Lake area bragging rights were on the line Thursday night in Eldon.
The Mustangs hosted Versailles, Osage, Macks Creek and 10 other schools for the annual Maroon and Gold Relays and nothing could be taken for granted with every single point making a difference in the final standings. At the end of the day, the Eldon girls won the event with 157 team points while Versailles took second with 142 points and Osage finished fourth with 75 points respectively. In the boys’ competition, Eldon’s 109 points trailed only Centralia who won the event with 146 points while Osage finished third with 91 points, Versailles took fifth with 65 points and Macks Creek placed 14th with seven points of their own.
The Eldon girls, who came into the season with three straight conference titles and two straight district titles, continued their trend of success once again. However, Coach Tobby Eldridge said Versailles gave his team a run for their money.
“I’d just like to salute Coach (Broc) Silvers, (Mark) Garcia and Versailles because they have turned that program around,” he stated. “The success they’ve had was the motivation for our girls today because we knew they wanted to come out and win it and we were going to have to compete as hard as we could and fight for every single point to beat them. They have done a tremendous job over there and have continued to make our conference better. Fortunately for us, our girls knew how to respond and we just keep on finding a way to win.”
That is due in part to the foundation of Eldridge’s program and he reminded his athletes of that foundation a few days ago.
“Our foundation is a team that takes care of each other, but at the same time we do not wait for somebody else to get the job done,” he remarked. “We are going to support and encourage each other as much as we can, but our kids are going to fight for every single point and not assume that somebody is going to get first or second and what they do doesn’t matter. If they fight for eighth place, they are going to fight for it with all they got because they ultimately know that is going to give us the best chance to win.”
Eldon senior Hannah Ruark, who broke the school’s javelin record Thursday night, can attest to that mentality and the last thing the senior wanted was to see her team fall short at home.
“I am really glad that I have been part of such a good team. Not only are we a very successful track team, but it is a really good atmosphere with all the girls,” the returning javelin state qualifier said. “We all get along really well, we encourage each other and I really like being a part of that... Nobody wants to lose on their own turf so I’m really glad we came out and competed the way we did tonight.”
Seeing some initial success at the home venue, Ruark said her team is excited to continue building and see what they are capable of when they come back home for the conference and sectional meet.
If there was anything the Versailles girls were lacking on Thursday, it certainly was not momentum as the Tigers came to Eldon undefeated on the season. Coach Mark Garcia said what makes this year’s team special is that the work ethic matches the talent level and that is what has been yielding good results.
“As good as our girls have been it’s easy to forget sometimes that most of them are freshmen or sophomores who are still learning how to train, race and be successful,” he said. “I think last night we went into the meet knowing we were underdogs to a deep and great Eldon team. We won eight events at Eldon and still managed to finish second, which is a testament to their depth.”
Despite finishing second, there were plenty of highlights along the way as Eldon senior Tessa Edgar was the top points earner accumulating 30.5 of the team’s 142 points on the night.
“Tessa has been so good for so long that she knows what it takes to be successful and get herself ready to compete at each meet,” Garcia noted. “For some of athletes of her talent, it can be hard to work at getting better in practice each day, but not for Tessa. I think she works hard every day and I think Coach Silvers and Coach (Derrick) Carson are doing an amazing job of helping her get better at each meet.”
With Versailles being as young as it is, Garcia also wanted to commend William Bechtel and Laura Piercy for their coaching efforts at the middle school level with the amount of athletes the high school program has seen come out.
“They both do such an amazing job and I think with Coach (Tim) Spiers coaching this year they are getting even better,” Garcia stated. “I also think that this is the first year that all of us coaches have really worked together rather than doing our own thing. The solidarity and level of expectations is higher than I have ever seen in the track program over the last seven years.”
Looking ahead, Garcia said it is all about continuing to improve and peaking at the right time.
“We have the lofty goal of winning a district title and placing highly at sectionals and state, which I think is completely achievable if we keep working hard,” he said.
