Athletes from Camdenton, Osage, Eldon and Versailles take on the best of Missouri

It was the final and most vigorous meet of the season. 

Track and field athletes from Camdenton, Osage, Eldon and Versailles had been working all season to get to this point hoping they have what it takes to become a state champion in their respective events. A field of 16 set out in each event Friday and Saturday in Jefferson City to battle for the top spot of the podium, eight would make All-State and just one athlete or relay team would walk away knowing nobody in their Missouri class could beat them either of those days. 

When all the final events were recorded and measured, athletes from the lake area put together a good weekend as school records were broken, milestones were achieved and memories were made that will not soon be forgotten. 

CAMDENTON 

The Class 4 state competition consisted of 71 schools and by the end of the second day the Camdenton girls finished tied for 10th as a team while the boys earned 27th respectively. 

Girls Track Events 

It has been a considerable amount of time since a Camdenton girl or boy has earned the title of state champion. 

According to Camdenton boys’ track coach Nick Bruck, the former Laker himself was the last to do so at the turn of the millennium in 2000. That changed on Saturday afternoon as Camdenton sophomore Kylie Meier became a state champion of the 300-meter hurdles. 

“It is an unbelievable feeling,” Meier said moments after standing on top of the podium. “I was not expecting this to be honest, but I’m really happy that it worked out and I’m just glad to be here.” 

Meier finished fifth at state in this event a year ago and her achievement this year may not have been possible without her teammate freshman Natalie Basham racing right beside her in the finals, pushing her to be the best as she has done all season. 

“I have a good start and she has an amazing finish,” Basham said of Meier. “You are in first and then she is coming at you and blowing past you. It’s great because we both help each other every way possible.” 

Although one has become a state champion, the two will only continue to push each other and raise the bar higher as they continue their high school careers and time will soon tell if Basham can beat her teammate and claim a state title of her own. 

“Oh gosh there is a lot,” Basham said laughingly of the work required to top her teammate. “I don’t know honestly because she is an amazing athlete. I play volleyball and basketball with her so it is a great experience having her here too. We are just going to do our best and try to improve every year to get here again.” 

No matter what happens in the years to come, Meier said she was glad to have the opportunity to  represent her school and community well during her sophomore campaign. 

“Last year quite a few of us got out on the first day, but we are glad we could represent Camdenton like we did and bring this back to Camdenton.” 

Meier beat her own school record set at sectionals and won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.46 seconds. Basham earned All-State honors finishing sixth in the event at 45.84 seconds respectively. Basham also competed in the 100-meter hurdles where she finished ninth with a time of 15.7 seconds. Sophomore Grace Wormek sprinted her way to a ninth place finish in the 100-meter dash at 12.66 seconds and took 10th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.94 seconds. Last but not least, the 4x100 relay team of Wormek, Bashum, junior Kristyn Carpenter and senior Maria Borden took 10th in the state at 50.61 seconds. 

Boys Field Events

Camdenton sophomore Todd Simpson had no intention of participating in track this season. 

It was his first year and he said he did not think he would be very good, but gave it a shot because his football coaches insisted it would make him faster and more athletic next fall on the gridiron. He did not even practice the long jump for much of the year, but continued to set personal records at every meet and now it has all paid off as he took seventh in the event and earned All-State honors at a distance of 21-05 1/2.

“It feels awesome and it is just crazy how it happened,” Simpson said of his accomplishment. “I feel like I did not really leave anything in the tank and that was the farthest I ever jumped. I’m glad I did it and I will definitely be back next year.” 

Simpson is certainly looking forward to football season, but now he is eager to see how far he can fly next spring. 

“I just want to keep building that up and put Camdenton back on the map for track,” he said. “I just have to keep doing what I do lifting weights and getting more explosive.” 

Camdenton senior Alec Burris wanted to make the most of his final season representing the Lakers after making it to sectionals a season ago. Burris did just that as he made All-State taking eighth in the triple jump at a distance of 44-01.

