Lake area track and field athletes show fight in local meets

Michael Losch
Lake Sun Leader
Versailles' Justin Hamrick looks to clear the bar in the high jump competition at the Maroon and Gold Relays in Eldon on April 15. Hamrick won the event with a height of 1.77 meters.

Some top performances, a school record being broken and an emotional Senior Night highlighted a busy week for track and field athletes around the Lake area. 

With the fortune of some good weather, local schools had the opportunity to compete against each other at the Laker Relays in Camdenton on Tuesday night, the Maroon and Gold Relays in Eldon on Thursday and Macks Creek penciled in a conference meet on Wednesday that yielded some results the Pirates could be pleased about. 

Here is the how the week broke down. 

Camdenton's Cambrie Kowal runs the 3,200 meter race at the Laker Relays in Camdenton on April 13. Kowal finished second in the event with a time of 12:16.77 and broke a school record in the process.

CAMDENTON 

Competing on home turf, Camdenton produced across the board Tuesday night with both the Laker boys and girls finishing amongst the top three in a fairly packed field. 

The Camdenton boys finished second with 130.75 points, trailing only Waynesville’s 147 on the evening and it was a result Head Coach Nick Bruck could be pleased about. 

“Proud of our kids and have to remember that later in the year, we’ll run against our own classification,” Bruck said of his Class 4 team trailing in the final standings against the Class 5 Tigers.

“Any competition now, you enjoy because you missed it,” he continued, referring to an entire season in 2020 erased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our kids have done a good job of competing and trying to win races. We finished real tight looking tight looking at some of the finish line shots and were neck-and-neck and got teams on a lean. So, proud of our performance.”

The Camdenton girls finished third Tuesday, also crossing the century mark with 102.5 points, trailing only Marshfield (131.5) and Rolla (118). Considering the team does not have many upperclassmen, it is an encouraging result Head Coach John McNabb will take. 

“We don’t have a lot of juniors and seniors ad our sophomores are really redshirt freshmen. A lot of these sophomores, even, this is their second or third real track meet,” the coach pointed out. 

“We are down to some of the more competitive meets and it is exciting to be out here. It has been two years and I can hardly remember what it is like,” the coach continued with a smile, also referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that took away the prior season. “I think the kids did well tonight. I saw some good things I’m excited about.” 

One of those things he was excited to see was Cambrie Kowal breaking a school record in a race that tests some endurance- the 3,200 meter run. Kowal, who also runs cross country in the fall, finished second in the event and broke a school record that was a few years old. Then there was the javelin where a pair of Lakers in Nora Powers and Lily Wiethop took the top two spots and maximized the point potential with 18 team points. 

“That is kind of hard to do,” he said of the feat. “That builds up the bank pretty fast. We are just excited to be back out, competing and having a chance to do some good things.

Speaking of grabbing the top two spots, the Laker boys made a habit of that as Angel Dickerson and Joel Mason took care of business in the 200 meter dash while Parker Wormek and Brayden Black man did so in the 110 meter hurdles and both Dickerson and Mason did so in the long jump. 

“Even the kids that finished in the top eight, those are good finishes that contributed to our second place finish,” Bruck remarked.

“We just have to keep working because as the weather starts getting nicer, the times are going to get faster so we just have to keep working hard and trying to compete in those bigger races as we go towards the end of the season.”

That is the message McNabb had, too, noting there are plenty of ways to measure success with each opportunity, and he is eager to see how it all plays out. 

“Now, we really start grinding, getting better every day in practice and continuing to work and see what we can come up with by the end of the year,” he said. 

Macks Creek's Molly Phillips takes on the 800-meter run at the Laker Relays in Camdenton on April 13. Phillips finished 11th at 2:43.61.

MACKS CREEK 

Macks Creek is quite aware the program is small. 

There are seven kids in all, two play another sport and they are young. It has not prevented the program from seeing what they are made of against much larger schools. They tested their mettle once again on Tuesday in the Laker Relays before competing in the Polk County League conference meet at Skyline on Wednesday.

“We are running against schools like Camdenton, Waynesville and Lebanon and we are a 1A school. Just focusing on our times and our distances and not worrying so much about our placement here,” Macks Creek coach Paige Alexander said Tuesday. “We are a small fish in a big pond, but those times we are looking at are going to place us in conference and districts and hopefully, further us on to sectionals and state.”

