Anna Houston didn’t want her senior season to end.
And it nearly didn’t, because it was the never-ending track meet.
Two days in Jefferson City seemed like two centuries to some. It was everything one would expect from a championship meet.
At a sunkissed Dwight T. Reed Stadium on the campus of Lincoln University, fans got a bit of everything.
There were thrills, chills, spills, an occasional cloud or light shower, bald eagles, Blackhawk helicopters, Gov. Jay Nixon and even a race rerun.
In other words, there was something for everyone.
Awestruck is the only thing to say when a major mark was set, such as the 212-5 discus throw by Blue Springs junior Carlos Davis. He wasn’t far from landing his discus at the medal stand, where he grabbed the state title.
The girls 1,600-meter run brought two records. Eureka junior Hannah Long broke the 25-year all-classes record (Megan Thompson of Hazelwood Central at 4:47.53) with a time of 4:46.21 before Ste. Genevieve sophomore Taylor Werner broke it less than 10 minutes later in the Class 3 race with a time of 4:44.26.
Then there was the final field event, the Class 3 boys high jump which came down to a duel between Southern Boone senior Landon Bartel and Grandview senior Harvey Kendall. The crowd cheered both athletes as they went for the title.
Bartel, the defending champion, tied the class record by going over at 7-0.
Of course, don’t forget the first record to fall at the meet, the Class 3 girls pole vault, won by Emily Presley of St. Clair at 12-6. She set the new Class 3 state mark in that event.
Two things really struck me during the meet. Let me commend the parents for doing an outstanding job raising their track children because I saw the kindest, most courteous young adults at the meet when we did our interviews.
Second, the athletes showed a lot of compassion. I don’t know how many times I saw athletes who were doing everything to win just seconds before turning around and hug their rivals or shake hands.
Then, there was the race which wouldn’t end.
In the original Class 3 girls 300-meter low hurdles, a fall brought down other runners, so it was determined that the race would be redone 30 minutes after the final scheduled race. And it was a long 30 minutes of waiting for the race to take place. I think Anna was ready to run it 30 seconds after the final 1,600-meter relay ended. Finally, the event took place, the trophies were awarded and everyone left.
Overall, it was a good two-day meet. A lot has been done in recent years to make it easier to get around. The fans now have nice, paved sidewalks to get to the front of the stadium instead of the old mud paths.
Parking is still a mess and fans paid for the privilege of parking fairly close. If you don’t mind walking, you can park for free.
While the never-ending track meet might actually be over, the memories should last forever.