Time to raise the bar

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Jackson girls' sprint relay teams have dominated the area track and field scene this season.

Coming off wins in the 400- and 800-meter relays at the SEMO Conference Meet in Poplar Bluff last Friday, the Indians will try to continue their domination Saturday in the Class 4 District 1 meet takes place at Northwest High School.

"Saturday, we're going to have to face Lindbergh in both the sprint relays," Jackson coach Bob Sink said. "We have the top time in the 4x100, but we're second in the 4x200. That will be interesting. It's kind of good to see because if you are competitive it's going to make you run better."

Jackson sent both the 400 and 800 relay teams to the state meet last season with mostly the same lineups. Jackson this year uses freshman Rachel Kahle, sophomore Jenna Holten and juniors Melanie Essner and Rebecca Martin on both the 400 and 800 relay teams.

"They get along well, and it's important to them," Sink said. "One of the best things is we always seem to have good exchanges."

Many other area relay teams will be competing for sectional berths in the large school district meet: Central's 3,200 girls relay and its 800 and 1,600 boys relay teams also are coming off wins at the conference meet.

In the Class 3 District 1 meet hosted by Notre Dame at the Abe Stuber Track Complex, the Bulldogs' boys 3,200 relay team will be one to watch. The Bulldogs will have plenty of competition, including Potosi's defending state champion 3,200 relay team.

"Our distance runners can compete," Notre Dame coach Bill Davis said. "We've got the top seed in the 4x800. I figure it will be a real good tussle between about four teams."

The Class 3 District 1 meet starts at 11 a.m. Saturday and should feature tight team competition. The boys teams from Sikeston, Perryville and North County have been near the top of almost every meet entered this season. Sikeston won the SEMO Conference meet last week, while Perryville won the Jefferson County Conference title and North County won the MAAA Conference meet. All three teams should be in line to collect a large number of individual berths in the sectional meet next Saturday. The top four in each event qualify for sectionals.

"It's a real quality meet," Davis said. "The boys distance runners are unbelievable. We've got 22 entries in the mile and 16 have run sub-5-minute miles."

Other districts involving local schools include the Class 1 District 1 meet hosted by the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton and the Class 2 District 1 meet hosted by East Prairie.

Small schools will be attempting to qualify athletes for the state meet May 21 and 22 at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City. The top two individuals from each event qualify for the state meet.

Scott City senior Loren Groves heads the list of individuals to watch, as she attempts to defend her Class 2 state championships in the 100 hurdles and discus. Groves was all-state in 300 hurdles and shot put as well. Nathan Lewer of Kelly is the area's other returning state champion. He looks to repeat as the Class 2 high jump champion.

Class 1 District 1

at Missouri School for the Deaf (Fulton)

Date: Saturday, May 15

Teams: Advance, Chaffee, Chamois, Chesterfield Day, Crossroads, Eskridge, Mo. School for the Deaf, Moniteau County, Newburg, Oran, Prairie Home, Saxony Lutheran, St. Elizabeth, Viburnm, Wellsville

Class 2 District 1

at East Prairie

Date: Saturday, May 15

Teams: Arcadia Valley, Brentwood, Career Academy, Caruthersville, Charleston, Crystal City, East Prairie, Grandview, Hayti, Kelly, Malden, Maplewood-Richmond Hts., Portageville, Scott City, Valle Catholic

Class 3 District 1

at Abe Stuber Track Complex

Date: Saturday, May 15

Teams: New Madrid County Central, Park Hills Central, De Soto, Dexter, Festus, Fredericktown, Hillsboro, Kennett, North County, Notre Dame, Perryville, Potosi, Sikeston, St. Pius X, Ste. Genevieve

Class 4 District 1

at Northwest (House Springs) High School

Date: Saturday, May 15

Teams: Central, Cor Jesu Academy (Girls only), Farmington, Fox, Jackson, Lindbergh, Mehlville, Northwest (House Springs), Oakville, Poplar Bluff, Seckman, St. Mary's (Boys only)

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