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Track and Field

Jackson track and field’s Mason Turley lone Indian to earn all-state

Jackson track and field junior Mason Turley, right, took eighth place in the Class 5 Pole Vault event to take home all-state honors. Submitted photo

Over Memorial Day Weekend in Jefferson City, several athletes from the Jackson track and field team competed in the annual Class 5 State Meet, where only one of them came away with a podium finish.

This was on the boys side as junior Mason Turley took eighth place in pole vault to earn an all-state medal for the first time in his career. Turley did so with a vault of 14 feet, zero inches, which was actually tied for eighth with Eureka senior Carter Lagenbacher.

Winning the state championship in pole vault was Rock Bridge senior Mpawenayo Danford by producing a mark of 15-5. Lee’s Summit senior Adam Wooldridge also had a vault above 15 feet at 15-2.25 for second place.

This was Turley’s second-straight trip to state as he qualified for a sophomore, as other returning state qualifiers for the Indians included senior Bryce Gentry and sophomore Brooklyn Williams.

Even though neither of them earned all-state like Turley did, Gentry was still able to break a school record in the 1600-meter run. Gentry did so with a time of four minutes, 15.82 seconds that placed him 11th overall.

Winning the race was Rockhurst junior Henry Acorn, who finished with a time of 4:06.31. The eighth-place medalist and cutoff for all-state was Liberty junior Ayden Taylor at 4:12.83.

“We are proud of how our athletes competed in tough Class 5 state competition,” Jackson head coach Mike Gross said. “Many events take our school record just to get here and some events when you break the school record it’s still not be in the top eight to be all-state.

“I’m proud of Bryce Gentry and how he was able to finish out a great career here at Jackson. His last race was a school record — there aren’t many athletes that can say that. He is the only senior that competed here today, so we have a bright future, and I know our athletes will work hard to get back next year.

“We had several first-time athletes at the state meet this year. This was a great learning experience for them. Our returning athletes Brooklyn, Bryce and Mason all improved on their previous state performances from a year ago.”

Like Gentry, Williams also took 11th in her respective event as she recorded a leap of 17-2.75 in long jump. Blue Springs junior Jasmine Ross took home the state title by recording a jump of 20-3.5.

Outside of these three returning state qualifiers for the Indians, Jackson had four other top-10 finishers outside of Turley. These performances were all on the track as sophomore Barrett Reagan took ninth in the 400-meter dash and helped the 4×400-meter relay team take ninth.

Reagan posted a time of 48.82 in the 400 as Rockhurst senior Leo Faulkner won the state championship with a 47.59 finish. Jackson’s boys 4×400 team recorded a time of 3:22.47, which included Reagan, Gentry, junior Blake Cain and freshman Blayne Reagan.

Gentry also ran in the 3200-meter run as he posted his best finish of the weekend even though he didn’t break a school record by taking 10th in the race. He did so with a time of 9:35.4 as eighth place was 9:19.92 with Kirkwood senior Levi Rowan winning the 3200 state title at 9:09.35.

Blayne Reagan also competed in the 400 with Barrett as he took 11th overall, crossing the finish line at 48.94 in preliminaries.
The fourth top-10 finish over the weekend for the Indians was by junior Annika Barks, who did so in the 1600 race opposite of Gentry’s. She placed two spots shy of earning all-state honors herself with a time of 5:09.48.

Winning the 1600 state championship in the girls race was Lafayette senior Natalie Barnard at 4:49.4, while St. Teresa’s senior Gracie Jacobs recorded the eighth-best time of 5:03.45.

The other remaining state qualifiers for Jackson were all on the field as sophomore Brysen Wessell took 13th place in the discus throw with a heave of 143-04. Six seniors finished ahead of Wessell in the event as Nixa sophomore Jackson Cantwell won at 203-03.

Both of Jackson’s varsity shot putters also made state as junior Emerson Gross placed 15th overall with a throw of 31-0 for the girls team. As a freshman, Gavin Shinn qualified for state for the boys team in shot put, but he failed to place by fouling out on each of his tries.

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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