Senior Macie Halderman, junior Haley Clifton and sophomore Lauren Imler earn All-State honors
Eldon continued a tradition at the Class 3 state meet in Jefferson City over the weekend.
The program that has won four straight district titles has seen a number of athletes go on to medal at state and this year was no different as a trio of Mustangs in senior Macie Halderman, junior Haley Clifton and sophomore Lauren Imler went on to earn All-State honors. Eldon finished tied for 35th out of 73 teams with six points in the final Class 3 standings
Halderman and Clifton know what its like to be on the podium, but Imler got to know that feeling for the first time after placing eighth in the 800-meter run. What made it more surreal for the sophomore was the fact that not only was she tripped at one point and quickly got back on pace in the two-lap race, but she thought she had just missed out on a medal and placed ninth when she crossed the finish line.
She was pretty happy to find out that was not the case.
“I was freaking out and I did not think I made it,” Imler recalled of those final moments before the finish line. “I thought she (Caroline Meyers of St. Michael of the Arch Angel) passed me and then I found out and was super happy.”
What made it even better for Imler is that she was able to give her mother Tamara Witzman a late Mother’s Day present by earning a medal. Imler noted that her mom has continually pushed her to be the best she could be.
“I did this for my mom and I’m excited that I could give that medal to my mom for mother’s day,” Imler said. “She makes me run on Sundays and we talk about running all the time. She is my motivation.”
Now with a medal in her possession, Imler will be eager to put in the work to acquire more of them over the latter half of her Eldon career. Being a cross country runner in the fall should also help with that goal.
“I need to keep training throughout the season nonstop and eat healthy,” Imler pointed out.
Clifton was another Mustang who was determined to make it to the podium. After narrowly missing out on All-State honors in the shot put on Friday, the junior left no doubt in the discus on Saturday where she placed seventh.
“I just wanted to try my hardest because I might not have done the best yesterday, but I wanted to prove that I am worthy to be on there so I tried my hardest today to make sure I was on that stand,” said Clifton who placed seventh in the shot put last year and did not medal in the discus.
While she kept her poise to become a two-time All-State honoree, the junior said it also took some good coaching for which she was thankful for.
“To not get in my mind and bring myself down, but to stay positive and look at the positive side of it- that is a big jump from the help of my coach,” Clifton said after not having placed in the event last year.
Clifton described the program as one big family that continually supports one another and with one more year to go, she is looking forward to seeing what she is capable of with the support of that family one last time.
“I want to make sure I push even harder next year to make sure I not only get on the podium, but get number one,” she said.
It was the final year for Halderman at Eldon and the Southwest Baptist University commit not only went out with a state medal, but moved up two spots on the podium as well as she placed sixth in the long jump.
“It feels good still like it did last year,” the senior said. “Just getting here is a huge accomplishment and then getting top eight and getting those points for your team is good too.”
Halderman, who also competed in the state triple jump for the Mustangs, said the key to her success is consistency and jumping with precision.
“Last year I was kind of all over the board. I would scratch or be behind the board so this year I’ve been focusing on run-throughs and being consistent,” she remarked. “Today, I only scratched on one of my six (jumps) and I was on the board every time so I felt good. Doing what the coach says, reaching and keeping my eyes up at the end is what it takes.”
Halderman’s jumping days at Eldon may be over, but the two-time All state jumper did not hesitate to thank Coach Tobby Eldridge for helping her maximize her potential.
“He has always been a huge help and has always believed in me from the time I was a little freshman up until now. He has always told me I could do good things and has always been proud of me, especially now that I’m moving on to bigger things in college,” the senior noted. “I’ll always remember him as my first real track coach and still go to him for pointers and stuff.”
The senior, who was also a member of the state 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams, also remarked on what it was like to be a Mustang and how those who are returning should not take that privilege for granted.
“It is not all about getting the district championships. There are personal goals and relationships to build there, but just know where you’re from and know the importance of Eldon because it is a great place and I would not want to call any other place home,” Halderman said. “Just remember that, know its worth and make Eldon proud.”
-Long Jump: Macie Halderman (6th) 16 feet and 11 inches and Grace Baucom (14th) 15-08 1/2
-Triple Jump: Macie Halderman (12th) 32-11
-Discus: Haley Clifton (7th) 120-06
-Shot Put: Haley Clifton (9th) 37-04
-Javelin: Grace Baucom (10th) 109-09
-100-Meter Dash: Isaiah Merida (14th) 11.58 seconds
-200-Meter Dash: Trenton Phillips (15th) 23.31
-400-Meter Dash: Kristan Wilson (16th) 1:03.28
-800-Meter Run: Lauren Imler (8th) 2:25.02
-4x100 Relay: Emma Hoback, Elizabeth Cochran, Anna Herbert and Macie Halderman (15th) 51.88
-4x100 Relay: Dawson Brandt, Isaiah Merida, Trenton Phillips and Trenton Dillon (Did not finish)
-4x400 Relay: Macie Halderman, Nicole Reynolds, Kristan Wilson and Lauren Imler (9th) 4:13.31
-4x800 Relay: Faith Parent, Alysa Neighbors, Kelsey Wallis and Lauren Imler (11th) 10:29.15