“It was a blast,” Burris stated. “I made the finals by about three inches and I was hoping I would have a little bit more in my jump. Making state was something I was hoping I could do by senior year and get to the finals to get three more jumps so it feels good.” 

For his younger teammates that will compete to get to state next year, Burris’ advice is to simply not take anything for granted. 

“You just got to keep trying and keep going at it every time,” he noted. “Every jump go out there and hit it like it is your last. Go as hard as you can and that is what I’ve done all season to make it here.” 

Boys Track Events

Sophomore Jacob Hill took 12th in the 100-meter dash at 11.18 seconds. The 4x100 relay team of Simpson, Hill, sophomore Jay Griffin and junior Zach Wise earned 10th in the state with a time of 43.95 seconds. 

OSAGE 

The Class 3 boys and girls competitions consisted of 75 schools and the girls finished tied for 27th as a team while the boys tied for 17th respectively. 

Girls Field Events 

Osage junior Jordyn Bartlett finished in a three-way tie for eighth place in the high jump clearing four feet and 11 inches and although she would have liked to have done a little better, she is glad to make All-State. 

“It is pretty great,” she remarked. “I wish I could have cleared the next height, but whatever I’ll get I’ll take.” 

Having one final season to get another shot at state and improve her placement among the best of Missouri, Bartlett is certainly not lacking any willpower. 

“A lot of plyometrics will help,” she said. “It is going to take a lot of time and commitment and I am willing to give it.”  

Osage freshman Kerrigan Gamm took 11th in the javelin with a distance of 93-05. 

Girls Track Events 

Osage sophomore Rose Colonius earned 15th at a time of 16.82 seconds. Freshman Cecilia Verslues took ninth in the 100-meter dash at 12.58 seconds and earned 11th in the 200-meter dash at 26.55 seconds respectively. Last but not least, the 4x200 relay team of junior Clare Colonius, Rose, sophomore Samantha Funderburk and Verslues finished 13th recording a time of 1:50.43. 

Boys Field Events 

Osage junior Jason Edwards returned to the state pole vaulting competition after making it to the event his sophomore season and he medaled again in the event taking fifth place clearing the bar set at 13 feet and nine inches. 

“It feels pretty good to come back this year,” Edwards remarked. “I thought it was going to rain, but the weather has been nice and I was energized.” 

Edwards is hoping he will have what it takes to reach new heights in his final season at Osage, not only placing better at state but also reaching the school record of 14 feet and six inches. 

“It was about the same as last year clearing the same height,” he noted. “I need to work on inverting and hopefully I’ll clear the school record.” 

The pole vault competition was not the only event Edwards medaled in this year however as he took second in the javelin throw. It was the first time he ever participated in the event, but he said the motion of throwing a javelin was a pretty familiar feeling. 

“I just threw it like I threw a football and it was fun,” Edwards said. “It is not too much different and I just need to work on my form and keep improving. I put in a lot of work through the season to improve and I set a personal record at state taking second after being ranked fifth.”

A school record was broken as well on Friday as senior Chas Kempf broke his own record in the discus with a throw of 174-06. Kempf earned second in the competition for the second straight year after winning at districts and sectionals back-to-back years. Kempf said it was nice to accomplish the feat again and although he would have certainly enjoyed being state champion, he is glad to see how far he has come. 

“I’m happy with the way it went getting consecutive district and sectional championships and getting second at state two times in a row was pretty good,” Kempf stated. “It would have been nice to get that top spot, but I’m happy with the way it finished setting my new personal record of 19 feet from last year at state.” 

Kempf was sure to note that none of his success the past two seasons would have been possible without the help of Osage throwing coach Charlie Gordon. 

“It was a lot of work in the weight room and in the ring,” Kempf recalled. “Coach Gordon helped me with a lot of that and he is one of the best coaches anyone could ever ask for.” 

Hayden Drace was also representing the Indians in Jefferson City and the senior took 15th in the long jump soaring a distance of 20-01 3/4. 

ELDON 

Eldon was also in Class 3 competition this weekend and the girls tied for 27th while the boys earned a 10th place finish in team competition. 

