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Track and Field

Jackson boys and girls track teams send a combined 13 to state meet

The Jackson girls 4x800-meter relay team poses after winning the Class 5 Sectional 1 race with a time of nine minutes, 41.36 seconds. Pictured from left to right: Senior Maite Mendez, senior Brooklyn Burgess, senior Layla Fliege and junior Mallorie Metzger. Submitted photo

In the Class 5 Sectional 1 Meet last week, the Jackson track and field program had a total of 13 athletes combined from its boys and girls teams qualify for this year’s state meet.

Out of the two, the Indians boys team placed the highest overall at sectionals coming in at third with 60 team points. Jackson did so by winning three events and placing in the top four of three more for eight Indians to punch their ticket to Jefferson City.

However, Jackson’s girls team actually scored more points than the boys but placed fourth overall with a team score of 68. These Indians won two events and qualified for state in six more.

The “workhorse” for the Jackson girls was none other than future Southeast Missouri State Redhawk senior Layla Fliege, who is going to compete in four distance races at the Class 5 State Meet. Individually, Fliege was the runner-up in the 1600-meter run (five minutes, 14.89 seconds), third in the 800 (2:18) and fourth in the 3200 (11:50.42).

On top of that, Fliege helped the 4×800-meter relay team win the sectional race by posting a finish of 9:41.36, which was nearly eight seconds ahead of runner-up Kirkwood. Joining Fliege on the Indians first-place 4×800 team are fellow seniors Brooklyn Burgess and Maite Mendez, along with junior Mallorie Metzger.

Fliege has now qualified for the state meet a total of eight times throughout her career as an Indian, and she didn’t have a sophomore campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic canceling the 2020 spring season.

Fliege qualified for last year’s state meet as a member of the 4×800 team with Burgess and Metzger, while she also reached state individually in the 800 and 1600. As a freshman, Fliege helped the 4×800 team take third place with former Indians Kennedy Bauer (currently runs at the University of Missouri – Kansas City), Kaylee Wilson and Ashlyn Prince to earn a spot on the all-state podium.

The second and final sectional champion among Jackson’s girls team was junior Lillian Gibbs, who took first in the discus throw with a heave of 109 feet, nine and three quarter inches. Gibbs will also compete at state in the javelin throw after taking second in sectionals at 115-0.25, and taking third behind her in the event was freshman Kimmora Carothers (109-5).

The seventh and final member of the Indians girls team to reach state was sophomore Felicity Pingkian as she took fourth overall in pole vault at 9-5.75.

All of the Jackson boys team’s wins came in the field portion as junior Braeden Cain, senior Nolan Chrusciel and junior Tony Terry took first in their respective events. They were each first-time sectional champions as Cain won pole vault with a mark of 13-11.25, Chrusciel discus with a throw of 154-8 and Terry shot put at 55-2.25.

Terry finished as the runner-up in the sectional shot put event last season with a mark of 49-1. He was one spot shy of earning all-state honors in shot put at last year’s Class 5 State Meet by placing ninth.

Also qualifying for state in pole vault was Jackson senior Collin Havill, who actually won last year’s sectional championship in the event. Havill recorded the same mark as Cain with a vault of 13-11.25 to finish second. The pole vaulter in third place behind Cain and Havill finished nearly six inches lower than them at 13-5.5.

Havill was one of the two Indians to earn Class 5 All-State honors last spring after finishing second place in pole vault at 14-6.

The final two events the Indians boys team qualified for state in were the 1600 and 4×800, which both featured sophomore Bryce Gentry. Gentry took fourth overall individually by posting a time of 4:28.68 for the 1600.

Jackson’s 4×800 team with Gentry finished in third place at 8:06.36, which also included juniors Cole Puls and Cade McCadams, and sophomore Zach Brazel. Brazel, Gentry and Puls were on last year’s 4×800 state-qualifying team.

The Class 5 State Meet was held this past weekend in Jefferson City. Look for all of the results in next week’s issue!

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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