The high school track and field season is just underway, but some of Springfield’s returning state qualifiers appear poised to go back to the championship meet.
Parkview High School hosted the All-City warm-up meet Thursday afternoon at John F. Kennedy Stadium. Many athletes ran their best events and showed promise for the future.
Kickapoo sophomore Maverick McGee ran the 110-meter hurdles in 15.6 seconds, just a tenth off his seeded time at the 2014 state championships. For coach Jeremy Goddard, it’s like McGee didn’t lose a step in the offseason.
“Mav is way faster, he’s stronger, he just looks better,” Goddard said. “He wasn’t very clean through his hurdle run — first time he’s gone through all 10 this year. He finished and said he’ll break 15, so that’s the goal is to break 15 seconds and that will get him to state, I think.”
Central does boast some serious sprinters. Junior Jaslyn Williams placed fifth in the 100-meter dash at the 2014 state championships with a time of 12.38 seconds. She will try to run in less than 12 seconds to contend for a state championship this spring.
Williams also took fifth place in the state meet in the 200-meter dash, her finals time of 25.14 was just more than one second off the winning pace.
On the boys side, seniors Deon Hodges and Lyndon Heard hope to contend in multiple events.
“They’re really putting the work in,” Bulldogs boys coach Lorenzo Williams said. “They’ve been working really hard the last month and a half getting ready for track season.”
Heard and Central freshman Quintin Batson ran a dead heat in the 100-meter dash, with Heard edging Batson by leaning forward at the line.
The Parkview Vikings also appear strong in the short races. Dave Hundley, junior sprinter, ran on an 800-meter relay team that placed eighth at the 2014 state championships. Hundley was the only underclassman on a team that featured a trio of seniors.
Hundley and Bernard McCann will lead Parkview’s relay teams for coach Jay Miller.
“In terms of Dave and Bernard, yes, they want to be state qualifiers, it’s just a matter of which events are we aiming for to get them in in individual events,” Miller said.
Miller believes both Hundley and McCann are at their best in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and McCann also competes in the long jump.
Hillcrest’s Loguen Lewis stole the show from Central and Parkview in the 400-meter dash. With the Missouri State High School Activities Association expanding track and field from four classes to five, Lewis looks to be a contender for the now Class 4 Hornets, as shown by his win over opponents from Springfield’s newly-minted Class 5 teams.
Kickapoo dominated distance races at the All-City meet. Junior Allison Bailey returns to the middle distance races after finishing in all-state status in the 400 and 800-meter races in 2014.
“Allison is kind of a stud quarter-miler, half-miler, but we ran her in the mile today to kind of see what she’d come back with,” Goddard said. “She could be whatever I wanted her to be; she could probably get close in the 200.”
Bailey ran the mile in 5:24 at the All-City, but Goddard says he’s hesitant to push Bailey in the mile in districts, sectionals and state because of the amount of energy the race takes from its runners.
Jade Raynor looks to be Kickapoo’s top contender for the mile following a 10th place finish at state last spring.
Kickapoo boasts a pack of boys distance runners led by Nathan Hall, who cruised to win the 3,200 meters Tuesday.
JFK Stadium hosts a pair of larger track meets next week with Girls Nite Out Thursday, April 9 at 3:30 p.m. and the Hillcrest Invitational, a boys only meet Friday, April 10 at 4 p.m.