The Pirates did not earn any points Tuesday night against the bigger fish in the pond with no top eight finishes, but their efforts seemed to pay off in the conference meet the following day where both the Macks Creek girls and boys earned second overall trailing only Hermitage overall. Both Molly and Caleb Phillips earned multiple conference championships for the Pirates.

“I want to congratulate all of our runners on their hard work and success up to this point in the season. Not only did we have a successful night medal wise, but we also had multiple personal records throughout the night,” Alexander noted. 

The coach noted that she has been trying to figure out where kids fit in the puzzle and it seems the pieces are coming together. 

“Now that we are figuring out where they fit in, we are able to fine-tune what they are going to be doing. We are starting to see progression in their times, distances, jumping and throwing,” she stated. “Fine-tuning and getting that figured out has been our focal point.

“They are really excited and have been doing really good in those meets, doing everything I ask of them and that is all you can really ask for as a coach.” 

And, there may be some reason to be excited for the future as well. Just a week prior, the middle school girls captured the conference title and the boys placed third. 

Eldon senior Taylor Henderson and her parents are greeted by Head Coach Tobby Eldridge on Senior Night in the Maroon and Gold Relays on April 15. It was the first time the program could celebrate a Senior Night in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ELDON 

Senior athletes being honored with their parents, coaches giving heartfelt speeches about those seniors and plenty of laughter being shared- it was a night long overdue at Eldon as the Mustangs hosted Senior Night during the annual Maroon and Gold Relays. 

“I guess probably the first emotion I have is sadness for last year’s senior group because they were a great group we thought had a chance to medal at the state meet and earn a plaque,” Eldon girls coach Tobby Eldridge said after his program put together its best finish in school history in 2019, taking fifth at state, before COVID-19 took away 2020. “We had all of our strength coming back. First emotion is sadness for them, but then I look to this senior group and think about all the things they are accomplishing when they didn’t have a season last year. They are still coming out and keeping the success. 

“When we go a year without a season, it would have been easy for them to step away and move on to other things. For them to stay with it, it has been great for our program.”

Well, Eldon senior Addie Davis certainly did not need to be reminded of what Senior Night means. She saw firsthand the hardships of 2020.

“Our friends last year, we saw how hard it was. They are always looking forward to their Senior Night every year and say, ‘Oh, I can’t wait until it is my turn,’ and they didn’t get that so I’m grateful we got the opportunity and just cherishing it,” she stated. 

The Eldon girls took second with 179.5 points, trailing only Centralia’s 217.5. Centralia will also be a district opponent so, if anything, it should be a motivator for the postseason. 

“They are a great and talented team and solid top to bottom. It was great for our girls to be able to compete against a team like that and for us to have a gut check and see what we are going to do,” Eldridge remarked. “Some of the meets we go to early in the season we might be the best team there, but then you go to a meet like this and there is a team just as good or better than you- what are you going to do?”

And, a small microcosm of this competition was the final event of the day in the 4x400 relay where Eldon barely edged Centralia in a close race to the finish line. It could be a small sign of things to come.

“We knew we had to compete with Centralia and everyone laid it out and gave their best effort. For shot and discus, they were neck-and-neck with me so that makes me work harder now,” Eldon senior Taylor Henderson said. “Districts, here we come and hopefully, we can get on top.”

Meanwhile, the Eldon boys put together their best performance of the season, taking third in the Maroon and Gold Relays with 95 points, trailing only Versailles (142.5) and Centralia (175.5). Coach Chad Hult said his team has continued to improve and he is hopping it all comes together in time for the postseason. 

“I tell them to compete against themselves each and every day and they are working towards that. We are very young as a team overall and some guys have never competed in high school or in general,” he noted. “Getting to know their bodies and how to compete is all we can worry about. As long as they are being their own time each time, we are getting better.”

Well, some of the athletes on the team have been around for a while, especially seniors P.J. Bledsoe and Aidan Gerber who have competed every year of their careers with the exception of the cancelled season in 2020. They did not take Thursday’s meet for granted. 

“I got emotional during this one because track is my favorite season and I am going to miss competing in high school,” Bledsoe said.