GIRLS FIELD EVENTS
High Jump: Tessa Edgar of Versailles (2nd) 5 feet and 3 inches, Sydney Chism of Versailles (4th) 5-02, Lauren Imler and Jada Sullens of Eldon (T-7th) 4-06
Pole Vault: Rachel Hanks of Eldon (2nd) 8-06, Brooke Stamper of Eldon (4th) 7-06, Hannah Whan of Versailles (5th) 7-06 and Eliza Koeppen, Osage (6th) 7 feet
Long Jump: Tessa Edgar of Versailles (1st) 16-07, Macie Halderman of Eldon (2nd) 16-01, Loren Melton of Osage (3rd) 15-03 1/4, Grace Baucom of Eldon (T-4th) 14-09 1/2 and Bri Hendrix of Versailles (7th) 14-06
Triple Jump: Grace Baucom of Eldon (1st) 34-00 1/2, Macie Halderman of Eldon (2nd) 33 feet, Kerrigan Gamm of Osage (3rd) 32-10 and Bri Hendrix of Versailles (4th) 32-06 1/4
Discus: Haley Clifton of Eldon (1st) 111-10, Kenzi Bustamante of Eldon (2nd) 106-10, Carrie Hoffa of Versailles (5th) 95-08, Karli Kempf of Osage (6th) 94-02 and Lindsay Walls of Versailles (6th) 89-07
Shot Put: Carrie Hoffa of Versailles (1st) 37-08 1/2, Haley Clifton of Eldon (2nd) 37-06 and Kenzi Bustamante of Eldon (3rd) 37 feet
Javelin: Kerrigan Gamm of Osage (1st) 113-04, Hannah Ruark of Eldon (2nd) 104-05, Taralee Edgar of Versailles (3rd) 100-03 and Giorgia Marcuzzi of Versailles (8th) 83-10
GIRLS TRACK EVENTS
100-Meter Hurdles: Rose Colonius of Osage (1st) 17.2 seconds, Halle Herbert of Eldon (5th) 18.07 seconds and Anna Herbert of Eldon (7th) 18.83 seconds
300-Meter Hurdles: Rose Colonius of Osage (2nd) 50.45 seconds, Halle Herbert of Eldon (4th) 51.93 seconds, Anna Herbert of Eldon (5th) 52.56 seconds and Emma Geier of Versailles (7th) 52.6 seconds
100-Meter Dash: Tessa Edgar of Versailles (1st) 13.39 seconds, Gracie Hamrick of Versailles (2nd) 13.5 seconds, Halle Herbert of Eldon (4th) 14.26 seconds and Cecilia Verslues of Osage (7th) 14.54 seconds
200-Meter Dash: Keely Gustafson of Versailles (2nd) 26.84 seconds, Gracie Hamrick of Versailles (2nd) 27.44 seconds, Nicole Reynolds of Eldon (4th) 28.37 seconds and Clare Colonius of Osage (8th) 30.29 seconds
400-Meter Dash: Keely Gustafson of Versailles (1st) 1:00.57, Allison Taylor of Versailles (2nd) 1:04.12, Nicole Reynolds of Eldon (3rd) 1:04.32, Georgia Verslues of Osage (5th) 1:08.13 and Madeline Partridge of Eldon (6th) 1:08.63
800-Meter Run: Lauren Imler of Eldon (5th) 2:30.9, Lauryn Shewmaker of Versailles (6th) 2:32.67 and Haley Thompson of Eldon (8th) 2:37.07
1.600-Meter Run: Faith Parrent of Eldon (5th) 6:01.11 and Sarah Porter of Osage (8th) 6:18.47
3.200 Meter Run: Micah Hill of Osage (3rd) 13:00.36, Faith Parrent of Eldon (5th) 13:02.47 and Sydney Hoxworth of Versailles (6th) 14:16.13
4x100 Relay: Versailles; Taralee Edgar, Gracie Hamrick, Keely Gustafson and Tessa Edgar (1st) 51.2 and Eldon’s Macie Halderman, Halle Herbert, Grace Baucom and Madeline Partridge (2nd) 51.99 seconds
4x200 Relay: Osage’s Georgia Verslues, Rose Colonius, Loren Melton and Cecilia Verslues 1:52.56; Versailles’ Adaya Comer, Hailey Burnett, Allison Foley and Bri Hendrix (3rd) 1:55.4 and Eldon’s Kayleigh Fike, Kristan Wilson, Trinity Crouch and Anna Herbert (7th) 1:57.35
