Kelly's Backfisch rounds into form at district meet

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Scott City's Garett Schaefer hands off the baton to Ryan Smith during the boys 800 relay at Saturday's Class 2 District 1 meet at the Abe Stuber Complex at Southeast Missouri State University. The Rams finished second in the event. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

Londyn Backfisch said she isn't quite back to full strength after having major knee surgery about one year ago.

The Kelly senior looked plenty strong during Saturday's Class 2 District 1 track and field meet at Southeast Missouri State's Abe Stuber Complex.

Backfisch won the 200 meters and high jump while placing second in the 100 meters. The top four finishers in each event qualified for next Saturday's sectional meet at Principia in suburban St. Louis.

"I was happy with how I did today," Backfisch said.

Backfisch, among the area's premier all-around athletes, won the state 200 title as a sophomore while placing third in the 100. That came after she was the 400 runner-up as a freshman.

Kelly's Garrett Alsup competes in the high jump during Saturday's Class 2 District 1 track meet. (KRISTIN EBERTS ~ keberts@semissourian.com<B>)

But late during her junior basketball season, Backfisch suffered a torn ACL in her left knee. That wiped out her junior track and field campaign.

"I had surgery in May [of 2009]. It takes about a year to get it 100 percent," Backfisch said. "I just made it to a year. I don't think I'm 100 percent yet. Every day you have to progress."

Backfisch, who will play softball at Three Rivers Community College next year, said she continues to work on getting to 100 percent.

"I push hard ... 56 therapy visits ... I keep track," Backfisch said with a smile.

Backfisch started her big day by winning the high jump with a personal-best 5 feet 2 inches.

Saxony Lutheran's Cassie Simpher competes in the girls 400 meter dash during the Class 2 District 1 track meet at the Abe Stuber Track and Field Complex at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Saturday, May 8, 2010. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

"I was really happy with that," she said.

Backfisch then finished second in the 100 with a time of 12.56 seconds and beat out Scott City senior standout Stephanie Essner in the 200 in 26.11 seconds.

Backfisch, who elected not to participate in the 400 on Saturday despite having one of the field's fastest times, is hopeful she can finish her high school career with another state championship.

Even if that doesn't happen, she'll be satisfied.

"I'm hoping I can do it, but I'm happy with where I'm at," Backfisch said. "Just being out here is a blessing."

Scott City's Stephanie Essner runs in the 400 during Saturday's Class 2 District 1 meet.

Even though Essner finished as runner-up to Backfisch in the 200, that didn't detract from her big day as she qualified for sectionals in four events.

Essner, like Backfisch among the area's top all-around athletes, won the 400 in 1:01.60.

Essner led Scott City's 800 relay team to first place and the 1,600 relay to second place.

"It went really well. The weather was great. That helped," said Essner, the two-time defending state 400 champion who will compete next year for Southeast.

Essner, also third in the state 200 last year, believes she is on track for another strong showing at the state meet.

Backfisch (Londyn)

"My coaches are saying the next two weeks will be crucial," she said.

Essner was particularly pleased that the 800 relay -- also consisting of Erika Medlin, Miranda Brashear and Heather Keesee -- broke the school record for the second time this year. The group clocked 1:49.58.

"We were pretty excited about that," Essner said.

Essner also was excited about Backfisch's big day.

"We compete against each other in basketball," Essner said. "I don't know if she's 100 percent, but she looks good out there. I'm just happy for her."

Scott City junior Melanie Lacey had an impressive day as she won the 3,200 and finished second in the 1,600. She is a returning state qualifier in the 1,600.

Saxony Lutheran sophomore Nicole Hemmann was a double individual sectional qualifier, placing third in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.

Scott City freshman Myriah Bernard also was a double individual sectional qualifier, finishing third in the discus and fourth in the shot put.

Saxony coach Larry Cleair felt bad for standout senior Cassie Simpher, who was fourth in the state 400 last year and captured the Class 1 state title as a freshman.

Simpher, boasting the second-fastest 400 time in the district field entering the meet, finished sixth after placing fifth in the 200. She only recently returned to the track after a bout with mononucleosis.

"I would have liked to see her healthy," Cleair said. "She had four weeks where she couldn't run a step. She just got cleared by the doctor."

The lone area champion on the boys side was Scott City sophomore Brandon Shemonia, who captured the 3,200 and was second in the 1,600.

"I felt great. Awesome," Shemonia said after he won the 3,200 by more than 15 seconds, finishing in 9:56.75.

Shemonia just missed out on a sectional berth as a freshman, placing fifth in the district 3,200. But he has much bigger goals this year.

"I'm hoping to win state," he said. "I have the second-best time in the state. Today wasn't my PR."

Scott City junior Garett Schaefer qualified for sectionals in two individual events and two relays. He was third in both the 100 and 200 while running on the runner-up 800 relay and the third-place 400 relay.

Scott City junior Alex Eichhorn qualified in the shot put (second), triple jump (fourth) and on the 400 relay. He was eighth in the shot put at last year's state meet.

Kelly senior Cody Kern, another returning state placer, was second in the 800. He finished eighth in the 3,200 at the 2009 state meet.

Defending state champion Maplewood repeated as district team champ on the boys side, while Valle Catholic captured the girls crown.

Scott City had a strong overall showing.

