(Note: This story has been corrected from the print edition with new information.)
It was a track and field meet unlike any other of the previous SEMO Conference Championships this year since all four divisions competed against each other for the first time ever.
Both the Jackson boys and girls teams were hoisting the SEMO North Conference Championship plaques at the end, while both teams also won the overall title.
The boys team won four overall conference titles and eight in the north division. The girls team took home five overall championships and combined for six in the north.
“The SEMO North Division is always extremely competitive with very good track and field programs from Cape Central, Poplar Bluff, Notre Dame and Sikeston,” Jackson head coach Jim Stoverink said. “We are definitely very proud to win that conference title. Winning the conference championship is always one of our goals at the beginning of every track season, so to achieve that goal for both the boys and girls teams really feels good, and something that we the coaching staff are very proud of for our teams.”
Jackson junior Donya Marx was named the meet’s Outstanding Overall Performer for the boys team after leading the Indians to three conference titles.
First was in the high jump, where Marx recorded a leap of six-feet, four-inches to win both the overall conference gold medal and the north.
Marx was then a member of the 4×400-meter relay team that took second overall and first in the north, along with juniors Aaron Brown, Caleb Craft and sophomore Daniel Dickerson. This team posted a time of three minutes, 36.69 seconds.
The rest of the 4×400 team won individual conference titles in the north division as well starting with Dickerson in the 100-meter dash at 11.54, which placed him second overall.
Craft won the 300-meter hurdles in the north at 41.84, but he was runner-up to Hayti’s overall top finisher Tylor Wooden (41.24).
Brown placed second in the overall conference finals of the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.6 behind first-place finisher Larry Payne of Kennett (49.81). However, the second-place finisher to Brown in the north division was 2.2 seconds behind him.
Marx also competed in the long jump and triple jump events, taking second in the triple with a 42-3.5 and fourth in long jump at 20-0.5.
The next overall conference champion for the boys team was none other than senior Jack Rinehart, who took first in the pole vault with a mark of 15-6, which was two feet higher than the meet’s runner-up.
Jackson’s third and final overall championship on the field came in the javelin, where sophomore Rhett Liley recorded a throw of 155-04. This heave was three feet, two inches higher than runner-up Poplar Bluff’s Josiah Kilgore’s throw.
The final overall champion for the boys was their 4×800-meter relay team, compiled of Jeremy Brown, Michael Schneider, Evan Stephens and Ethan Walz. This relay team recorded a time of 8:35.73 to win both conference titles.
On the girls side of the meet, it was quite the day for seniors Kennedy Bauer and Kaylee Wilson, who repeated as division conference champions and overall in their respective events. They also helped lead the 4×400 and 4×800 to victories in both categories.
Wilson, like she has almost every meet this season, took first in the 800-meter run to win the overall championship by posting a time of 2:31. She also took third overall in the 400 at 1:02.49.
Bauer won this year’s 3200-meter run with a time of 5:27.84 to be the overall and north division champion, while teammate and freshman Layla Fliege took third in the same race at 5:39.92.
The 4×400 team, made up by Bauer, Wilson, junior Ashlyn Prince and sophomore Alexis Boyles, won the race by crossing the finish line at 4:19.44, which was 7.96 seconds better than second-place Caruthersville.
The Jackson girls underclassman took over the 3200-meter run as sophomore Elizabeth Steele won the race with a time of 12:36.89. Freshman Maite Mendez finished second behind Steele at 13:04.66, followed by third-place finisher sophomore Sophia McCadams.
The final overall win for the girls team came in the 4×800, where Bauer, Fliege, Prince and Wilson posted a time of 10:25.78 to win the overall race.
Taking second in the race was also Jackson with a team made up by Kayden Fisher, Taylor Goodson, Addie Heisserer and McCadams at 10:53.49.
The final event the girls team won in the north was the 100, where freshman Ryleigh Kilhafner took third overall at 13.04, which was .03 seconds ahead of fourth-place finisher in Notre Dame senior Carly Pujol (13.07).
The Bulldogs were able to win this year’s overall conference title with performances like Pujol’s, who won the pole vault event with a mark of 11-6.
Notre Dame was also led by none other than junior Riley Burger, who won the overall high jump (5-6), long jump (18-2.5), triple jump (40-6) and helped the 4×200 team take first along with Pujol, Laura Brown and Natalie Timpe.
Saxony Lutheran’s top performer was senior Bri Jenkins, who won both the 100 (12.9) and 200 (26.14), while finishing second behind Burger in the long jump.
The next meet for the Jackson track teams is the Hillsboro Invitational this Friday, with the Class 5 District 1 Meet coming up on May 11 in Hillsboro.