It came down to two Four Rivers Conference teams for the Class 3 District 5 girls track title Saturday in Jefferson City.
Union claimed its first district championship by two points over Sullivan to earn the top award. The Lady ’Cats scored 83 points while Sullivan had 81.
“We didn’t know it at the time but I guess we were tied with Sullivan going into the last event, the 1,600-meter relay,” said Union Head Coach Chris Kelley. “This is why it’s my favorite event. I figured the race, but not the standings at the time, would be between our two schools.”
Sullivan led the race after three legs.
“When Anna Houston got that baton on the last leg, she was gone,” said Kelley. “Sullivan probably had around a two-second lead on us with a solid anchor. Anna caught her around the 300-meter mark and found another gear. Our girls will agree that when everything’s on the line, we look to Anna to finish. She is such a competitor and a huge part of what we’ve been able to do.”
Sullivan Coach Pat Burke said it was a great day for the Four Rivers Conference.
“It was really great to see the conference do so very well this past Saturday,” Burke said. “We were tied with Union going into the last race of the day so it came down to a winner-take-all race. We got beat. Both teams ran solid times. It is a really great rivalry between two groups of outstanding athletes. It just goes to show how girls programs have really improved over the last number of years.”
Union won the race, and the meet title. Results from that race are in this story.
Another FRC school, St. Clair, finished third with 70 points.
“Our girls performed very well. Our relay teams looked solid,” said St. Clair Coach Brent Yule. “Lyndsay Hardin looked good in the 400 and in the 800, where she had her PR (personal record) by nearly four seconds. Our 800-meter relay team improved their top score by nearly two seconds. Emily Presley looked consistent in the pole vault.”
From there, the first school outside the area was Blair Oaks at 65 points. Owensville scored 63 to place fifth. The rest of the field consisted of Helias (62.5 points), California (62), Eldon (39), Borgia (32), St. James (31), Osage (24.5) Buffalo (24), Pacific (21), Salem (19), Southern Boone (18) and Versailles (6).
“Our conference schools represented well at districts,” Kelley said. “Four out of the top five teams in the overall standings are Four Rivers Conference schools.”
Burke said Sullivan had many highlights.
“I was pleased with our effort but it was a day of a number of missed opportunities,” Burke said. “Our sprints and middle distance had a really nice day which overshadowed the missteps by our jumpers. We had a handful of really nice accomplishments.”
The top four finishers in each event qualified for the Class 3 Section 3 meet this Saturday in Ozark. Following are the events with winners and area qualifiers.
• High jump — Eldon’s Sara Rhine won at 5-7 while Owensville’s Hailey Diestelkamp was third at 5-0.
• Pole vault — Jessica Clark of Blair Oaks won by misses over St. Clair’s Emily Presley. Both cleared 10-6.
Sullivan’s Kaitlyn Ghirardi was fourth at 9-0.
“She is jumping the best that she ever has,” Burke said. “It’s fun to watch her improve throughout the year and with some luck we’ll get her through to jump in her first state championship.”
• Long jump — Sydney Deeken of California won at 18-4.5 while Union’s Houston was second at 18-3.
“Anna Houston had an amazing day,” Kelley said. “She broke our school record in the long jump and we’ve had back to back state champions in that event in the past. She lowered her 300-meter hurdles school record by about half a second.”
Also advancing was Shelby Ridenhour of St. James, who was third at 16-4.
• Triple jump — Deeken won at 38-3.75. The lone area qualifier was Ridenhour, who was third at 34-6.75.
• Discus — Bre Zanders of Helias won at 150-7. Owensville’s Haley Record was third at 122-6 and St. Clair’s Alicia York took fourth at 114-9.
• Shot put — Owensville’s Katie Gregor was the winner at 39-3.5. Allison Hison of St. Clair placed second at 39-2.5.
• 3,200-meter relay — Three of the four qualifying teams were from the area. Sullivan’s squad of Megan Brandt, Lexie Brown, Victoria Dace and Dana Schatz won in 9:53.53.
“Our 3,200-meter relay team of Victoria Dace, Megan Brandt, Natalie Schriever and Dana Schatz broke our 1979 record running a 9:53.53. These girls have worked really hard to break it so hopefully we are able to re-break it a couple more times this season.”
Owensville’s team of Emily Ellis, Hailey Diestelkamp, Kayla Charboneau and Shalynn Uzzle took second in 10:03.39. Third place went to Union’s team of Abbie Brack, Kayla Kelly, Taylor LaValle and Janna Ruether in 10:05.33.
“Coming in to the meet I knew we had a shot to do well as a team but we would have to perform to the best of our abilities,” Kelley said. “Our 3,200-meter relay team had some issues and we finished lower in the standings than expected. Right off the bat we faced adversity, but the ladies do what they’ve done all year and responded.”
• 100-meter high hurdles — Area runners came across the line in the first two spots. Houston won in 16.26 while St. Clair’s Oleysa Stadnichuk was second in 17.07.