Girls Field Events 

Senior Rachel Leffert earned 12th in the pole vault clearing nine feet while fellow senior Logan Reed tied for 15th after reaching a height of eight feet. Sophomore Grace Baucom earned 15th in the long jump after reaching a distance of 15-05 1/4. Baucom took 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 33-05. Senior Sidney Prater earned 13th in the discus with a throw of 100 feet.  Junior Hannah Ruark earned 14th in the javelin at 85-08.

Girls Track Events 

The 4x100 relay team of senior Vivian Partridge junior Madeline Partridge, junior Halle Herbert and Baucom finished 16th in the state with a time of 52.12 seconds. Herbert went on to earn 14th in the 300-meter hurdles at 49.97 seconds. Last but not least, the 4x400 relay team of the Partridges, freshman Nicole Reynolds and Herbert finished 12th at 4:16.07. 

Boys Track Events

Eldon has another state champion to add to the record books as senior Levi Shinn became the state champion of the 300-meter hurdles on Saturday with a time of 38.75 seconds and Shinn likes the sound of that. 

“It feels absolutely amazing and I was shocked and wanted to cry to be honest,” the senior said moments after receiving his medal. “I knew I had to finish really strong because the guys from Reed Springs and Lamar are strong finishers and the Reed Springs kid beat me at sectionals passing me on the last hurdle. I worked hard for it, was focused on this event and I was definitely prepared for this so I feel like I deserve it.” 

Shinn also earned a medal in the 110-meter hurdles taking second in the event at 14.92 seconds while his teammate and fellow senior Zach Schaeffer earned All-State honors placing fourth at 15.16 seconds. The two Mustangs competed together at state in the same event a year ago and both were glad to have the other around to push each other to improve. 

“He started catching me towards the end of the season and he has made a huge impact helping me push through races and getting better times,” Shinn noted. “It is a pretty great feeling having a teammate right next to me.” 

Schaeffer offered a similar sentiment about his teammate. 

“The same goes for Levi,” he said. “He has been my motivation because he has been the better hurdler so I’m trying to catch him the whole time. Without him I would not be where I am right now.” 

Shinn said it was a great way to end the season and he certainly feels accomplished. Schaeffer said he has come a long way from not being expected to make it out of districts last year to earning All-State honors. 

“It is all about perseverance and continuing to work,” he noted. “Even though you made it there once you cannot think it is just going to happen again.” 

The 4x200 relay team of senior Ryan Bennett, Shinn, Schaeffer and junior Trenton Dillon finished 11th at 1:33.94. The 4x100 relay team of Bennett, Dillon, senior Ethan Cotten and junior Jacob Whittle were disqualified. Last but not least, the 4x400 relay team of Bennett, Dillon, Schaeffer and Shinn also took 11th at 3:29.87. 

Boys Field Events

Sophomore Auston Phillips earned 13th in the state for the shot put event as he threw a distance of 44-06 1/4. 

VERSAILLES 

The Versailles girls took 24th in the Class 3 team competition. 

Girls Field Events 

According to Versailles girls track coach Brad Butler, it has been about six years since a Tiger athlete has medaled at state competition. Versailles junior Tessa Edgar ended the drought on Friday afternoon after taking sixth in the high jump competition with a height of 5-01. 

“It’s great to come from a small school and do good up here,” Edgar said. “It helps a lot to have already been here and know how it feels. I definitely need to get my vertical up and stay in shape to do better than what I did this year.” 

Edgar nearly medaled at state a year ago finishing ninth and she is looking forward to doing what it takes to continue this improving trend and finish her senior season in a way she can be proud of. 

“I wish I would have got better heights than what I did and got to five feet and two inches like I did at sectionals,” she said. “I play volleyball so that keeps me in shape and I also do weightlifting and other workouts in the winter just getting ready for track and getting a better vertical.” 

Girls Track Events 

Freshman Allison Taylor earned 10th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02.15. 

A total of 35 athletes represented the lake area over the weekend and time will soon tell not only if that number increases but how many of those athletes give it everything they have for that final meet knowing they put together a season they could be proud of.