West Platte sends strong contingent to state track meet

West Platte’s track teams will send eight athletes to compete in six events at the Class 2 state track meet May 23-24 in Jefferson City. But the Jays could have — maybe should have — qualified to compete in a seventh event. In the Class 2 sectional meet last Saturday at Kearney High School, senior Paige Larison, who dominated in the discus and shot put throws at several meets this year, won the discus, but failed to finish in the top four and qualify for state in the shot. Jays coach Kyler Rushing said Larison was a victim of an incorrect measurement. “Paige was struggling in the shot put and on her final throw threw a season best,” Rushing said. “However, the person measuring didn’t mark the throw correctly and when confronted the head judge could only allow her to take a re-throw. On the re-throw, Paige didn’t throw what she needed to make the top four. I hate that it had to come down to a technicality because she threw far enough to qualify for state. Nobody works as hard as Paige and she deserved it.” Rushing said Larison was “visibly upset” after the shot put competition, but regrouped and won the discus competition later with a throw of 118-feet, 1-inch, more than 19 feet better than the second-place distance. “Everybody from West Platte that was there couldn’t have been more proud of what she accomplished right after being at the low of lows,” Rushing said. West Platte’s boys had a solid district showing, winning three events and taking second in two others en route to a fourth-place team finish. Senior Adam Roe, who missed last year’s track season due to a knee injury he suffered in basketball, qualified for the state meet in four events — he won the shot put, 50-8.5, took second place in the discus, 145-2, and ran legs in the Jays’ winning 800 and 1,600 relay teams. Other runners on those two relays were Colton Goodlet, Conner Salmons and Dillon Crockett and the group set a new school record in the 1,600 relay with a time of 3-minutes, 30.16, which Rushing said is the third fastest Class 2 time in the state so far this year. “The goal all year for these guys has been to break the 3:30 barrier and even though they won they were upset they were so close to reaching their goal,” Rushing said. “I have no doubt in my mind that they will on the biggest stage of the year. These guys are ready for the highest level of competition. We have a strong team and my goal as a coach is to bring home a top-4 trophy.” Colton Goodlet qualified in the shot put with a fourth-place finish and the 3,200 relay team of Nathan Wilson, Bryce Yount, Crockett, and Jack Cogan took second place.