Versailles boys win first conference title in school history and Eldon girls claim fourth title in five years
Novel and consistency would be a good way to describe the two teams that took their place among the top of the Tri-County Conference Thursday night in Versailles.
The Versailles boys defended home turf, besting the rest of the conference and claiming their first Tri-County championship in school history while the Eldon girls added yet another piece of hardware to the trophy case with their fourth title in five years. In a sport that generally emphasizes individual performance, the athletes of both teams were able to rely on each other and accumulate the points that were needed to best their seven other conference foes.
The Versailles boys got the job done with 137.5 points and finished 24.5 points ahead of defending champion Osage, which finished second with 113 while Eldon placed third with 98 respectively.
“I never would have guessed in my high school career we’d be able to do that, but making history is always awesome whenever we do it,” said Versailles senior Kendall Reger who earned conference titles in the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run. “It was not just me, but all the guys on the team. We really worked together, made up the points we could have gotten and everyone did their jobs. That is what it takes is everyone doing their jobs and taking care of business.”
Versailles coach Broc Silvers knew the unit had some potential with a strong senior class and the hard work that had been dedicated. Ultimately, a team title comes down to accumulating as many points as possible and that is what the Tigers were able to do winning conference titles in seven events and medaling in all but two of the 19 total events. The coach gave credence to the model the champions of the other field have demonstrated over the years.
“It took a great group seniors and we knew this was going to be our best shot to get it done conference championship wise,” the coach noted. “We had quality at every spot, were finally deep and we were just going to score in every event and that is what it takes. If you look at the Eldon girls, that is what they do. They might not win them all, but they are going to score.
“The boys got something done as a team that has never been done here before so hats off to them, they worked their tails off.”
After finishing fourth a season ago, Silvers said his kids stepped up. Some were asked to compete in as many as four events while others scored points in events for the first time and it all came together.
“I’ve been here at the school with these kids, but it is only my second year coaching them,” the coach remarked. “We scored everywhere, every coach we had did their job and every kid we had placed what they needed. All the way around, I could not be more happy.”
Reger was among those willing to do what it takes and with other runners on his tail in the 800 and mile run, he found an extra gear and turned on the jets in the final 100 meters of both races to make sure he crossed the finish line first.
“Edging them out at the end is always my signature thing, but I think it represents the team well and how we ran today,” he said. “We all worked together, edged it out in the end and were able to become conference champs.
“It is a huge morale-booster. A lot of us have been fighting injury the whole season, but it is definitely going to boost the morale and I think we are taking a good step in the right direction,” he added. “I think we are going to do well at districts, peak at the right time and run well like we did tonight.”
Winning a conference title is certainly a good way to dive into the postseason, but now it is all about reaching state and Silvers wants to send as many kids as possible to that destination. More team titles would certainly be nice, but qualification is the ultimate key.
“My goal is to look at the numbers as close as I can and help our kids have a bunch of success going forward, but now it is about them,” the coach pointed out. “It is not about a team anymore and yes, you can win a district championship… but now it is about getting seniors on to state before they graduate.”
A conference title is nothing new for Eldon with four in the past five years, but this one surely felt as good as any after briefly being dethroned with a third place finish a season ago. The Mustangs left no doubt this time around and decisively reclaimed the crown with 171 points and 41.5 points more than any team in the rest of the field. Blair Oaks captures second with 129.5 points, defending champion Osage took third at 119 and Versailles earned fourth at 112.5.
“Of course it feels good to reclaim the crown. I think a lot of it was the competition here,” said Eldon senior Macie Halderman who won conference titles in the long jump, triple jump and 4x400 relay. “Coming in, we knew we had top competitors, knew what our strengths were at and where we had to step up. Today, I feel like we did that in almost every event.”
And step up Eldon did as the Mustangs racked up points with conference titles in four different events and medals in all but one of the 19 events. A big reason for that may be the atmosphere around the team.
“I think one of the things that separates our team from others and helps us do so well is our kids celebrate with each other,” Eldon coach Tobby Eldridge pointed out. “They look forward to that kid that was supposed to get 10th place moving up to eighth. They celebrate with that kid just like they got first and just as much as the kid that was a conference champion. It is just the way they care about each other and encourage each other that just helps us compete across the board and make it a fun day.”
Halderman could certainly feel that encouragement as she became a three-time conference champion on Thursday night and she credits the coaches for her success too. It is a perfect formula for others to raise the bar and come together for yet another title.
