Shelley Laures finished her final attempt at a record, brushed off any potential disappointment, changed her shoes and headed to the track. The Platte County senior waited for the baton and took the Pirates’ 4x400-meter relay team from a fight for fifth place to a third-place showing.
Kearney held off Platte County and Laures’ charge by 0.10 of a second in the final event of the Platte County Invitational on Wednesday, April 29 at Pirate Stadium. Only then could Laures reflect on a memorable final home meet.
Platte County didn’t record a win, but Laures came the closest.
In what turned into an elite head-to-head showdown, St. Joseph Central senior Megan Kneib and Laures both cleared 5 feet, 6 inches in the high jump competition to set personal bests. Laures tied the school record of current Northwest Missouri State trackster Selina Kendall, clearing the height on her third and final try.
Kneib ended up winning the competition on a tiebreaker after both failed on all three attempts at 5-8. She cleared 5-6 on her first try, jumping in competition for just the second time this season.
That left Laures with a piece of the school record and a lot of confidence for the stretch run of a season that started with a troublesome leg injury. A Missouri State Track and Field Championships qualifier in the high jump and long jump in 2014, she set lofty goals for this season and ended up knocked off course with a late start.
Laures had only cleared 5-4 in competition one other time and admittedly tends to struggle at times to go 5-2 without a miss or two.
“I was really excited to get 5-6 because I had no idea I would get that today,” said Laures, who also placed fourth in the long jump at 16-4¼. “I thought about it afterward, and I was kind of like, ‘Dangit.’ It’s more like an, ‘Aw, darn. (I didn’t win),’ but I’m still glad I got it.”
Platte County scored 77 points to finish fourth out of 10 teams on the girls side.
Amanda Sullivan, a sophomore, set a personal record in the 400 at 1 minute, 1.48 seconds and placed second, unable to hold off Winnetonka’s Sabrina Monsees late. A freshman, Rebekah Geddes used a blistering final lap to come in second in the 1,600 at 5:33.14, passing Kearney’s Anne Wood late but unable to reel in Kearney’s Olivia Franklin, who won in 5:26.37.
Erin Straubel placed second in the 3,200 for the Pirates, while Hilary Mathurin was fourth in the 100 in a personal best 13.59.
Platte County’s boys recorded a trio of runner-up finishes and scored 92 1/3 points, good enough for third and well ahead of fourth-place Oak Park. The Pirates competed in the Suburban Conference Blue Division meet on Tuesday, May 5, but results of the last meet before the start of postseason were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
“Hosting a meet is always tough because all of our coaches are so busy working that we don’t really get to see how our kids are doing,” Platte County coach Gabe Middleton said after the home meet. “We definitely had some ups and downs. We had some good performances and had other areas we need to improve in fast.”
Platte County sophomore Mac Leet also set a personal best in the high jump but ended up third after clearing 6-4 for the first time. He continued to prove a point to himself on his abilities, while also showing a few of his respected elders what the future could hold.
After struggling with form early in the competition, Leet survived to the final three competitors, while also topping teammate Aliek Reed for the second time. He now sets his sights on the school record Kevin Schultz set in 2014 as a senior (6-7) and told Leet he couldn’t come close to this season.
“Before, the season goal was just 6-4. Now? I might even try to break the school record if I can,” said Leet, who also set a PR in the long jump by about 2 feet at 19 -6 — good enough for ninth but nearly a foot behind senior teammate Aaron Brown’s third-place jump of 20-5¾.
Brown also featured in a highly competitive 400 race, placing fifth in 52.09 while Reed was third at 51.11. Reed also anchored the second-place 4x200 team that also included Devin Perry, Lloyd Lockett and Brown to a runner-up finish in 1:31.48, just about a second slower than team champion Liberty North’s quartet with the best time in the state this season.
Nathan Straubel, Platte County’s senior distance specialist, grabbed a pair of second-place showings.
In the 1,600, he went out fast and led Kearney’s Clayton Adams by a tight margin after each of the first two laps. Adams made his move on the third and went to the front, then extended that margin in the final 400 to finish in 4:25.70. Straubel crossed the line in 4:34.02.
Warrensburg’s Trent Classen won the 3,200 with Straubel in second at 9:37.90 and Platte County’s Nolan Orf in fourth.
Platte County’s Payton Sheehan claimed a third place in the pole vault at 10-6, beating teammate Jake Tomlinson on a tiebreaker. David Fulk was fourth in the 800 in a personal best 2:03.77.
Park Hill Invitational
Mitch Henderson won the 800 and high jump and ran on the victorious 4x400 team for Park Hill South on Thursday, May 30. Tanner Alderson, Darrien Case and Nylo Clark were also on the relay. Case ran in the 400 and placed second in 51.11, taking a break from his normal long-distance events.
Park Hill South scored 66 points and finished a distant second to Blue Springs South in the six-team meet.
Seth Hudson won the triple jump at 42-4 for Park Hill South’s only other victory. Henderson cleared 6-2 in the high jump and ran 1:58.73 in the 800, beating Park Hill’s Kyle Pudenz by about ¾ of a second for the win.
Pudenz teamed with Hanok Tekle, Noah Barajas and Christian Fisher to win the 4x800 (8:13.07) while Enock Koudou was the lone individual champion for the Trojans, who placed fourth with 48 points. Koudou ran 10.93 in the 100 to beat a quartet of runners from Blue Springs South.
On the girls side, Park Hill South finished fourth with 47 points. Jordan Hammond won the 400 (59.83) and 300 hurdles (47.77) for the Panthers’ lone victories.