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Track and Field

District Track: Jackson girls win C5D1 title; Notre Dame teams finish as runner-ups

Jackson senior Lillian Gibbs won both the javelin and discus events at the Class 5 District 1 Meet Saturday at St. Louis University High School. Photo by Nick McNeal

On Saturday, area track and field teams Jackson and Notre Dame’s programs competed in their district meets as only one of them took home a district championship. This was none other than the Indians girls team, which brought home the Class 5 District 1 title after winning three events.

Notre Dame’s boys and girls team competed in the Class 3 District 1 and Class 4 District 1 meets, respectively, and both finished as the district runner-ups. Jackson’s boys team ended up taking fourth place overall in Class 5 District 1.

Winning district gold two out of the three times the Jackson girls team won an event was Indiana State signee senior Lillian Gibbs. She won the javelin with ease by recording a heave of 138 feet, three inches, which was 17 feet further than the event runner-up.

The second and final event Gibbs won a district championship in was the discus throw as she did so by making a toss of 109-9, as Indians fellow senior Briaysia Purl placed second behind her at 107-0 to also qualify for Saturday’s sectional meet.

The Indians girls team had three more field athletes qualify for sectionals by placing in the top four as junior Megan Burger took third in triple jump at 34-6.75. Senior Stormee Rutherford placed fourth overall in shot put with a throw of 30-5.75, while freshman Brooklyn Williams took fourth in the long jump with a leap of 15-9.

The third and final Jackson girls athlete to win a district title was sophomore Annika Barks as she did so in the 3200-meter run by posting a time of 11 minutes, 38.38 seconds. Barks’ finish was nearly five seconds ahead of second place.

Jackson girls squad qualified for sectionals eight more times as Maryville signee Mallorie Metzger nearly won the Class 5 District 1 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.98. She also qualified for sectionals in the 1600 by placing third at 5:23.75.

Also running in the 800 at sectionals with Metzger will be Jackson freshman Emma Niedbalski, who took third in the event at districts behind Mallorie by crossing the finish line at 2:24.83.

Niedbalski will also compete at sectionals as a member of the Indians 4×800-meter relay team, which took third overall at the district meet at 10:19.87. On the team with Emma was fellow freshmen Anika Stephens and Kalissa Smith, and junior Grace Kurtz.

Jackson will have another track athlete in sophomore Victoria Dent competing in more than one event at sectionals as she took third in the 100-meter dash (13.18) and fourth in the 200 (27.22) at districts.

Dent was also a member of the Indians sectional-qualifying 4×100 and 4×200 teams that both took fourth place with times of 52.25 and 1:51.59, respectively. Williams and freshman Lily Watkins are on both teams as well, while freshman Savannah Brown is on the 4×100 and freshman Mollie Metzger runs with the 4×200 team.

Moving to both Notre Dame runner-up finishes, both the boys and girls teams won four individual district championships. Three Bulldogs won multiple district titles, which were seniors Cole Bruenderman and Mason Morris of the boys team and junior Lauren Eftink did so for the girls squad.

Bruenderman, who will continue his track and field career at Lindenwood, won both the long jump and triple jump district titles in the Class 3 District 1 Meet. He did so in long jump with a mark of 21-4.25, and he then recorded a leap of 44-6.25 in triple jump for the gold.

As for Morris, he won both of his district championships on the track as he took first in the 1600 at 4:41.39, followed by a 10:25.25-finish to win the 3200.

Bruenderman (4×100 and 4×200) and Morris (4×800) will also compete in the sectional meet on relay teams. Seniors Greg Dennis and Davis Dow took third in their respective events — high jump and the 300-meter hurdles — at districts to qualify for sectionals also.

Notre Dame junior Jacob Brown qualified in two events outside of the relay teams with second-place finishes in the 100 and 200.
Eftink followed up being named the SEMO Conference Most Valuable Track Performer two weeks ago by claiming district gold in both the 1600 and 3200 in Class 4 District 1. Lauren won the 1600 by posting a time of 5:09.11, while crossing the finish line at 11:55.62 to win her second and final district title of the season in the 3200.

Also winning their individual events for Notre Dame in a classification above the boys team was senior Saint Louis signee Jenna Givens and junior Emma Duenne. Givens took home the district championship in the triple jump with a mark of 36-6.5, while Duenne won discus with a 118-0.5 heave.

Eftink and Givens will also compete at the Class 4 Sectional 1 Meet as members of the 4×400 team that took second at districts with a time of 4:14.1. Accompanying them will be sophomores Lily Carr and Courtney Tatum.

Individually, Carr qualified for sectionals in two other events at the district meet as she finished second to Givens in the triple jump (34-1.75) and was third in the 300-meter hurdles (49.68).

Senior Molly Turner also recorded a runner-up finish behind a Notre Dame champion as she took second in the 3200 behind Eftink with a time of 12:14.96. Her twin sister Katy Turner, who signed with Maryville a few weeks back, took third in pole vault with a mark of 9-5.5 to qualify for sectionals.

Placing ahead of Turner in pole vault at districts to qualify for sectionals as well was Bulldogs sophomore Abbie Spooler, who actually hit the first-place mark of 10-5.25 to take second.

Jackson’s fourth-place team at districts won one event as senior Hunter Wendel took home district gold in the 3200 with a time of 9:36.16. Finishing less than a second behind Wendel was fellow Indians senior Cade McCadams, who crossed the finish line at 9:36.91 to advance to sectionals.

McCadams also qualified for sectionals individually by taking fourth in the 1600 at 4:25.99 behind Jackson third-place finisher junior Bryce Gentry (4:24.66).

Gentry, McCadams and Wendel will also participate in the 4×800 run at sectionals, along with senior Cole Puls. This group nearly won the race with a time of 8:06.91, which was only .59 seconds behind first-place Webster Groves’ finish.

Puls qualified for the sectional meet individually as well with a third-place finish in the 800 at 2:00.61, while freshman Barrett Reagan also did so in the 400-meter dash by taking fourth in the vent at 51.13. The Jackson boys final individual track athlete to advance to place in the top four at districts was senior Andrew Boyd, who finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (16.41).

Reagan is also set to run in the 4×200 relay at sectionals with junior Keegan Stutzman and sophomores Blake Cain and Gavin Alspaugh. These four combined for a second-place finish at districts with a time of 1:32.5.

Moving to the field, senior Layne Gross placed the highest for the Indians by taking second in the javelin with a heave of 145-4. Two other Jackson seniors also earned a trip to sectionals in Braeden Cain and Nicholas Heisserer, who both took fourth in pole vault (12-5.5) and shot put (45-4.5), respectively.

The final field athlete for the Indians to reach this weekend’s sectional meet was sophomore Mason Turley, who took third overall in pole vault and ahead of Cain at 12-11.5.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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