“The coaches know what to say and my teammates encourage me and are always there when I need them helping me out,” the senior said. “A lot of that is because of their help, coming out here and doing what I need and doing what we need to do as a team.”
Encouragement is nice, but there is also a competitive edge and Eldridge said his team is one that is goal-oriented. No matter where an athlete may fall on the totem pole of competition, they are always setting high expectations to make their way to the top.
“We talk to our kids all season long and it is fun to get to listen to them,” Eldridge noted. “Even if they are not supposed to win the event overall, they have a goal coming in. The goal is not always time or distance, but a competition and their goal is to outcompete other people. Then, we’ll see what the times and distances are after that, but generally that sets us up to be pretty successful.”
Now, the goal is get past district and sectionals and send as many Mustangs as possible on to state. However, Eldridge said accomplishing that feat is easier said than done.
“We know our district is loaded. Blair Oaks and Osage are in our district so we know we are going to have to beat them again on another day,” he stated. “You can’t just be content with knowing we topped them today because they are top-notch clubs and every week they make us try our hardest. It makes for good competition.”
Halderman is certainly ready for the challenge ahead as the Mustangs look to also win their fourth straight district title.
“It (conference title) gives us a lot of momentum and I know we’ll be able to keep it through this next week of practice and take it with us to districts,” she said. “We are just going to keep competing, keep working hard and hopefully we’ll get the same results next Saturday.”
Eldon and Osage will battle in Class 3 District 5 action at St. James on Saturday and Versailles will return to competition at the same time for Class 3 District 7 action in Clinton.
Listed below are the top eight finishers who medaled and earned All-Conference between Versailles, Eldon and Osage:
BOYS’ FIELD EVENTS
-High Jump: Versailles’ Brayden Morrison (2nd) 5 feet and 8 inches, Eldon’s Gabriel Marriott (4th) 5-08 and Versailles’ Michael Bell (6th) 5-06
-Long Jump: Eldon’s Isaiah Merida (1st) 20-04, Versailles’ Kooper Wilson (3rd) 20-00, Osage’s Mason Etter (5th) 19-09, Versailles’ Allan Rhorer (6th) 18-04 and Osage’s Matthew Hans (7th) 18-03
-Triple Jump: Versailles’ Kooper Wilson (1st) 42-04, Versailles’ Dallas Waller (4th) 40-02 and Osage’s Garrett Sutherland (8th) 36-00
-Discus: Versailles’ Chase Hyman (1st) 141-03, Osage’s Rudy Escobar (3rd) 121-01 and Versailles’ Jonathon Geier (6th) 115-08
-Shot Put: Versailles’ Jonathon Geier (1st) 44-06, Osage’s Robert Moore (3rd) 43-01 1/2, Osage’s Alexander Bradley (4th) 41-11 1/2, Versailles’ Chase Hyman (6th) 41-03 3/4 and Eldon’s Caleb Wood (7th) 40-01 1/2
-Pole Vault: Eldon’s Aaron Ruark (3rd) 11-00, Osage’s Aaron Cuddy (6th) 10-06 and Versailles’ Brayden Morrison (8th) 10-00
-Javelin: Versailles’ Jonathon Geier (1st) 162-01, Osage’s Mason Etter (6th) 130-08 and Eldon’s Caleb Wood (7th) 129-05
