Edwards captures state javelin title

A total of eight athletes representing School of the Osage set out to take on the best of Missouri at the Class 3 state track and field meet in Jefferson City on Friday and Saturday.

One of those athletes reached the top of the podium and became a state champion, others made All-State and overall it was another memorable ending for the track and field season. After all events were scored, the boys placed 14th out 74 total schools with 19 points while the girls earned 47th out of the same number of schools with four points respectively.

It was a good weekend for Osage senior Jason Edwards who was the lone boy to represent the Indians.

Edwards, who signed with Mizzou to be a decathlete next year, represented the Indians in three different events and came home with three state medals. The senior started his weekend by becoming a state champion as he shattered the Class 3 record in the javelin by about 21 feet, placed sixth in the high jump and took third in the pole vault.

“He is a kid that defines work ethic. I try to pride our kids in that and instill that with all of our kids, but Jason’s work ethic is next to the best and he just continues to get better,” Osage throwing coach Charlie Gordon said after the senior won the javelin competition. “Obviously there is no plateau for the kid and we are going to see that as he continues his career at Mizzou. This just put an exclamation point on it today.”

This was the second year of the javelin competition and according to MSHSAA records, Edward’s throw of 176 feet and three inches was the second best throw out of any class in Missouri (181-07). Of course, the journey to the top of the podium was not an easy one. Edwards placed second in the event last year, but made sure he went out on top in his final season with the Indians.

“It felt really good,” Edwards said of becoming a state champion. “The guy in front of me threw 166 feet so I had the pressure on, but I just went out there and competed… Hopefully that record stays for a little bit.”

Edwards was also a returning state medalist in the pole vault and is hoping his school record of 14 feet and seven inches won’t quickly be erased either. However, it would not necessarily surprise him though because the senior will never forget what led to his success in the first place.

“A lot of training and a lot of good coaching,” he said.

Edwards is the 13th state champion in school history and according to Gordon, he is the first champion the school has had in about 11 years. Moving forward, the coach thinks there should be no lack of motivation for returning and future athletes to emulate that success.

“For the last three or four years it has been great for our kids just to be here in this setting and this stage. It is rewarding in itself to just be here, but when you put a state champion into that equation it produces a lot of kids, it produces a lot of results and Jason is a part of that now,” Gordon noted. “For him to go get a state championship right out of the gate in the second year of the javelin is going to do wonders for our kids at Osage. It is going to get them excited, wanting to do great things and beat that.”

Another Osage athlete who found success in the javelin competition was Osage sophomore Kerrigan Gamm who earned All-State honors for the first time by finishing in the top eight as she took seventh. Gamm competed in the event at state a season ago, but it was undoubtedly more rewarding to reach the podium this time around.

“Last year I did not quite get it so coming back this year, making the finals and placing just felt really good and I was excited,” the sophomore said. “It feels pretty great knowing that not very many people get this opportunity so I’m just honored.”

Gamm said the biggest difference in her improvement was just having more experience and she plans on maintaining a high work ethic to make the most of her last two years with Osage.

“Last year I started mid-season and having a full year this year and working on the fundamentals and everything just really helped. I just have to keep working hard all the time, improving what I need to improve and get after it.”

The final Osage athlete to reach the medal stand was Osage senior Jordyn Bartlett who picked up her second straight state medal in the high jump finishing seventh. After a six hour rain delay on Saturday pushed the competition back to being among the final events of the weekend, the senior was more than happy to return to the podium.

“It is quite awesome,” she said. “After taking eighth place last year all I could ask for was to move up and that is what happened so I am really appreciative of that. I got in the weight room this year and I think that helped a lot.”

Bartlett cleared a height of five feet and two inches and although it was not her best performance of the season, she is pretty happy with how her time at Osage has gone overall.

“I wish I could’ve finished at a better height with five-foot-six being my high point this year, but to get over and accomplish this is good for me,” the senior remarked. “It has been really awesome to get to hold the records and have my name up there. Hopefully it will stay there for a while.”

After another memorable year for Osage track and field, time will soon tell if Indian athletes can continue to make their presence known at the state level and leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

GIRLS’ FINAL RESULTS

High Jump: Jordyn Bartlett (7th) 5-01

Triple Jump: Kerrigan Gamm (12th) 33-02

Javelin: Kerrigan Gamm (7th) 108-04

100-Meter Hurdles: Rose Colonius (11th) 16.76 seconds

100-Meter Dash: Cecilia Verslues (12th) 12.88 seconds

4x100 Relay: Loren Melton, Grace Edwards, Georgia Verslues and Cecilia Verslues (15th) 52.68 seconds

4x200 Relay: Georgia Verslues, Loren Melton, Rose Colonius and Cecilia Verslues (11th) 1:49.07

BOYS’ FINAL RESULTS

High Jump: Jason Edwards (6th) 6-03

Pole Vault: Jason Edwards (3rd) 14-06

Javelin: Jason Edwards (1st) 176-03