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Crusaders seek fourth consecutive state title in relay
The Saxony Lutheran boys track team settled for a third-place finish in the Class 1 District 1 meet two weeks ago. The Crusaders may fare better than that this weekend at the state meet in Jefferson City.
The event begins at noon today at Lincoln University with the 3,200-meter relay, which the Crusaders will be trying to win for the fourth consecutive year. The foursome of Andrew Etzold, Joe Buerck, Ross Gage and Max Wieser won the event last year and had the fastest time of the four sectional winners last weekend.
For Wieser, it would be a fourth straight state championship as a member of the relay team.
"It has to be a pretty unusual thing for an athlete to be a state champion in the same race four years in a row," Saxony Lutheran coach Larry Cleair said.
Wieser was hoping for another rare athletic feat this week, but the postponement of Thursday's Class 1 District 3 championship baseball game — rescheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at Valle — will keep him from playing a role in that title quest.
"I wish there was a way he could do both, but my Leer jet is in the shop," Cleair said. "It's tough. Baseball needs him, but the state trumps the district."
Wieser has two preliminaries later in the day and will be a key player Saturday if the Crusaders are to make a bid for that elusive team track title.
As a team, Saxony has finished fifth, second and second the past three years. They were outpointed by Polo 88-70 last year in the highest-scoring state showdown since Rock Port (107) and Rich Hill (82) in 1996.
"I think there were Saxony and Polo kids in all but maybe one race on the track last year," Cleair said. "I don't think it's going to take the number of points it took last year. I think we've got a better than even chance to reach the top four and hopefully do better than that.
"I told all of our boys and girls we've got a real good chance of being top eight, all-state, in every event we go in."
Saxony's 1,600 relay unit also is a title threat, as is Gage in the 800 and 1,600. Wieser will run the 400 along with Etzold (the top seed is Scott County Central's D.D. Gillespie). Wieser will run the 800 as well Saturday.
"Max will only have 40 minutes between the 400 and the start of the 800," Cleair said. "It's tough to come back from a sprint and run an 800 race.
"We should be better in the state than we were in the district. I'm confident we can score points."
Saxony Lutheran — Andrew Etzold (400), Ross Gage (800, 1,600), Max Wieser (400, 800), 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay.
Scott County Central — Jarron Banks (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), D.D. Gillespie (200, 400), 800-meter relay.
Oran — Haley Glastetter (100, 200, 400, 100 hurdles).
Saxony Lutheran — Lucy Gage (1,600), Cassie Simpher (100, 200, 400), 1,600 relay.
Chaffee — Gage Harrell (300 hurdles), Trenton Horman (high jump), Daniel Lawson (shot put), Walker Rice (shot put).
Scott City — Craig Arnzen (high jump).
Kelly — Londyn Backfisch (high jump, 100, 200), Tara Johnson (1,600, 3.200).
Scott City — Stephanie Essner (200, 400, 100 hurdles), Libby Miles (1,600), 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay.