Camdenton's Wormek becomes hurdle state champion, other Lakers capture medals at Class 4 state meet
Camdenton senior Parker Wormek had been anticipating the moment for quite some time.
After finishing third as a sophomore in the Class 4 state 110-meter hurdles in 2019- the last time there was a track and field season due to COVID-19 cancelling his junior year in 2020- he patiently waited for another opportunity to race among Missouri’s best hurdlers.
The moment finally came on a cold and cloudy day at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City on Friday, with temperatures unrecognizable for a Memorial Day weekend, but that was fine with Wormek as he prepared for the final race of his high school career. It all came down to a few hurdles over a stretch of 110 meters down the track.
“The cold kind of helps a bit. If it is too hot, you lose the energy you want,” Wormek said.
Well, he certainly had plenty of energy about 14.6 seconds later as that time was good enough for a state championship in the event as he beat out sophomore Luke Noland of Kearney by 14/100th of a second to earn a spot on top of the podium.
“It is absolutely awesome and I’ve been dreaming for this since sophomore year,” said Wormek who previously broke the school record in the event that was held by his football coach Jeff Shore. “Senior year coming out here, I got the nerves of the last event and race in the entirety of high school. You have to get first in order to get a state championship and it is stressful, but so exciting at the same time.”
And Wormek was not the only Laker athlete to enjoy success on Friday as four of his teammates also captured state medals. Among the 40 schools competing in Class 4, Camdenton finished seventh as a team with 34 points. Webb City brought home the team state title with 64, respectively.
“Our boys have finished in the top 10 the last two seasons in a row and our girls finished in the top 10 two seasons prior to that, so I thank our experienced coaching staff for their efforts and our school support,” Camdenton boys track and field coach Nick Bruck stated. “You have to give credit to our talented athletes and their work ethic that we have had during the last five years, too.”
Senior Dane Lapine was one of the first Lakers to capture a medal on Friday in the pole vaulting competition where he finished sixth with a height of 13 feet and 2 1/2 inches or 4.03 meters. He said he felt he could have done better, scratching on a height he has cleared on the first try in previous competitions, but he felt more gratitude than anything as he competed as a Laker one last time.
“Super happy I got to compete and got on the podium and super happy to have (Bret) Enos as a coach. Definitely the reason I stuck it out in pole vault,” the senior remarked.
“Just my coach being one of the goofiest ones on the field, making sure to keep it light and not as crazy and intense as some people make it, and just keeping it joyful.”
And, that is precisely what Lapine would advise his returning Laker teammates to keep in mind, no matter what they are competing in.
“Just keep it light. If you get too deep into the emotion of the thing, you’ll overthink things and start to not excel as much as you really can. Make sure to have fun.”
Well, not only having teammates to compete with at state, but running in the same event certainly made competing more fun for other Lakers in action. Senior Brayden Blackman ran in the 110-meter hurdles with Wormek while also running in the 300-meter hurdles and senior Joel Mason competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes with sophomore teammate Angel Dickerson.
Reaching state with a teammate, which means both athletes are one of the top 16 in Missouri to begin with, shows what can happen with a little push and hard work.
“We have been pushing each other all year, competing, and I would not want to run with anyone else,” Blackman said of running with Wormek as he finished seventh in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.21 seconds.
“It is super nice,” added Wormek. “I mean, this is the first meet we actually haven’t ran a 110 hurdles together since he was in a different heat. But, it it has always been good competition and I love turning around and seeing him behind me.”
Blackman went on to earn another All-State finish- reserved for the top eight- by finishing fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.46 seconds. It was a time the senior said he could be happy with and a great way to go out in his final high school race.
“I think I improved from two years ago to now. It just shows that if you work hard, you can do whatever you want, you really can. Just keep working.”
That was certainly evident for both Mason and Dickerson who were actually competing in their first full track and field seasons. Deciding to give track and field a shot as a senior, Mason ended up eighth in the 100-meter dash at 11.03 seconds and he took seventh in the 200-meter at 22.45 seconds.
“I’m truly blessed, God is good to me. For my first year of track I was not really expecting this at the start of the season,” Mason noted. “It is a real big blessing- all of the coaches my friends and teammates.”
He also took time to give some credit to the state champion, and express gratitude to Dickerson for keeping him sharp the past few months.
“I came to track and got to hang with all my friends. Parker, I pretty much learned everything from him,” Mason continued. “I mean, he is a state champion for a reason. I just enjoy hanging with my friends and Angel pushing me in practice. We both pushed each other to be the best and it has been nice to see each other grow throughout the season.”
Dickerson did not get to have a freshman season due to COVID-19, and battling through some back and leg pain throughout the week, he opted to not compete in the state long jump so he could give himself the best chance possible to compete in both dashes. Things did not work out too bad after the sophomore finished fourth in the 100-meter dash at 10.97 seconds and third in the 200 at 22.17.
“I was trying to make sure my legs did not give out at the start of the race. It was kind of hard and you kind of saw me stumble at the beginning, too. That was the biggest challenge, for sure,” Dickerson said of his day.
“You just have to push, keeping, stay positive and get positive outcomes.”
And now, it is back to work after his first official track and field season resulted in two All-State finishes.
“I would say it was pretty successful. I actually surprised myself throughout the whole season, whether it was the 100 or 200,” he said of his sophomore season.
“I’ve learned a lot about my drive and form and I’ll definitely use that or next year and probably improve over the summer.”
The Camdenton girls were also in action as senior Cambrie Kowal and sophomores Kylie Doyle, Georgi Carolus and Alexis Stroup competed among the best 4x800 relay teams in the state and finished 13th with a time of 10:32.19. It may not have been quite the result the team was looking for, but the goal of reaching state was achieved for a fairly young group.
“We just want to go out, compete and do the best we can do. Obviously, it was not exactly the ideal conditions today,” Camdenton girls track and field coach John McNabb noted. “The other thing you have to keep in mind is that our four kids that ran today, this is really their first track season ever. We had a senior who had never been out in track before and three sophomores who didn’t get to have a state track meet last year. They are basically redshirt freshmen, so it is a great opportunity for them to see what it is like to get a chance to compete on the big stage.
“Those three coming aback ran some great races this year and I told one of the kids today, when you have three who have done really well, a lot of times it is easy to find that fourth one,” the coach continued, also noting how proud he was of his group. “Somebody wants to be that fourth one to get on that relay team with those who have already been there, so that is exciting.”
He is also counting on the trio of returning state qualifiers to lead the way in 2022.
“They are already talking about it and have been all week. We are excited for those kids and hopefully, with those kids coming back, providing some leadership for our team next year, too.”
There was also another Laker competing in his first state track and field meet in freshman Brayden Sheppard who took 16th in the triple jump at 37 feet and 9 1/2 inches or 11.52 meters. It is something to build on, just like a state championship, and that excites Bruck.
“Being able to crown state champions is rare and we are certainly proud of our athletes who have achieved that accomplishment. Similarly, any medal won at the state track meet deserves the same praise,” he said.
“We had all four seniors who attended the meet earn medals following a COVID shutdown, so I am extremely proud of their efforts. The bonus is we took two younger athletes that will be the future of our program, so hopefully we can continue our success.”
Despite being with the program for just one season, Mason is confident that can be the case in the years to come just based off what he saw each day.
“We have guys that work hard. We come in every day, even when we don’t want to, and set ourselves to a higher standard,” he explained. “We are a small town and people do’t look to us as much as Springfield, Columbia or Jefferson City.
“Like Coach Bruck tells us, it does not really matter where you’re from- come in, work hard every day and do your best.”
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-346-2132