Laker boys finish third

History repeated itself on Saturday afternoon in Camdenton.

The Lakers hosted the Class 4 District 5 meet as the journey to state began and both the girls and boys took a good first step down that path with multiple athletes qualifying for sectionals. The defending state champion Camdenton girls repeated as district champions, besting the 12-team field by a minimum of 22 points with a team score of 113.5 while the boys finished third with 90 points only trailing Willard (109) and Helias Catholic (96).

As the postseason got underway and it was time to sep up, Camdenton girls’ coach John McNabb said his athletes came through once again and some even surpassed expectations.

“We had some surprises today and got points we were not really expecting to get,” the coach noted. “We had kids really come through and do a great job. Like we’ve been saying all week long, we have to have every point we can get because we had a perfect example of that winning a state championship by a single point last year.

“I think the kids were really focused and felt as a team that we had to do everything we could to give our team the best chance besides trying to qualify to go on too.”

Of course, being able to take care of business at home always makes winning the title a little sweeter.

“It is great to do that here at home and it is harder to do at home because coaches are working, trying to help run the meet and cannot pay as much attention to the kids as we would like to,” McNabb said. “We just have to prepare them ahead of time so we turned them loose today and they picked it up and did what they needed to do.”

Now, it is all about getting to state as Camdenton gets ready for sectionals in Carthage on Saturday. When it comes to defending a state title, McNabb said nothing could be taken for granted and the team will need all hands on deck at Jefferson City in two weeks.

All the track qualifiers from last year got the job done again in 2018, but the coach was also glad to see athletes like Coley Rezabek break her own school record in the javelin, Abbie Miller set a personal record in the triple jump by nearly a foot, Megan Vest earning a spot among the top four in the high jump to advance and the 4x100 relay team doing the same.

“One of the things we’ve been trying to do all season was find other places we can score some points. Last year, our events at state went great and perfect, but it does not always work that way,” the coach said. “When you a win a state championship, it really opens your eyes to what is possible. These kids have that experience and it builds a great deal of confidence in them too, so we are excited to go on for two more weeks.

“My feeling is that it is going to probably take more than it took last year so let’s go get them.”

Listed below are the Lakers who finished in the top four and qualified for sectionals:

GIRLS’ FIELD EVENT QUALIFIERS

-High Jump: Megan Vest (4th) 4 feet and 10 inches

-Triple Jump: Abbie Miller (3rd) 34-05

-Javelin: Coley Rezabek (1st) 132-04

GIRLS’ TRACK EVENT QUALIFIERS

-100-Meter Hurdles: Kylie Meier (1st) 15.12 seconds and Natalie Basham (2nd) 15.13

-300-Meter Hurdles: Kylie Meier (1st) 46.42 and Clare Holmes (2nd) 48.73

-100-Meter Dash: Grace Wormek (2nd) 12.49

-200-Meter Dash: Grace Wormek (2nd) 26.14

-400-Meter Dash: Natalie Basham (1st) 1:00.23

-4x100 Relay: Katie Blackman, Megan Vest, Abbie Miller and Shelby Kurtz (4th) 52.10

-4x200 Relay: Katie Blackman, Kylie Meier, Natalie Basham and Grace Wormek (1st) 1:44.43

-4x400 Relay: Natalie Basham, Clare Holmes, Grace Wormek and Kylie Meier (1st) 4:07.95

The Camdenton boys also put up some highlights as the Lakers advanced to sectionals in seven of the 19 events. Along the way, Gabe Kurtz crushed the school record in the javelin and the 4x100 relay team turned in the second fastest time of any team in the past 12 years.

Not a bad day indeed.

“I’m really proud of our finish. We were really close to second, getting a trophy and were not far off from first place either,” Camdenton coach Nick Bruck said. “That was a goal for us this year to win the district and we came up a little short, but there were a lot of positives and looking at the bright side we beat nine other teams... We had a lot of kids set personal records and do some things that were really nice so I’m anxious to see what we’ll do next week.”

Bruck said taking down a team like district champion Willard was a tough task, but his athletes did what they could picking up points and if nothing else, sought to finish ahead of a Tiger for a two-point swing.

“It takes a lot of kids to pitch in and contribute and we talked about that. Today, they were fighting and felt like if they could contribute any way they could, they were fighting for seventh or eight place,” the coach pointed out. “They fought to do the best they could and at the end of the day, that is all you can be thankful for so I’m proud of them.”

For those who advanced, the opportunity to qualify for state should be all the motivation anyone needs.

“It is the same position for everybody. The state track meet is the motivation right now so we’ll get prepared next week at practice, go down there on Saturday, compete and do the best we can. The message from here on out is just do the best you can,” Bruck said.

Listed below are the Lakers who finished in the top four and qualified for sectionals:

BOYS’ FIELD EVENT QUALIFIERS

-Pole Vault: Gabe Kurtz (4th) 12-00

-Shot Put: Todd Simpson (4th) 48-01 1/2

-Javelin: Gabe Kurtz (1st) 184-01 and Trenton Flug (4th) 153-05

BOYS’ TRACK EVENT QUALIFIERS

-100-Meter Dash: Eli Griffin (1st) 11.25 and Jacob Hill (3rd) 11.34

-200-Meter Dash: Robert Nicklas (3rd) 23.66

-4x100 Relay: Eli Griffin, Jadin Faulconer, Jacob Hill and Robert Nicklas (1st) 43.67

-4x200 Relay: Robert Nicklas, Eli Griffin, Mason Bowles and Jadin Faulconer (3rd) 1:33.86