The Van-Far boys and girls track and field team had solid finishes in their first two meets of the season held last week at Montgomery County and Monroe City.
In spite of being without a couple of key athletes that would have helped the squad earn possibly another 20 team points, the Indians scored 90 team points for a fourth-place tie with Fulton at the Montgomery County Early Invite.
The Indians had a pair of solid finishes in relay races.
Sam Hazel, Trevor Crider, Morgan Slatten, and Lathyn McMorris crushed second place Mark Twain by more than :40 seconds to win the 4×800 with a time of 10:16.37.
The 4×200-meter relay team of Sharrod Connor, Jacob Garner, Parker Wallace, and Trevor Crider held off rival Paris by less than a second with a time of 1:38.95 to win their race.
Van-Far’s 4×400-meter relay team of Verlyn Johnson, Jacob Garner, Wallace, and Crider placed third in their race with a time of 4:13.05. A second Van-Far squad in the event featuring Alex Flowers, Zakkary Strange, Verdell Johnson, and Slatter was fifth with a time of 4:21.02.
An injury to Joseph Clithero forced a DNF in the 4×100-meter relay.
Dillion Minor placed seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 27.34 seconds.
Strange picked up two team points by placing seventh in the 400 meters (1:06.58).
Hazel was sixth in the 3,200 meters (12:21).
Slatten earned a team point in the 1,600 meters with an eight place time of 5:43.48.
Patrick Finnegan was fifth in the 800 meters (2:31.59).
Josh Hodde won his 110-meter hurdles (17.10).
Meanwhile, Crider was second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.44 seconds. Teammate Verlyn Johnson wasn’t far behind, placing fourth (49.76).
Jacob Garner won the pole vault event after clearing 10’06”.
Nathan Beatty won the discus event with a toss of 109’06” and his teammate Kyle Ebers placed seventh with a toss of 96’08.75”.
Flowers took sixth in the shot put with a throw of 37’01.50”.
In Monroe City with a field featuring seven teams from Class 2-4, the Class 1 Indians took eighth place with 82 team points, just 1.5 points behind Palmyra.
Connor had a solid performance on the day.
He won the 100 meters with a time of 11.37 seconds and was third in the 200 (24.10).
Connor then teamed with Jacob Garner, Corbin O’Connor, and Wallace for second in the 4×100 (45.23).
The same group with Minor instead of O’Connor, took second in the 4×200 (1:35.02).
A 4×400 squad of Verlyn Johnson, Jacob Garner, McMorris, and Wallace was sixth (3:58.94).
McMorris then joined Tyler Robinson, Slatten, and Hazel to take sixth in the 4×800 (9:47.52).
Wallace won the 400 meters with a time of 52.79 seconds.
In the distance races, Robinson was fourth in the 3,200 (11:49.95) and eighth in the 1,600 (5:22.38) while Hazel took fifth in the 3,200 (11:50.99) and seventh in the 1,600 (5:17.39).
Hodde led the Indians with the hurdles by winning the 110-meter event in 16.34 seconds.
Crider was third (44.53) in the 300-meter hurdles.
In other field events, Jacob Garner placed third in the pole vault after clearing 10’06”.
Flowers was also eighth in the shot put (39’09”).
“I’m pleased with how well we’ve done as a team considering we’ve been without one of our main stays,” said Van-Far head coach Kevin Baldwin. “We had some really good individual performances, not just because they won, but there have been some pretty decent times for this early in this season. The kids seem to be performing well early on. Hopefully we can continue to get better and be pretty solid if we do.”
Baldwin did note he is trying different runners on the relay teams and he’s pointed to his team’s depth to help the squad so far this season to overcome the absence of some athletes.
The Lady Indians were tied for fourth with 70 team points at Montgomery County.
The group had several top eight performances.
Makayla McAfee was second in the 100-meter hurdles (20.05) and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (55.49).
Jordan Garner took sixth in the discus (77’11.5”). She also teamed with Colby Walton, Emily Humphrey, and Alivia Graddy to take fifth in the 4×100 (1:01.98). She helped the 4×200-meter squad of Aubrey Bunge, Walton, and Graddy also take fifth (2:11.52). A second team in the same event was sixth with a time of 2:14.69. Those runners were Hannah Bauman, Alyse Jensen, Lauren Shaw, and Katie Elzea.
A 4×400 team of Taryn Adam, Jayle Jennings, Juliana Martinez, and Bunge was fourth with a time of 5:09.76.
Three of the same runners with Alex Connaway were fourth in the 4×800 as well with a time of 12:11.79.
In other races, Martinez was fifth (3:02.9) and Shaw was eighth (3:07.17) in the 800 meters; Graddy was fifth in the 200 meters (31.52); and Maddie McAfee was fifth (16:30.96) and Avery Rost was eighth (17.39.7) in the 3,200 meters.
Three runners placed in the 400 meters. Connaway was fourth (1:17.57), Elzea took sixth (1:18.33), and Bunge was seventh (1:18.37).
In the field events, Graddy placed sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 29’10”.
Stanich was sixth in the shot put with a toss of 63’8.5”.
“I thought the girls did a great job,” said Van-Far head girls coach Kris Cross. “It was a very cold and windy meet. A lot of the girls had never been in a varsity track meet before and did events they had never done. I thought they competed well as a team and look forward to seeing what the season brings.”
At Monroe City, the Lady Indians were seventh in a field featuring several large schools.
Jennings placed second with a solid time of 14:02.3 in the 3,200 meters.
Makayla McAfee took third in the 300-meter hurdles (53.49) and seventh in the 100-meter hurdles (18.97).
Martinez took eighth in the 800 meters (2:59.85) while Bunge was eighth (1:13.5) in the 400 meters.
As for the relay races, the 4×100 team of Madalyn Swafford, Jordan Garner, Walton, and Graddy were sixth (59.55).
A 4×800 squad of Adam, Connaway, Jennings, and Martinez took fifth in 12:03.22.
The 4×200-meter relay team of Jordan Garner, Swafford, Bunge, and Graddy placed seventh in 2:05.48.
The 4×400 squad of Makayla McAfee, Adam, Martinez, and Connaway was eighth (5:05.64).
In field events, Jordan Garner took third in the discus with a toss of 93’5”.
As for the jump events, Graddy was third in the triple jump (29’10.5”) and Makayla McAfee placed fifth in the long jump (13’10.75”).
“Overall, the girls all improved their times from Tuesday which is great,” Cross said.
“I am looking forward to seeing how they compete on a night when the weather is actually decent and looking forward to watching their times drop even more as the season progresses.”