4x400 Relay: Versailles’ Gracie Hamrick, Allison Foley, Allison Taylor and Keely Gustafson (1st) 4:10.49, Eldon’s Lauren Imler, Macie Halderman, Nicole Reynolds and Madeline Partridge (3rd) 4:20.59
4x800 Relay: Eldon’s Lauren Imler, Haley Thompson, Alysa Neighbors and Mariah Wardenburg (3rd) 10:52.39 and Osage’s Kerrigan Gamm, Grace Edwards, Micah Hill and Julia Dehner (4th) 11:02.2
Osage Boys’ Track Coach Devin Johnson said he was pleased to see the way his guys competed on Thursday and to see continued improvement. However, the journey still continues.
“We are getting better, but not there yet. We have to work a little harder to build our speed endurance in practice and get a few more inches out of our jumps,” the coach pointed out.
The Indians may have finished third, but one constant force was senior Jason Edwards who was the top points earner of any athlete as he finished the day with 36 of his team’s 91 points.
“The hard part with Jason is finding time for him to work on all of his events without overworking him during the week,” Johnson said. “Having a guy that competes at an extremely high level in four different field events is quite an asset to any team. I have had the privilege of coaching Jason for three years in two different sports and I trust him and listen to him in practice to make sure he is prepared for each meet.”
Johnson also took some time to commend the Eldon staff for their efforts in putting the meet together and is looking forward to returning for conference and sectionals.
“Eldon does a great job hosting these meets. Knowing that conference and sectionals are both at Eldon, we know that the meets will be ran smoothly,” he stated.
Macks Creek may have only had four athletes to represent the Pirates, but coach Kevin Powell said they will ring their best to each and every event.
“Having four guys I thought we were competitive every event we were in and they always give me good effort and attitude,” the coach said of his athletes. “The main thing I want to coach these guys is a good attitude, a good effort and the results will take care of itself.”
Macks Creek was among the smallest schools in attendance, but that was no accident as Powell intentionally schedules his Class 1 team to consistently go up against larger classes including schools in Class 5.
“If we go up against Class 1 schools all the time, we are not pushing ourselves to the max,” Powell noted. “These guys are used to competing with the bigger schools so when we get to Class 1 districts there are no surprises or intimidation. It is going out there with confidence, running the best you can and it pays off.
“It has definitely paid off with Braden (Bowman) and always has so I’m hoping these freshmen that I have are the same way,” he added about the senior.
As Macks Creek moves forward, Powell said health will be key and conditioning makes all the difference.
“I make it a point to really condition them well so when this part of the season comes around, the injuries are not something that slip up on us. Unfortunately, we have some nagging things here and there, but I think by the time districts come around we are going to be ready,” he said.