The Rams were third in the 16-team girls division and fourth in the 15-team boys division.

"That's the best we've done since I've been here and I've been here a while," Scott City coach Travis Schiwitz said.

Class 2 District 1

Boys

Team totals -- 1. Maplewood 166; 2. Principia 123; 3. Valle Catholic 96; 4. Scott City 75; 5. Charleston 49; 6. Malden 56; 7. Crystal City 39; 8. Hayti 26; 9. Saxony Lutheran 23; 10. Arcadia Valley 21; 11. Kelly 15; 12. Brentwood 11; 13. East Prairie 7; 14. Grandview 4; 15. Caruthersville 2

Winners/area sectional qualifiers

100 meters -- 1. Vick Beckton (Maplewood) 11.16; 3. Garett Schaefer (Scott City) 22.70

200 -- 1. Marcus Taylor (Maplewood) 22.16; 3. Schaefer (Scott City) 22.66

400 -- 1. Eric Liska (Maplewood) 50.55

800 -- 1. Austin Holmsley (Principia) 1:58.85; 2. Cody Kern (Kelly) 2:04.37

1,600 -- 1. Aean McMullin (Principia) 4:31.04; 2. Brandon Shemonia (Scott City) 4:35.81

3,200 -- 1. Shemonia (Scott City) 9:56.75

110 hurdles -- 1. Ryan Jurkowski (Crystal City) 16.27; 2. Jeremy Engelhart (Saxony Lutheran) 16.60

300 hurdles -- 1. Nick Coulter (Maplewood) 41.41

400 relay -- 1. Maplewood 43.56; 3. Scott City (Brandon DeProw, Alex Eichhorn, Schaefer, Ethan Woods) 45.13

800 relay -- 1. Maplewood 1:29.27; 2. Scott City (DeProw, Schaefer, Ryan Smith, Woods) 1:34.37

1,600 relay -- 1. Maplewood 3:24.27; 3. Saxony Lutheran (Mark Buerck, Joe Buerck, Rhett Obermann, Trevor Mabuce) 3:34.10

3,200 relay -- 1. Principia 8:21.74; 3. Saxony Lutheran (Mark Buerck, Joe Buerck, Brandon Fritsche, Rhett Obermann) 8:28.36

High jump -- 1. Coulter (Maplewood) 6-2

Pole vault -- 1. Tim Gilman (Principia) 13-6

Long jump -- 1. Deonte Jones (Charleston) 20-6 1/2

Triple jump -- 1. Jones (Charleston) 42-9; 4. Eichhorn (Scott City) 40-3

Shot put -- 1. Bryan Kertz (Valle Catholic) 48-11 1/2; 2. Eichhorn (Scott City) 46-9

Discus -- 1. Kertz (Valle Catholic) 148-0


Girls

Team totals -- 1. Valle Catholic 130; 2. Principia 112; 3. Scott City 83; 4. Crystal City 61; 5. St. Pius 40; 6. Kelly 36; 7. Malden 34; 8. Hayti 33; 9. (tie) East Prairie 28, Saxony Lutheran 28; 11. Arcadia Valley 22; 12. Grandview 21; 13. (tie) Brentwood 19, Maplewood 19; 15. Charleston 13; 16. Caruthersville 5

Winners/area sectional qualifiers

100 meters -- 1. Latrilla McCoy (Malden) 12.56; 2. Londyn Backfisch (Kelly) 12.65

200 -- 1. Backfisch (Kelly) 26.11; 2. Stephanie Essner (Scott City) 26.61

400 -- 1. Essner (Scott City) 1:01.60

800 -- 1. Saga Barzowski (Arcadia Valley) 2:23.13

1,600 -- 1. Saga Barzowski (Arcadia Valley) 5:14.17; 2. Melanie Lacey (Scott City) 5:40.19

3,200 -- 1. Lacey (Scott City) 12:14.37

110 hurdles -- 1. Marteshia Cooper (Hayti) 16.72; 3. Nicole Hemmann (Saxony Lutheran) 17.14

300 hurdles -- 1. Amanda Kilgore (Crystal City) 52.11; 3. Miranda Brashear (Scott City) 53.39; 4. Hemmann (Saxony Lutheran) 53.59

400 relay -- 1. Malden 52.67; 3. Scott City (Katie Rhymer, Brashear, Heather Keesee, Erika Medlin) 54.46

800 relay -- 1. Scott City (Medlin, Brashear, Keesee, Essner) 1:49.58

1,600 relay -- 1. Principia 4:13.79; 2. Scott City (Brashear, Keesee, Medlin, Essner) 4:17.23

3,200 relay -- 1. Principia 10:36.47; 3. Saxony Lutheran (Rachel Gruenewald, Lucy Gage, Claire Skelton, Allyson Bock) 10:51.68

High jump -- 1. Backfisch (Kelly) 5-2

Pole vault -- 1. Liz Gilman (Principia) 9-6

Long jump -- 1. Amelia Held (St. Pius) 16-11

Triple jump -- 1. McCoy (Malden) 36-4

Shot put -- 1. Hannah Kuenzel (Valle Catholic) 38-7; 4. Myriah Bernard (Scott City) 31-8 1/2

Discus -- 1. Jennifer Nicholson (East Prairie) 137-5; 3. Bernard (Scott City) 104-4

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