Washington track and field qualified for the state meet in eight events during the Class 4 Sectional 3 meet last Saturday at Ozark High School.
The Lady Jays finished third in the team standings with 54 points. Rock Bridge won the sectional girls crown with 129 points. Jefferson City was second with 96.
Jefferson City claimed the boys team crown with 97 points. Parkview finished second with 70 points. Carthage was third with 65 points. Washington placed 21st with eight points.
“We had a great day. We got down there pretty early on Friday, got in a light workout and had time for the kids to relax,” said Washington Coach Mike Olszowka. “These are nerve-racking days for everyone involved. Kids are stressed because of the sectional meet and its implications, as well as graduation and finals. Parents are stressed because their kids are stressed. Coaches are stressed because we know these are the days we have been building toward. We know that a half-inch or a hundredth of a second is the difference between a season-ending or possibly a career-ending performance, and a trip to the state championships.”
The top four finishers in each sectional event qualified for the Class 4 state meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Washington won two girls events at the sectional meet.
Running with an injured foot, MC Landolt was a part of both first-place finishes and qualified for state in three events.
Landolt won the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.73. She also finished third in the 200-meter dash in 26.41.
“MC was struggling to walk through the halls at school. She was nervous about the 100-meter dash and scared about the rest of the day. We knew we could get one race out of her, then we knew it was up to her to gut out the rest of the day,” Olszowka said. “MC fought her way to the sectional title in the 100-meter dash. We got her out to the truck, put her foot in ice for about 20 minutes and brought her back in for the 400-meter relay, then repeated for the 200-meter dash. She did not run anywhere near her best, but did turn in what I would call the performance of her career.”
The Lady Jays’ 400-meter relay team won in 50.45, a new school record. Running were Landolt, Lauren Brinkmann, Emily Stricker and Kirstie Leslie.
“MC had a great start and got us out in front. Lauren had the race of her life. It was the strongest I’ve ever seen her look. She finished so strong that Emily had trouble getting away in the exchange zone. Emily ran a great curve. She got the baton to Kirstie very early in the zone in what looked like third place. Kirstie ran the home stretch taking us into first place. It was a total team race. The passes were good. The splits were great. They smashed the previous school record by over a half a second.”
Leslie qualified for the state meet in all four of her events.
In addition to running the anchor leg on the 400-meter relay team, Leslie finished third in the pole vault with a school record effort of 11-3, third in the long jump with a leap of 17-6 1/4 and fourth in the triple jump at 36-8 1/2.
“Typical Kirstie, the environment and time schedule had no effect on her,” Olszowka said. “She qualified in the long jump, then she helped to set a new school record on the winning 400-meter relay team. She jumped a season best on her last triple jump to qualify for state, and then set a new PR and school record in the pole vault.”
Jenna Haas, a freshman, finished second in the high jump, clearing 5-4.
“Jenna set the tone for the day. She went out like it was just another day at work. When you have a freshman in her first state series compete and jump to a second-place finish and a new PR (personal record), it helps to relax everyone else. Everyone was nervous, but when we got that first state qualifier, it just opened the flood gates. Everyone decided then that they wanted to go, too.”
Abby Stricker and the 3,200-meter relay team also competed, but did not advance.
Stricker finished eighth in the high jump at 4-10.
The 3,200-meter relay team of Ashley Garrard, Hannah Leslie, Erica Diener and Josie Plowman placed seventh in 10:18.
The lone state qualifier for the Blue Jays was Brenden Leslie, who finished fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles in a time of 16.01.
“Brendan was in a good position to be able to see the field. He was in the dreaded 4-5 spot for the entire race until the last hurdle. When he looked over, he just decided he wanted another week and overtook the qualifying position.”
Travis Elbert placed sixth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:44.68.