BOYS FIELD EVENTS
High Jump: Jason Edwards of Osage (2nd) 6 feet and Grant Hutchison of Versailles (6th) 5-06
Pole Vault: Jason Edwards of Osage (1st) 14 feet, Caleb Cotten of Eldon (6th) 9-06 and Aaron Cuddy of Osage (8th) 9-06
Long Jump: Isaiah Merida of Eldon (2nd) 19 feet and Kooper Wilson of Versailles (6th) 18-06
Triple Jump: Kooper Wilson of Versailles (1st) 41-03 and Jason Edwards of Osage (2nd) 40-09
Discus: Salvatore Vladeff of Eldon (3rd) 135-03, Chase Hyman of Versailles (6th) 116 feet and Jacob Mason of Osage (8th) 114-04
Shot Put: Alex Bradley of Osage (4th) 42-06 1/2, Jonathon Geier of Versailles (5th) 40-06 1/2, Salvatore Vladeff of Eldon (6th) 40-03 and Jacob Mason of Osage (8th) 38-05 1/2
Javelin: Jason Edwards of Osage (1st) 153-05, Jonathon Geier of Versailles (3rd) 134-07, Anthony Grider of Osage (6th) 126-09 and Gage Tessier of Versailles (7th) 126-05
BOYS TRACK EVENTS
110-Meter Hurdles: Bobby Harkness of Eldon (2nd) 16.44 seconds, Garrett Sutherland of Osage (3rd) 17.11 seconds and Sergio Rivera (7th) 19.56 seconds
300-Meter Hurdles: Bobby Harkness of Eldon (1st) 41.86 seconds, Garrett Sutherland of Osage (5th) 44.36 seconds
100-Meter Dash: Trenton Dillon of Eldon (1st) 11.65 seconds, Trenton Phillips of Eldon (5th) 11.45 seconds and Braden Bowman of Macks Creek (6th) 12.26 seconds
200-Meter Dash: Trenton Dillon of Eldon (1st) 23.4 seconds, Jacob Whittle of Eldon (3rd) 23.95 seconds, Joshua McCubbin of Osage (4th) 24.16 seconds, Braden Bowman of Macks Creek (5th) 24.42 seconds, Coby Williams of Versailles (6th) 24.45 seconds and Kooper Wilson of Versailles (8th) 24.7 seconds
400-Meter Dash: Jacob Whittle of Eldon (1st) 51.28 seconds, Coby Williams of Versailles (2nd) 52.87 seconds, Joshua McCubbin of Osage (6th) 54.28 seconds and Jackson Myers of Osage (8th) 54.7 seconds
800-Meter Run: Phillip Lanoue of Osage (8th) 2:14.63
1,600-Meter Run: Samuel Rivera of Eldon (5th) 5:10.74, Zachary Harbison of Eldon (7th) 5:22.35
3,200- Meter Run: Kendall Reger of Versailles (4th) 10:43.76 and Derrick Puckett of Osage (5th) 11:00.2
4x100 Relay: Osage’s Danial Wermuth, Jackson Myers, Joshua McCubbin and Matthew Hans (6th) 48.65 seconds and Versailles’ Gage Tessier, Kendall Cann, Jonathon Miller and Grant Hutchison (7th) 50.14 seconds
4x200 Relay: Eldon’s Isaiah Merida, Jacob Whittle, Trenton Phillips and Trenton Dillon (1st) 1:34.38; Osage’s Danial Wermuth, Jackson Myers, Matthew Hans and David Wermuth (2nd) 1:36.08 and Versailles’ Jonathon Miller, Adrian Buehler, Kooper Wilson and Coby Williams (4th) 1:38.81
4x400 Relay: Eldon’s Jacob Whittle, Bobby Harkness, Jesse Dummermuth and Isaiah Merida (1st) 3:37.45; Versailles’ Grant Hutchison, Jonathon Miller, Adrian Buehler and Coby Williams (2nd) 3:38.57 and Osage’s Aaron Evans, Jackson Myers, Garrett Sutherland and Joshua McCubbin (5th) 3:40.89
4x800 Relay: Osage’s Harrison Adams, Dale Lampe, Derrick Puckett and Steven Vickers (4th) 9:15.52; Eldon’s Jay Dunham, Samuel Rivera, Tristan Burns and Donavin Lehman (6th) 9:31.05 and Versailles’ Kutter Baumgartner, Bobby Love, Adrian Buehler and Quinton Ryerson (7th) 9:49.18
Eldon visited Jefferson City for the Capital City Relays on Friday and the Mustangs will visit Osage on Wednesday night along with Versailles at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, Macks Creek will be back in action for a trip to Eugene on Friday at the same time.