St. Paul track teams dominate at districts
The St. Paul track and field team made short work of its Special District 1 rivals last week, picking up team victories for both the boys and girls and taking home a number of individual district titles. The Bucks were champions in a variety of events, showcasing their prowess before state competition begins later this week.
For the boys, junior Gianni Grasso picked up a trio of victories in the district meet. Grasso won the 100 with a time of 11.56 seconds, the 200 in 23.17 seconds and the 400 in 51.69 seconds – a personal record. His dominance began a productive stretch of competition for the male runners, who saw a pair of strong performances in the relays as well.
A team of Grasso, Adam Cook, Jaden Thompson and Francisco Vargas-Ayala won the 4 x 100 with a blistering 45.64-second run. A quartet of Vargas-Ayala, Thompson, Wyatt Bean and Broden Lear placed second in the 4 x 400, running it in 3:47.37.
The lone highlight from the boys' throwing events was junior Nick Burns placing fourth in the shot put, hurling it 34 feet seven inches for a personal record.
St. Paul's girls team was strong across the board and showcased the kind of competitive greatness that Buckaroo fans have come to expect from the female athletes at the school. Senior Rachel Vela started things off with a second-place finish in the 100, posting a time of 13.25 seconds, just 0.02 seconds behind the winner from Damascus Christian.
Senior Sadie Smith finished second in the 200 with a time of 27.73 seconds – a personal record. Vela and Smith finished first and third, respectively, in the 400, running it in 1:01.48 and 1:03.57. Both of their times in the 400 were personal records as well.
Senior Emma Connor placed third in the 800 with a time of 2:41.96, which was also a personal best time. She followed that up with a victory in the 3,000 – a 12:14.99 time that beat her nearest competitor by almost 20 seconds.
The girls won both relays with impressive times as well. In the 4 x 100, a team of Vela, Smith, Isabelle Wyss and Taysha Veeman won in 51.66 seconds. In the 4 x 400, the same four girls won in 4:18.24.
Veeman finished fourth in the discus with a toss of 89-03 – a personal record – and sophomore Alex Hernandez placed fourth in the shot put by heaving it 26-10.25.
To maintain an incredible afternoon for the team at districts, junior Stephanie Morales set a school record in her fourth-place high jump, topping 4-08. Valeria Vargas-Ayala finished fourth in the pole vault at 6-09 – a personal record.
Finally, as icing on the cake for a talented group of athletes, Wyss finished second in both the long and triple jumps. In the long jump, she set a personal record at 16-05. She went a step further with a school record in the triple jump at 34-09.
St. Paul won the boys' side of the district meet with 88 points, ahead of second-place C.S. Lewis Academy (64). The girls won with 119 points, beating out Southwest Christian (104) and Damascus Christian (94). State competition looms for athletes on both squads.
C.S. Lewis Academy
The Watchmen boys' track squad had multiple qualifiers for state en route to a second-place finish at districts, while the girls program continued to show improvement as the season came to a close.
Senior Jacob McClatchey shined in the 110 and 300 hurdles, winning both events with personal record times. McClatchey won the 110 hurdles in 16.14 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 42.16.
McClatchey joined Trevor Ambrose, Ben Swan and Jon Schenk in the 4 x 100, in which the Watchmen finished fifth with a time of 48.31 seconds.
Senior Micah Grobey flexed his muscle in the throwing events, finishing second in the shot put (38-10.5, PR) and fifth in the discus (106-05). Junior teammate Braylon Russ finished second in the javelin with a toss of 131 feet, rounding out strong second-place performance for the boys as a team.
The girls had few competitors and none of them qualified for state. Sophomore Jamie Wooding achieved a personal record in the shot put, though, finishing seventh after tossing it 25-09. Sophomore twins Kyra and Teya Longstroth competed in the sprints but didn't advance past the prelims.
The Longstroth twins, Wooding and others make up a young girls squad that will return nearly all of its athletes next season, while likely adding more into the fold. C.S. Lewis finished 14th out of 15 girls teams at districts with four team points.
The Vanguard had three state-bound performances at districts: Junior Cam McChesney in the 1500 and 3000 on the boys' side, and freshman Breanna Schmitt in the 1500 for the girls. The team had 26 personal records and made its presence felt in just its second year of existence.
McChesney finished second in the 1500 with a time of 4:14.62. He won the 3000 in 9:19.38, besting the second-place competitor by less than half a second.
Schmitt ran well in the 1500 and set a personal record, placing second in 12:34.4. It was the continuation of an impressive year for the youngster in just her first season of high school competition.