Strong West Platte relay teams breaking records

A few weeks ago, the West Platte boys track team’s 1,600 relay team approached Bluejays coach Kyler Rushing with an intriguing proposition. “They wanted to try their hand at the 800 relay,” Rushing said. “Of course, I said OK — sounds like a great idea.” Rushing didn’t need much convincing. After all, the 1,600 relay team of junior Conner Salmons and seniors Colton Goodlet, Adam Roe and Dillon Crockett, had set a new school record early in the year and then subsequently broke their own record two more times. They have dominated the event at most of their meets this season and won it again at the KCI Conference track meet last Saturday at North Platte High School in Dearborn. So, the foursome ran the 800 relay for the first time at the Lawson Invitational April 28 – and won. Then they ran it for the second time ever at the KCI meet. Not only did the Jays win the event again, but their time of 1-minute, 33.25-seconds broke a West Platte record that had stood since 1989. “At the beginning of the year, we knew that the 4x400 was going to be good, but to see what they’ve done with the 4x200, running it just twice –—wow,” Rushing said. Crockett, who anchors both relays, said chemistry between all four runners has been key. “It’s amazing how far we’ve come this year,” he said. “We have such great chemistry and everybody wants to take that next step, that extra step.” Roe also pointed to a solid chemistry and understanding between the four runners on the two relays. “This has been a fun track year — the best so far,” said Roe, who also broke West Platte and KCI Conference records with a shot put throw of 57-feet, 2.5-inches last Saturday. “We all played basketball together and we have a good camaraderie.” While the two relays are run by the same runners, they have to adjust not only their pace, but the all-important baton handoffs. On the 800, runners keep their back turned and stick out their right hands. On the 1,600, runners turn halfway around and receive the baton with their left hands. “Handoffs are crucial,“ Goodlet said. “At Lawson we won with 1:35 even though we had three bad handoffs. Last week, we won with one bad handoff. We think with all good handoffs, we can shave even a few more seconds off the time.” Roe said the team’s goals are to break 1:30 in the 800 relay and 3:30 in the 1,600. “Those are pretty fast times, but we’re confident we’ve got it in us,” he said. West Platte will get that chance when it travels May 10 to the Class 2 District 8 meet at South Harrison High School in Bethany. The Jays also have high hopes to qualify a third relay for the May 17 sectional meet at Kearney — the 3,200 relay. West Platte won that event at the KCI meet, as well. Crockett, who ran the event for the first time this season, amazed his coach and teammates with a 2:04 time in the No. 2 slot. His effort vaulted the Jays past Lathrop at the midway point and 3-4 runners Bryce Yount and Jack Cogan held the lead. “I love running second and catching guys in front of me,” Crockett said. “The team wanted it and I’m just really happy I was able to come through.” In all, the Jays won six events at the KCI meet and took third place. In addition to the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relays, and Roes’ record-setting effort in the shot put, West Platte also got first place efforts from Roe in the discus and Salmons in the 400 meter dash. Crockett took second in the 400 and Nathan Wilson took second in the 3,200 run. West Platte’s girls were led by Paige Larison, who won both the shot put and discus. Her throw of 119-6 in the discus broker her own KCI record, which she set last season. “I’m excited to see what the next two weeks has in store for West Platte track,” Rushing said. “Already this year, three school records have been beaten, two conference records shattered, who knows what is next."