“It means everything to me and Gerber. Especially after what happened to last year’s seniors, this is everything and we talked about it before and said we are not going to hold anything back tonight. This is our last time here.”

Bledsoe will continue his track and field career at Westminster University in Fulton, so there are more days of competition ahead. For those coming up through the ranks, however, he has some words of advice, too. 

“If anything is going to happen, you just have to deal with it. At the end of the day, I just want them to go out and compete as hard as they can,” the senior said.

VERSAILLES

Competing in both the Laker Relays and Maroon and Gold Relays this week, Versailles produced some results. 

“Our team is representing our school and community very well right now,” Versailles coach Aaron Allen said. 

On Tuesday in Camdenton, the Tiger boys captured seventh with 48.5 points and the girls took 12th overall with 14 points. Competing against some larger schools, Allen was not expecting his team to win. However, he was expecting some effort and noted that his athletes did not disappoint.

“Our kids did exactly what was asked and the end result was a great one. Even though kids might not have medaled or placed, they would come over and report their results smiling knowing they got better,” he pointed out. “I am very proud of our team’s effort and I know it doesn’t look like much, but those who know the sport or our kids know this was a huge meet for our team. When the results carry over to Class 3, we will have several athletes in high rankings for qualification.” 

The teams moved higher up the rankings against similar sized schools in Eldon where the boys finished second with 142.5 points and the girls placed seventh with 35. 

“Our kids are starting to click and understand what we are doing and the process we are taking to get better each meet,” Allen said. “Next to the Butler meet, this was one of our better showing as an entire team. I am very proud of our kids and the work they are putting in.” 

At this point in the season, it is about making the right tweaks and adjustments to maximize results for the end of the year. 

“We have two meets per week until the end of the season and we now have to be careful with them,” the coach said of his athletes. “The season is now half of the way done and the taking of the roster is starting to slow down. We are finding out the best fits for our kids and now, it is time to turn it on and perform.

“We need to put our head down and continue to work.” 

Osage's Corey Hubkey looks to clear the bar in the pole vault competition at the Laker Relays in Camdenton on April 13. Hubkey finished sixth with a height of 3.37 meters.

OSAGE

School of the Osage was also amongst the competition at both Camdenton and Eldon. On Tuesday, the girls finished seventh overall with 43.33 points and the boys took ninth with 29 while Thursday resulted in a sixth place finish for the girls with 40.5 points while the boys earned sixth as well with 57. 

It may not have been a week where the Indians finished amongst the top of the pack, but there were a few highlights along the way. 

On Tuesday, Sara Wolf won the 800 meter run, 1,600 mete run and 3,200 meter run while the rest of the team earned points in four other events. Meanwhile, the boys earned points in nine events overall with fifth place being the best result of the day. 

There were 12 occasions on Thursday in Eldon where the Osage girls earned points and Madison Kessler had the best result of the day with a second place finish in the pole vault. The Osage boys earned points on 17 occasions and a third place effort from Corey Hubkey in the pole vault and the 4x100 relay team proved to be the top performances.

LAKER RELAYS

Here are the results of each Camdenton, Osage and Versailles athlete who finished in the top eight and scored points for their teams:

BOYS TRACK EVENTS

-100 Meter Dash: Camdenton's Angel Dickerson (1st) 11.01 seconds and Camdenton's Joel Mason (3rd) 11.16

-200 Meter Dash: Camdenton's Angel Dickerson (1st) 22.74, Camdenton's Joel Mason (2nd) 23.26 and Versailles' Max Coleman (4th) 23.73

-400 Meter Dash: Versailles' Allan Rhorer (5th) 54.42

-800 Meter Run: Camdenton's Benjamin Hauck (6th) 2:17.29

-3200 Meter Run: Osage's John Markovitz (5th) 10:40.7

-110 Meter Hurdles: Camdenton's Parker Wormek (1st) 15.34, Camdenton's Brayden Blackman (2nd) 16.06, Osage's Keigan Vaughn (6th) 17.66 and Versailles' Max Coleman (7th) 18.18

-300 Meter Hurdles: Camdenton's Brayden Blackman (1st) 40.87, Camdenton's Parker Wormek (3rd) 42.01, Versailles' Max Coleman (5th) 43.98 and Versailles' Mikhail Gulyayev (6th) 44.04

