Three Jackson seniors competed in their last high school track and field meet on Saturday, May 25, in this year’s Class 5 State Championship. All three of those athletes finished their career on the podium.
The first was none other than senior Jack Rinehart, who took third in this year’s pole vault event with a mark of 15 feet, three inches to claim all-state for a second-straight season.
The final two senior Indians to garner all-state were Kennedy Bauer and Kaylee Wilson on the track, who did so together on the 4×800 relay team. They were accompanied by junior Ashlyn Prince and freshman Layla Fliege to take third in the event with a time of nine minutes, 32.53 seconds.
Bauer, who already signed with the University of Missouri – Kansas City to continue her cross country and track career, also finished on the podium in the 1600-meter run. She took seventh in the race, posting a time of 5:13.1.
This was the first time Bauer earned all-state honors in track, while Wilson did so last year in the 800 and as a member of the 4×800 team her freshman year.
The highest place for either Jackson team was by junior Erin Huff, who took second in this year’s pole vault with a mark of 11-0. Huff’s vault was only three inches less than Ozark senior state champion Olivia Lyon’s of 11-3.
Like Rinehart, this is the second year in a row where Huff has garnered all-state honors as she tied for fourth last year with current Southeast Missouri State pole vaulter and former Jackson Indian Katie Schumer.
The last but not least all-state finish for the Indians came in the 400-meter dash as junior Aaron Brown took third in the event. He crossed the finish line at 49.39, which was 3.09 seconds behind Hazelwood West junior Justin Robinson, who won the state title with a 46.3.
Brown earned all-state in last year’s 400 as well, where he finished fifth overall.
“I am very pleased that several of our athletes were able to [earn all-state honors],” Jackson head coach Jim Stoverink said. “The tornado in Jefferson City on Wednesday night caused the two-day event to be moved to other locations and condensed down to one day. This created some adversity, but I am very proud of how our kids responded, and how hard they competed.”
Track and field athletes must earn a spot in the top eight to receive all-state honors, which the Indians failed to do so in six events.
Bauer and Wilson both competed in the 800, but Wilson finished two spots shy at 10th overall (2:23.96) as Bauer took 15th (2:28.35).
The final track event where the girls team failed to finish in the top eight was the 100-meter dash as freshman Ryleigh Kilhafner took 16th in the race at 13 seconds.
Jackson’s final four events where Indians didn’t earn all-state were on the boys side as junior Donya Marx finished one spot away from a podium finish. He made a leap of 6-3 to take ninth place, which was two inches lower than eighth place.
Junior Caleb Craft was the next Indian for the boys unable to place in the top eight as he finished 12th overall in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.81.
The next finish for Jackson was in the discus throw, where sophomore Connor Tollison took second to last place at 14th with a throw of 120-11.
Jackson’s conference, district and sectional championship 4×400 relay team took 15th overall with a time of 3:27.4. The team was made up by Brown, Craft, Marx and sophomore Daniel Dickerson.
This was also Coach Stoverink’s final high school meet as he has decided to retire after spending the last 12 seasons on Jackson’s staff. Replacing him next season will be Mike Gross, who has been a coach on the staff for 17 years.