• 100-meter dash — Ridenhour won the title in 12.77 with Sullivan’s Brianna Winistoerfer placed second in 12.95.
“Brianna Winistoerfer qualified in all four of her events,” Burke said. “She won the 200-meter dash, was second in the 100-meter dash, was a member of the champion 800-meter relay team as well as a member of our second-place 1,600-meter relay team. We have been working really hard on improving her block starts and I think it really showed in her two individual sprint races. As a multi-event all-state athlete last year she has really dedicated herself to improving her times and becoming a solid leader for the team.”
• 800-meter relay — Sullivan’s team of Megan Andreasson, Madie Bartle, Schatz and Natalie Schriever won in 1:48.44.
St. Clair’s team of Keighlee Grable, Presley, Stadnichuk and Lyndsey Hardin placed second in 1:49.59.
Union was third in 1:51.19. Running were Ali Overstreet, Alyssa Pate, Ruether and Lyndsy Siedhoff.
• 1,600-meter run — California’s Katie Imhoff won in 5:23.61. Borgia’s Emily Grahl was the only area qualifier, taking third in 5:25.75.
“Emily Grahl ran her best 1,600-meter time,” said Borgia Coach Stacia Parsell. “She came in second in the 800-meter run and is looking forward to running it again on Saturday. Emily is really competitive and will be looking to dominate that race at sectionals.”
• 400-meter relay — Three of the four qualifying teams were from the area. St. Clair’s team of Amanda Presley, Grable, Stadnichuk and Emily Presley won in 51.72.
Union’s group of Overstreet, Alyssa Pate, Courtney Zweifel and Amber Tharp was second in 52.35.
Pacific’s squad of Taylor Hill, Abby Wood, Shannon Hamilton and Elaine Griffin took fourth in 53.13.
“The highlight of our day was our 400-meter relay. We had a relatively last minute substitution last week and needed to spend a lot of time at practice working on the new handoffs,” said Pacific Coach Justin Perriguey. “The girls’ hard work at practice paid off. They improved their time by more than two seconds.”
• 400-meter dash — Union’s Ruether won in 1:00.84, leading an all-area qualifying list.
“Janna Ruether is quickly becoming a seasoned veteran in 400-meter race strategy,” Kelley said. “She’s been finding a way to get it done and each race she looks better and better. Her offseason training is evident in her performances this year.”
St. Clair’s Hardin was second in 1:01.55 while Pacific’s Shannon Hamilton ended third in 1:01.79.
“Shannon is a tough competitor. She stepped up to the level of the other runners and ran almost a two-second personal best,” Perriguey said.
Andreasson of Sullivan was fourth in 1:02.22
“As a freshman she has really developed as a solid trackster,” Burke said. “She is a member of our 800-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams as well. She will be fun to watch over the next four years.”
Union’s KateLyn Riechers was fifth in 1:05.
“KateLyn Riechers is a senior who has run the 300-meter hurdles at districts her freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Her freshman year she was a sectional qualifier in that event. This year she was No. 3 on the team so I couldn’t enter her in that event. I instead entered her in the 400-meter dash as a no time and she ran in a slower heat. She had not run an open 400 since her freshman year and she ran very well in her heat. She ended up placing fifth overall and that was huge points for us. We are so proud of KateLyn and she has been appointed to the Air Force Academy. She’s a remarkable young lady.”
• 300-meter low hurdles — Houston dominated the race, winning 45.85.
Schriever was second in 47.74 and Sullivan placed another hurdler into the sectional round with Bartle taking fourth in 50.22.
“Natalie Schriever had another successful district meet,” Burke said. “After missing much of her workouts and early meets due to an injury Natalie is beginning to come into form. She works incredibly hard and her conditioning is beginning to show. She placed second in the 300-meter low hurdles. This is her primary event so it is really nice to watch her times decrease has her health improves. Hopefully we can get her back on the podium at state again this year.”
• 800-meter run — Owensville’s Emily Ellis was the winner in 2:20.96 while Borgia’s Grahl took second in 2:21.40.
Hardin of St. Clair was fourth in 2:25.36, edging out St. James’ Parker Fane for the last qualifying spot.
• 200-meter dash — Sullivan’s Winistoerfer won in 27.17. Ridenhour was fourth in 27.6.
• 3,200-meter run — There were no area qualifiers. Shelby Jackson of Buffalo won in 12:00.46. The top area finisher was Owensville’s Hannah Baehr, who was sixth in 12:16.81.
• 1,600-meter relay — The final event of the meet determined the champion. Union’s team of Ruether, Tharp, LaValle and Houston won in a time of 4:07.29.
Sullivan’s team of Andreasson, Bartle, Winistoerfer and Schriever was second in 4:07.82.
“These girls are closing in on our school record,” Burke said. “If they want to have continued success they will have to run the record and go under it.”
Fourth place went to Owensville’s group of Ellis, Diestelkamp, Charboneau and Miranda Robertson.