BOYS’ TRACK EVENTS
-110-Meter Hurdles: Osage’s Garrett Sutherland (2nd) 17.14 seconds, Osage’s Trevor Cotten (5th) 18.36, Versailles’ Kendall Cann (6th) 19.39 and Eldon’s Gabriel Marriott (8th) 19.97
-300-Meter Hurdles: Osage’s Garrett Sutherland (4th) 43.72 and Eldon’s Gabriel Marriott (8th) 47.34
-100-Meter Dash: Versailles’ Kooper Wilson (2nd) 11.83, Eldon’s Isaiah Merida (3rd) 11.87, Eldon’s Trenton Phillips (4th) 12.02, Osage’s Matthew Hans (T-5th) 12.17 and Versailles Taylor Dobbins (T-5th) 12.17
-200-Meter Dash: Eldon’s Isaiah Merida (1st) 24.35, Eldon’s Trenton Phillips (2nd) 24.56, Versailles’ Taylor Dobbins (4th) 24.86, Versailles’ Coby Williams (6th) 24.94 and Osage’s Josh McCubbin (7th) 25.15
-400-Meter Dash: Coby Williams (1st) 52.35, Eldon’s Dawson Brandt (2nd) 52.78, Osage’s Joshua McCubbin (4th) 53.44, Osage’s Matthew Hans (6th) 54.84 and Eldon’s Jesse Dummermuth (8th) 58.06
-800-Meter Run: Versailles’ Kendall Reger (1st) 2:05.6, Osage’s Derrick Puckett (5th) 2:14.32, Eldon’s Tristan Burns (6th) 2:15.84, Osage’s Steven Vickers (7th) 2:17.95 and Eldon’s Aidan Gerber (8th) 2:19.98
-1,600-Meter Run: Versailles’ Kendall Reger (1st) 4:42.02, Osage’s Chase Grosvenor (3rd) 4:56.67, Osage’s Derrick Puckett (5th) 5:05.12 and Eldon’s Aidan Gerber (7th) 5:06.67
-3,200-Meter Run: Osage’s Chase Grosvenor (2nd) 11:06.47, Eldon’s John Markowitz (4th) 11:24.64, Osage’s Derrick Puckett (6th) 11:34.64 and Versailles’ Cylan Burns (8th) 11:52.44
-4x100 Relay: Eldon’s Dawson Brandt, Cole Walker, Isaiah Merida and Trenton Phillips (1st) 44.95; Versailles’ Brayden Morrison, Taylor Dobbins, Kooper Wilson and Coby Williams (3rd) 45.39 and Osage’s Ian Marsh, Jackson Myers, Matthew Kinison and Hunter Neiman (4th) 45.95
-4x200 Relay: Osage’s Matthew Hans, Jackson Myers, Mason Etter and Josh McCubbin (2nd) 1:36.02 and Eldon’s Dawson Brandt, Austin Hazelwood, Trenton Phillips and Cole Walker (6th) 1:39.3
-4x400 Relay: Osage’s Jackson Myers, Josh McCubbin, Mason Etter and Garrett Sutherland (2nd) 3:37.02; Versailles’ Kendall Reger, Dalla Waller, Allan Rhorer and Mikhail Gulyavev (5th) 3:41.18 and Eldon’s Dawson Brandt, Tristan Burns, Jesse Dummermuth and Aidan Gerber (6th) 3:47.17
-4x800 Relay: Eldon’s Tristan Burns, Aidan Gerber, Samuel Rivera and Caleb Cotten (3rd) 9:02.67; Osage’s Steven Crosby, Chase Grosvenor, Ian Marsh and Derrick Puckett (5th) 9:11.48 and Versailles’ Seth Newton, Quinton Ryerson, Cylan Burns and Gage Mayhew (7th) 9:28.5
GIRLS’ FIELD EVENTS
-High Jump: Eldon’s Lauren Imler (2nd) 5-00, Versailles’ Natalie Bierman (4th) 4-10, Versailles’ Bri Hendrix (7th) 4-06 and Eldon’s Reece Henderson (8th) 4-06
-Long Jump: Eldon’s Macie Halderman (1st) 16-06, Eldon’s Grace Baucom (2nd) 15-11, Osage’s Loren Melton (3rd) 15-03, Versailles’ Lauryn Shewmaker (5th) 14-05 1/2, Versailles’ Bri Hendrix (6th) 14-05 and Osage’s Carley Hambly (8th) 13-04 1/2
-Triple Jump: Eldon’s Macie Halderman (1st) 34-01 1/2, Osage’s Kerrigan Gamm (4th) 32-03 1/2, Eldon’s Cassidy Prater (5th) 32-00 1/2, Versailles’ Bri Hendrix (6th) 31-05 1/2 and Versailles’ Zoie Kinder (7th) 31-04 1/2