-4x100 Relay: Camdenton (1st) 44.09

-4x200 Relay: Versailles (3rd) 1:37.54 and Camdenton (5th) 1:37.72

-4x400 Relay: Versailles (4th) 3:41.49, Osage (5th) 3:41.52 and Camdenton (6th) 3:432.49

-4x800 Relay: Osage (6th) 9:19.32 and Versailles (7th) 9:21.98

BOYS FIELD EVENTS

-High Jump: Versailles' Michael Bell (4th) 5-10.75 and Camdenton's Kyle Christiansen (6th) 5-09

-Long Jump: Camdenton's Angel Dickerson (1st) 22-10, Camdenton's Joel Mason (2nd) 21-07.75 and Versailles' Allan Rhorer (6th) 19-11.75

-Triple Jump: Versailles' Michael Bell (1st) 42-10.25, Osage's Lucas Willenbrock (5th) 38-11.25 and Camdenton's Brayden Sheppard (7th) 38-03

-Pole Vault: Camdenton's Dane Lapine (2nd) 13-06.25, Osage's Talon Childs (5th) 11-06.5 and Osage's Corey Hubkey (6th) 11-00.75

-Discus: Osage's Franklin Sallee (8th) 110-10.25

-Javelin: Camdenton's Dane Lapine (4th) 132-10.5 and Camdenton's Peyton Kopiske (8th) 122-06.5

-Shot Put: Camdenton's Zane Thompson (4th) 43-08 and Osage's Franklin Sallee (6th) 42-05.5

GIRLS TRACK EVENTS

-400 Meter Dash: Camdenton's Alexiss Stroup (4th) 1:03.68 and Camdenton's Kylie Doyle (8th) 1:06.38

-800 Meter Run: Osage's Sara Wolf (1st) 2:29.21, Osage's Juliana Bryant (6th) 2:41.94 and Camdenton's Georgi Carolus (7th) 2:41.97

-1600 Meter Run: Osage's Sara Wolf (1st) 5:27.07 and Camdenton's Cambrie Kowal (5th) 5:55.58

-3200 Meter Run: Osage's Sara Wolf (1st) 12:02.02, Camdenton's Cambrie Kowal (2nd) 12:16.77 and Camdenton's Madelyn Coffelt (5th) 12:54.96

-100 Meter Hurles: Camdenton's Sarah Holmes (6th) 18.01 and Camdenton's Carley Kupfer (8th) 18.51

-300 Meter Hurdles: Camdenton's Sarah Holmes (4th) 51.57

-4x100 Relay: Camdenton (5th) 56.15

-4x200 Relay: Camdenton (8th) 2:07.88

-4x400 Relay: Camdenton (6th) 4:37.59 and Osage (7th) 4:42.25

-4x800 Relay: Osage (3rd) 10:41.4 and Camdenton (4th) 10:44.19

GIRLS FIELD RESULTS

-High Jump: Camdenton's Nora Powers (4th) 4-09 and Camdenton's Lily Wiethop (6th) 4-07

-Long Jump: Camdenton's Mya Hulett (6th) 16-01.25 and Camdenton's Lily Wiethop (7th) 15-11.75

-Triple Jump: Camdenton's Miranda Hadfield (5th) 30-11.75

-Pole Vault: Camdenton's Elizabeth McMahon (5th) 8-06.25, Camdenton's Mackenzie Daniels (6th) 8-00.5 and Osage's Madison Kessler (7th) 8-00.5

-Discus: Camdenton's Alexandra Dickerson (2nd) 101-008, Camdenton's Adelyn Enos (3rd) 96-07.5

-Javelin: Camdenton's Nora Powers (1st) 114-06.5, Camdenton's Lily Wiethop (2nd) 102-00.5 and Versailles' Maris Ollison (3rd) 95-10.5

-Shot Put: Versailles' Maris Ollison (2nd) 32-07

SKYLINE MEET (POLK COUNTY LEAGUE CONFERENCE MEET)

Here are the results of each Macks Creek athlete who finished in the top eight and earned points for the Pirates:

BOYS TRACK EVENTS

-110 Meter Hurdles: Obediah Tower (2nd)

-300 Meter Hurdles: Obediah Tower (2nd)

