The Van-Far boys track and field team finished off a 3-peat at the Class 1, District 1 meet in New Haven on Saturday as the Indians won the team district championship after scoring 152 points.
The pressure was on the Indians as the defending two-time champions. They actually trailed Valle Catholic by one team point with three events remaining.
Fortunately, strong finishes in the 200 meters, 3,200 meters, and 4×400-meter relay helped them secure the title.
In fact, the team knew they had won entering the final 4×400-meter relay event where the Indians completed the relay sweep. Parker Wallace, Alex Flowers, Verlyn Johnson, and Trevor Crider won the district title (3:38.54).
“It was kind of nice going into the 4×4 relay knowing you had won,” said Van-Far head track and field coach Kevin Baldwin, who won his first districts as a head coach since his Pierce City squad clinched back-to-back titles in 1998.
Van-Far’s 4×800-meter relay team of Tyler Robinson, Sam Hazel, Lathyn McMorris, and Trevor Crider broke the school record for the third time this year by winning the district title with a time of 8:38.71.
Baldwin said the four runners had not run together until three meets ago and the squad has become a formidable foe for other state teams.
The 4×100-meter relay team of Jacob Garner, Sharrod Connor, Wallace, and Crider won the district title (45.29).
Meanwhile, Jacob Garner, Verlyn Johnson, Wallace, and Connor won the 4×200 title (1:35.31).
“The thing that’s nice about our relays is we’ve got good depth on almost every relay,” Baldwin noted.
McMorris won the district title in the 1,600 meters (4:39.82) and set a school record in the 800 meters (4:39.82) for a title.
McMorris also did just enough to advance in the 3,200 meters (11:01.65). Robinson advanced in the same event (11:06.03).
Hazel didn’t advance but was sixth in the 800 meters (2:10.65).
In the sprints, Connor won district titles in both the 100 meters (11.49) and 200 meters (23.85).
Dillion Minor placed sixth in the 200 meters (24.70).
Wallace was second in the 400 meters (52.05) and Verlyn Johnson was third (54.60) as both qualified for sectionals.
Jacob Garner won the pole vault district title (11’06”) and also qualified for sectionals in the 100 meters (11.89).
Crider took second in the 300-meter hurdles (43.59) to advance to sectionals.
In the field events, Kyle Ebers advanced with a personal best throw of 126’04” in the discus. Nathan Beatty was eighth (102’11”).
Flowers took fourth in the shot put (36’00.75”) to advance.
Walter Salmon placed sixth in the long jump (16’11”).
The Lady Indians had a solid districts earning 82 team points to place third overall and were just 12 points from a second place finish.
“We are still a very young team with only losing one senior so I think we will do even better next year at districts,” said Van-Far head girls coach Kris Cross. “Overall, most kids ran their best times of the year which is all I can hope for as a coach.”
Jayle Jennings won a district title in the 1,600 meters (5:58.16) and the 3,200 meters (13:17.61). Madelyn McAfee placed in the 3,200 (14:23.46).
Makayla McAfee advanced to sectionals by taking third in the 100-meter hurdles (18.20) and 300-meter hurdles (52.52). She also placed fifth in the long jump (13’05.25”).
Jordan Garner qualified for sectionals in the pole vault with a second place height of 6’09”. She was third in the discus (91’10”) and fourth in the 100 meters (13.93).
“She (Jordan) does a great job with the crazy schedule this gives her at most meets to give her all for the team,” Cross noted.
Alivia Graddy advanced in the triple jump as she was fourth (30’).
Juliana Martinez placed sixth in the 800 meters (2:47.27).
Alex Connaway placed eighth in the 400 meters (1:13.89).
As for relays, the 4×800 squad of Taryn Adam, Lauren Shaw, Connaway, and Martinez placed third (11:49.90) as they improved their time by at least :30 seconds.
“Each girl dropped five to 10 seconds of their time which really shows how hard they have worked this year,” Cross said.
The 4×100-meter relay team of Jordan Garner, Hannah Bauman, Madalyn Swafford, and Graddy qualified with a fourth place time of 57.10.
Van-Far was just a half point from winning the EMO Conference title last week as their 153.5 team points were just shy of Bowling Green’s 154.
“You couldn’t ask for a better show at a track and field meet,” Baldwin said.
Connor won conference titles in the 100 meters (11.78) and 200 meters (23.36). He was also named the Sprinter of the Year in the conference.
Jacob Garner won the conference title in the pole vault after clearing a personal best 12’. He was also fourth in the 100 meters (12.02).
Wallace won the conference title in the 400 meters (51.91).
He was also named the Middle Distance Runner of the Year for the conference.
McMorris won the conference crown in the 3,200 meters (10:23.86) and won the conference title in the 800 meters (2:03.13). He was also named the Distance Runner of the Year for the conference.
In the relays, Jacob Garner, Connor, Crider, and Wallace on the 4×100 title (45.25).
Jacob Garner, Verlyn Johnson, Wallace, and Connor won the title in the 4×200 (1:34.43) while the 4×400 squad of Verlyn Johnson, Wallace, Flowers, and Crider took second (3:35.57) for all-conference honors.
McMorris, Hazel, Robinson, and Crider won the 4×800 (8:42.95).
Minor was sixth in the 200 meters (24.33) and seventh in the high jump (5’).
Verlyn Johnson was fourth in the 400 meters (55.01).
Hazel took fifth in the 800 meters (2:19.22) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:14.71).
Robinson was third in the 3,200 (11:21.81) and fifth in the 1,600 (5:09.21).
Crider placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (44.02).
Beatty placed third (121’10”) and Ebers took fourth (121’05”) in the discus. Ebers was also sixth in the shot put (37’07.50).
Salmon took fourth in the long jump (18’04”).
The Lady Indians earned 52 team points to take sixth overall in the EMO Conference, missing fifth place Mark Twain by just three points.
“It is really great to see the girls times dropping in their races and improving in their field events,” Cross said.
Makayla McAfee won the conference title in the 300-meter hurdles (51.58). She was also named Outstanding Hurdler in the conference as she also took fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (18.32). She was also eighth in the long jump (14’00.25”).
Jordan Garner was fourth in the 100 meters (14.19), fourth in the discus (93’07”), and sixth in the pole vault (7’).
She also teamed with Graddy, Bauman, and Swafford to take fifth in the 4×100 (58.33).
Aubrey Bunge, Graddy, Swafford, and Bauman were fifth in the 4×200 (2:02.40).
Makayla McAfee, Connaway, Adam, and Bunge placed sixth in the 4×400 (5:01.29).
The 4×800 team of Shaw, Adam, Connaway, and Martinez were sixth (12:19.13).
Katie Elzea was eighth in the 400 meters (1:12.34).
Jennings took sixth in the 1,600 (5:53.81), which was :20 seconds better than her previous top mark of the season, and sixth in the 3,200 meters (13:52.04).
Graddy placed seventh in the triple jump (30’05.50”).
Other notes show Madelyn McAfee beating her PR in the 3,200 meters (14:55) and Ashley Stanich setting a PR in the shot put (27’6.5”).