-Discus: Eldon’s Haley Clifton (2nd) 117-06, Osage’s Karli Kempf (3rd) 111-01, Eldon’s Taylor Henderson (5th) 102-08, Versailles’ Carrie Hoffa (6th) 102-01 and Versailles’ Lindsay Walls (8th) 95-00
-Shot Put: Eldon’s Haley Clifton (1st) 40-10 1/2, Versailles’ Carrie Hoffa (2nd) 39-00, Osage’s Kerrigan Gamm (3rd) 34-11 1/2, Eldon’s Taylor Henderson (4th) 33-10 1/2, Versailles’ Bethany Howard (5th) 32-08 3/4 and Osage’s Katelyn Sheats (8th) 30-04 1/2
-Pole Vault: Eldon’s Rachel Hanks (3rd) 8-06, Versailles’ Hannah Whan (4th) 8-00, Eldon’s Cassidy Homan (6th) 7-00 and Osage’s Eliza Koeppen (8th) 6-06
-Javelin: Osage’s Kerrigan Gamm (2nd) 117-07, Osage’s Karli Kempf (5th) 103-00 and Versailles’ Taralee Edgar (7th) 101-07
GIRLS’ TRACK EVENTS
-100-Meter Hurdles: Eldon’s Anna Herbert (3rd) 17.59 and Eldon’s Emma Hoback (5th) 18.45
-300-Meter Hurdles: Versailles’ Allison Taylor (3rd) 51.23, Eldon’s Anna Herbert (6th) 53.19, Eldon’s Emma Hoback (7th) 53.2 and Versailles’ Emma Geier (8th) 53.6
-100-Meter Dash: Osage’s Cecilia Verslues (1st) 13.21, Versailles’ Keely Gustafson (2nd) 13.44, Eldon’s Nicole Reynolds (3rd) 13.94, Osage’s Loren Melton (5th) 14.05 and Eldon’s Kristan Wilson (8th) 14.52
-200-Meter Dash: Versailles’ Keely Gustafson (1st) 27.44, Osage’s Cecilia Verslues (2nd) 27.92, Versailles’ Gracie Hamrick (3rd) 28.21 and Eldon’s Emma Hoback (5th) 29.33
-400 Meter Dash: Versailles’ Keely Gustafson (2nd) 1:01.61, Versailles’ Gracie Hamrick (3rd) 1:01.81, Osage’s Georgia Verslues (4th) 1:03.91, Eldon’s Kristan Wilson (5th) 1:04.05 and Osage’s Sara Wolf (7th) 1:05.54
-800-Meter Run: Eldon’s Lauren Imler (2nd) 2:30.71, Osage’s Karlie Minnehan (5th) 2:35.76, Osage’s Sara Wolf (6th) 2:43.32 and Eldon’s Mariah Waldenburg (8th) 2:48.94
-1,600-Meter Run: Eldon’s Faith Parrent (2nd) 5:49.11, Osage’s Micah Hill (4th) 5:55.1, Eldon’s Alysa Neighbors (5th) 6:10.45 and Osage’s Sarah Porter (6th) 6:15.46
-3,200-Meter Run: Eldon’s Faith Parrent (2nd) 12:56.48, Osage’s Micah Hill (3rd) 13:09.81, Eldon’s Kelsey Wallis (5th) 13:40.43 and Osage’s Sarah Porter (6th) 14:10.32
-4x100 Relay: Osage’s Georgia Verslues, Loren Melton, Grace Edwards and Cecilia Verslues (1st) 52.08; Eldon’s Macie Halderman, Anna Herbert, Emma Hogback and Elizabeth Coppock (2nd) 53.04 and Versailles’ Taralee Edgar, Allison Taylor, Lauryn Shewmaker and Zoie Kinder (3rd) 53.31
-4x200 Relay: Versailles’ Gracie Hamrick, Allison Taylor, Lauryn Shewmaker and Keely Gustafson (1st) 1:48.34; Osage’s Georgia Verslues, Loren Melton, Grace Edwards and Cecilia Verslues (2nd) 1:51.86 and Eldon’s Kristan Wilson, Elizabeth Cochran, Nicole Reynolds and Anna Herbert (4th) 1:55.74
-4x400 Relay: Eldon’s Kristan Wilson, Nicole Reynolds, Macie Halderman and Lauren Imler (1st) 4:16.03; Versailles’ Gracie Hamrick, Allison Taylor, Allison Foley and Lauryn Shewmaker (3rd) 4:20.29 and Osage’s Georgia Verslues, Paige Rowland, Sara Wolf and Karlie Minnehan (5th) 4:25.22
-4x800 Relay: Eldon’s Lauren Imler, Faith Parrent, Alysa Neighbors and Kelsey Wallis (2nd) 10:19.2; Osage’s Sara Wolf, Micah Hill, Grace Edwards and Karlie Minnehan (3rd) 10:23.54 and Versailles’ Brooklyn Billman, Carmen Lemell, Sara Vogt and Hannah Whan (6th) 12:31.52