For the first time in program history this weekend in Jefferson City, the Saxony Lutheran girls track and field team placed in the top four at the state meet to bring home a plaque. The Crusaders did so by placing in the top eight of seven events as they won one and were the runner-ups in three more.
This earned Saxony a team score of 42 as North Platte captured the Class 2 State Championship after scoring 71 points. North Platte won four events, which were the 100 and 200-meter dashes, and the 4×100 and 4×200-meter relays.
“I think a lot of our success can be attributed to last year, where we got a taste for state,” Saxony head coach Max Wieser said. “We were coming off the COVID year and had a pretty good season last year.
“All four of our seniors ended on a good note and had great effort. Anna [Thomason] and Isabella [Deckerd] were able to say focused throughout the whole weekend — they both had multiple good performances on both days.”
Coming away with an individual state champion for Saxony was none other than senior Anna Thomason, who won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.25 seconds. The Southeast Missouri State signee finished the race .34 seconds ahead of anyone else and was also the runner-up in high jump (five feet, one and a quarter inches) and triple jump (36-7.25).
At state last season, Thomason finished second overall in high jump while helping the 4×100-meter relay team take eighth place. Anna also qualified for last year’s state meet in the 200-meter dash and triple jump, but a nagging leg injury kept her from placing outside of the top eight, Coach Wieser said.
“Winning a state title in hurdles when we first looked at Anna to compete in them was not expected,” Wieser said. “After the race was over and as soon as she crossed the finish line, you could see a smile on her face when she went over her last hurdle.
“She knew where she was, but as soon as she crossed the line, both hands went to her face because she was overwhelmed. She was super nervous leading up to state and was saying, ‘I don’t know if I can do it.’ When the competition came, she really stepped up.
“To actually see your name with a No. 1 by it and know that you’re the No. 1 athlete in that event after all the work you put in — you could see it across her face when she crossed the finish line.”
Anna was only one inch behind both the high jump and long jump state champions, who were Marceline senior Ramzee Bruner (5-2.25) and East Buchanan senior Emma Klein (36-8.25), respectively.
Thomason was also a member of the Crusaders second-place 4×100 team, which crossed the finish line at the 51.47-second mark. On the relay team with Thomason were fellow seniors Isabella Deckerd, Bianca Scholl and Ava Brown.
North Platte recorded a time of 50.86 to finish .61 seconds ahead of Saxony and win the 4×100. Leading North Platte was junior Olivia Rogers, who won the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Much like Thomason, Deckerd also earned all-state in three events. Isabella did so by taking sixth place in the 100-meter dash (12.94) and long jump (17-0), and seventh in the 200 (26.83).
“She became very solid this year, and she was on the 4×100 last year and played a huge role in that team being all-state,” Coach Wieser said. “She just put in a ton of work and was really focused — she had the goal of, ‘I want to get to state in individual races.’
“She ended up doing it in as many races as she possibly could and was all-state in all of them. … Isabella is a really lighthearted, easy to talk to happy person, but she really gets her game face on whenever she’s running. I don’t think there’s anyone that if they start up even with her in the anchor leg of a 4×100 that can beat her.”