the high jump. The Lady Cats' 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams took third and fourth, respectively, to qualify as well.
Peyton McBride was the lone individual event winner from the Jays' boys team, breaking his own school and PR again in the triple jump (14.29m). The 4x200 relay team took first, though, while the 4x100 team took second. The 4x200 team’s time of 1:30.53 was a program best.
“They were about two-tenths off the school record at districts, and Friday they shaved over two seconds off their best time and the school record,” said Kaderly, who also said the 4x100 team still has room for improvement through its hand-offs, which he called exciting.
Marshfield’s Travis Greenfield missed out in qualifying with a fifth-place finish in pole vault, topped by an exceptionally strong field that's expected to make up the frontrunners for the event in Jeff City.
Rogersville's Landon Hendrickson won qualification with third-place finishes in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter run events.
At practice Monday, Marshfield athletes who qualified for state were given the chance to shave off Kaderly’s head. While a trophy would come with a top-four team finish at the state level, he said that the Jays will also get the rare opportunity to shave off his beard if they’re to finish that high collectively.
“Looking ahead, we’re in the hunt to crack the top three or four [on the girls side], but it’s going to be pretty tight,” Kaderly said. “There’s a couple schools that are pretty loaded. We’ve got to go take a couple spots above where we’re seeded right now, which I think they can. We’re primed and peaking at the right time.”
“They all want to shave my beard, and I told them if they put a banner up [for a top-four finish], they can shave it off. Hopefully, I’ll be beardless.”