-200 Meter Dash: Kyler Gabriel (4th)

-400 Meter Dash: Kyler Gabriel (4th)

-800 Meter Run: Caleb Phillips (1st) and Jose Cortez (4th)

-1,600 Meter Run: Caleb Phillips (1st) and Jose Cortez (4th)

-3,200 Meter Run: Caleb Phillips (1st)

-4x400 Relay: Obediah Tower, Mason Stoner, Jose Cortez and Kyler Gabriel (2nd)

BOYS FIELD EVENTS

-Shot Put: Morgan Mitchell (3rd)

-High Jump: Kyler Gabriel (3rd)

GIRLS TRACK EVENTS

-200 Meter Dash: Autumn Miller (4th) 

-800 Meter Run: Molly Phillips (1st) 

-1,600 Meter Run: Molly Phillips (1st) 

-3,200 Meter Run: Molly Phillips (2nd)

GIRLS FIELD EVENTS

-Long Jump: Molly Phillips (1st) and Autumn Miller (4th)

-Triple Jump: Autumn Miller (3rd)

MAROON AND GOLD RELAYS

Here are the results of each Eldon, Versailles and Osage athlete who finished in the top eight and earned points for their team:

BOYS TRACK EVENTS

-100 Meter Dash: Osage's Eric Hood (4th) 11.77, Versailles' Kyle Flieger (5th) 11.82 and Eldon's Dakota Sieling (8th) 12.23

-200 Meter Dash: Eldon's Nicholas Martonfi (6th) 25.09 and Versailles' Justin Hamrick (7th) 25.28

-400 Meter Dash: Versailles' Allan Rhorer (1st) 54.69, Versailles' Anthony Clark (7th) 58.82 and Eldon's Dakota Collins (8th) 59.12

-800 Meter Run: Versailles' Seth Newton (3rd) 2:14.74, Osage's Jaysen Groll (7th) 2:17.81 and Osage's Corey Hubkey (8th) 2:17.86

-1,600 Meter Run: Versailles' Seth Newton (1st) 4:53.49, Eldon's Nathan Reynolds (3rd) 4:54.93, Eldon's Aidan Gerber (4th) 5:05.86 and Versailles' Zachary Radefeld (7th) 5:14.24

-3,200 Meter Run: Eldon's Nathan Reynolds (1st) 10:33.68, Osage's Jaysen Groll (4th) 11:45.12, Eldon's Jacob Arnold (5th) 12:02.91 and Osage's Collin Meisenheimer (8th) 12:16.59

-110 Meter Hurdles: Versailles' Max Coleman (4th) 17.67, Versailles' Nathaniel Buckler (5th) 18.04, Osage's Keigan Vaughn (6th) 18.06, Eldon's Hunter Arnold (7th) 18.87 and Osage's A Hernandez-Luna (8th) 22.04

-300 Meter Hurdles: Versailles' Max Coleman (1st) 43.01, Versailles' Mikhail Gulyayev (2nd) 43.93 and Eldon's Zachary Smithson (6th) 46.38

-4x100 Relay: Versailles (2nd) 47.31, Osage (3rd) 47.75 and Eldon (5th) 48.63

-4x200 Relay: Versailles (2nd) 1:35.63, Eldon (4th) 1:42.1 and Osage (6th) 1:43.11

-4x400 Relay: Versailles (1st) 9:04.07 and Eldon (2nd) 9:15.1

BOYS FIELD EVENTS

-Versailles' Justin Hamrick (1st) 5-09.75, Versailles' Michael Bell (2nd) 5-09.75 and Osage's Eric Hood (6th) 5-05.75

-Long Jump: Versailles' Allan Rhorer (3rd) 18-10 and Versailles' Tye Edgar (5th) 18-08.5

-Triple Jump: Versailles' Michael Bell (1st) 42-02.25, Osage's Lucas Willenbrock (4th) 38-03.75, Eldon's Baylor Pearson (6th) 36-10.5, Eldon's Nicholas Martonfi (7th) 36-07.25 and Versailles' Tyrus Ollison (8th) 36-02.25

-Pole Vault: Eldon's Nicholas Martonfi (2nd) 11-05, Osage's Corey Hubkey (3rd) 11-05, Osage's Talon Childs (5th) 10-05.25, Versailles' Kyle Flieger (6th) 10-05.25, Eldon's Tevin Eldridge (7th) 9-11.25 and Versailles' Jacob Shrock (8th) 9-11.25

-Discus: Eldon's P.J. Bledsoe (2nd) 120-11.5, Osage's Devin Williams (6th) 108-06 and Eldon's Vjay Jones (7th) 96-07

-Javelin: Osage's Harrison Drzewiecki (6th) 108-02, Osage's Colten Sullivan (7th) 103-09 and Eldon's Michael Rugen (8th) 101-06

-Shot Put: Eldon's Colton Phillips (2nd) 43-03.75, Eldon's Jasper Degraffenreid (4th) 41-02.5, Osage's Devin Williams (5th) 36-10.5 and Versailles' Theo Stevenson (8th) 33-02.5

GIRLS TRACK EVENTS

-100 Meter Dash: Osage's Madison Kessler (3rd) 13.65, Osage's Gratian Adams (5th) 14.17 and Eldon's Anmarie Dillon (8th) 14.58

-200 Meter Dash: Eldon's Caroline Beckmann (1st) 27.23, Versailles' Albina Moreno (5th) 30.52 and Osage's Gratian Adams (6th) 30.55

-400 Meter Dash: Eldon's Makenna Imler (5th) 1:07.78 and Eldon's Karmen McNeil (8th) 1:09.99

-800 Meter Run: Eldon's Emily Guthrie (3rd) 2:38.83 and Eldon's Savannah Holder (8th) 2:57.1

-1,600 Meter Run: Eldon's Emily Guthrie (2nd) 6:05.09, Versailles' Carmen Lemell (5th) 6:33.35 and Eldon's Adysson Gerber (6th) 6:36.62

-3,200 Meter Run: Eldon's Emily Guthrie (3rd) 13:40.85, Eldon's Vivian Wester (4th) 14:05.41 and Osage's Jocelynn Welch (7th) 14:41.69

-100 Meter Hurdles: Eldon's Zoe Martonfi (2nd) 16.69, Eldon's Stevana Wixson (5th) 17.99 and Osage's Karissa Whyte (8th) 19.14

-300 Meter Hurdles: Eldon's Zoe Martonfi (1st) 48.4, Eldon's Cassidy Prater (5th) 55.29, Osage's Karissa Whyte (6th) 55.65 and Versailles' Keegan Bullock (7th) 56.58

-4x100 Relay: Eldon (3rd) 55.37, Osage (6th) 56.96 and Versailles (7th) 57.24

-4x200 Relay: Eldon (3rd) 1:57.15 and Versailles (6th) 2:05.58

-4x400 Relay: Eldon (1st) 4:20.14 and Osage (5th) 4:59.74

-4x800 Relay: Osage (3rd) 12:07.41 and Eldon (4th) 12:08.93

GIRLS FIELD EVENTS

-High Jump: Eldon's Chloe Ruark (6th) 4-06

-Long Jump: Eldon's Caroline Beckmann (1st) 15-06.5, Eldon's Stevana Wixson (5th) 14-07.25 and Versailles' Katharina Baumgartner (6th) 14-06..5

-Triple Jump: Eldon's Caroline Beckmann (1st) 33-10.25, Eldon's Zoe Martonfi (2nd) 32-08.5 and Versailles' Katharina Baumgartner (6th) 28-08.5

-Pole Vault: Osage's Madison Kessler (2nd) 8-05.5, Eldon's Heather Harbison (3rd) 8-05.5 and Eldon's Joy Rollins (6th) 6-06

-Discus: Eldon's Taylor Henderson (1st) 98-11.5 and Eldon's Sayge Hankey (6th) 79-04.25

-Javelin: Eldon's Addie Davis (1st) 108-03.25, Versailles' Maris Ollison (2nd) 101-04.25, Versailles' Allison Biggs (6th) 88-02.25 and Osage's Madison Crossno (8th) 86-05

-Shot Put: Eldon's Patricia Patton (2nd) 38-05.5, Eldon's Taylor Henderson (3rd) 35-10 and Versailles' Maris Ollison (6th) 32-00.25

Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at mlosch@lakesunonline.com or 573-346-2132