KEARNEY, Mo. — Aliek Reed doesn’t shy away from his own lofty expectations. “I like to win; I don’t like to lose,” the Platte County senior said.
Reed didn’t lose Saturday, May 16 in the 300-meter hurdles race during the Class 4 District 8 meet held at Kearney High School. He topped the field in a comfortable 40.23 seconds after Winnetonka senior William Morrow fell over the second-to-last hurdle and ended up second in 42.21.
Despite running the race for just the fourth time in competition along with limited practice, Reed wants to break the school record, currently held by Dustin Menk in the 38-second range and win a state title.
“I’ve got the speed for it; I’ve just been working on my form. I have a high level of confidence,” said Reed, who gave up the 400 after a whimsical idea to finally try the hurdles after previously joking about it and going on to win the Suburban Conference Red Division title the previous week in a season-best 39.61.
Platte County swept the 300 hurdles with Hilary Mathurin posting a season-best 48.34. Her and Reed both qualified in four events for this week’s Class 4 Sectional 4 meet, scheduled for Saturday, May 23 at North Kansas City District Activities Complex, to lead a pair of solid team showings.
Reed also won the high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches and helped a pair of relays place in the top four, and the Pirates finished with 138 points, 30 behind team champion Kearney. The girls were third with 108 points, just 29 back of team champion Kearney.
Well below their season-best of 6-4, Reed and sophomore teammate Mac Leet were part of a three-way tie at 5-10 with the senior taking the title on a tiebreaker. Leet ended up second and also qualified for sectionals with a third-place showing in the triple jump (41-0).
Platte County’s Dane Rader grabbed the only other individual championship for the Pirates, topping the shot put field at 43-11¾ with most of the top competitors coming up well short of their season-best.
Platte County junior Payton Sheehan set a personal best in the pole vault at 12-0, good for second and a spot in sectionals. Jake Tomlinson, a fellow junior, was fourth for the Pirates in that event and also finished fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Kevin Neal gave Platte County two qualifiers in the 300 hurdles, claiming the fourth spot by a full second.
Platte County also sent three of its four relays on to sectionals with Reed anchoring the 4x400 team to a title and finishing about 4 seconds off of the school record set last year at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships. Aaron Brown, Lloyd Lockett and TJ Guillory — a last-minute sub for injured David Fulk ran the opening three legs on the way to a 3:27.57 finish to beat Smithville by just under a second.
The 4x200 team of Devin Perry, Lockett, Brown and Reed finished second.
Brown also qualified in the 400 with a second-place finish (51.25), while Perry followed up a personal-best in the prelim of the 200 by bettering that mark in the final. A 22.96 finish was good enough for third and a spot in sectionals.
Platte County’s 4x800 team of Jared Maksudian, Nick Bjustrom, Foster Walrath and Hunter Long were fourth in a field of six teams to earn a final shot at running next week.
Nathan Straubel, a senior, focused on his individual events and recorded runner-up finishes in both the 1,600 and 3,200, setting a school record in the first event. The returning state medalist in the 3,200 battled with Kearney rival Clayton Adams in both races but couldn’t beat the sophomore in either.
In the 1,600, Straubel took the lead going into the third lap but gave it back going into the final 400. He started to make up ground on Adams toward the line and lunged at the finish but lost out by just .03 of second.
Straubel knew the result immediately, letting out an exasperated yell, but his 4:24.26 bettered Zack Praiswater’s school mark set in 2003 and knocked about 11 seconds off of his previous best this season. Straubel and Adams have battled throughout the season, including a photo finish Straubel won in the 3,200 earlier this year when he set his personal best in that event.
Adams has not lost to him in the 1,600 so far, and Saturday was the closest by far.
“The mile was the one I really needed this week,” said Straubel, who ran 10:04.65 and came in about 6 seconds back of Adams in their other dual. “All of the miles I ran with Clayton before this, I was worried about time, so I was like, ‘I’m not going to run a good time.’ I don’t know. My mind just shut down.
“Running is all mind games, so this time I went in thinking about place. I wanted to win. That was my mentality, instead of worrying about time, and the time came later.”
Mathurin’s victory in the 300 hurdles highlighted her day, and like Reed, she added a second individual event (second in the 100, 13.09) and ran on a pair of sectional qualifying relays.
The 4x200 team of Mathurin, Karleigh Wise, Shelley Laures and Amanda Sullivan placed second behind Center, while the 4x400 team of Rachel Gilbert, Mathurin, Laures and Sullivan ended up third. The 4x800 quartet of Gilbert, Rebekah Geddes, Erin Straubel and Sara Wyss captured the championship in a field of just four entrants. With all four qualified for sectionals by just finishing the race, the Pirates went out and set a season-best at 10:07.69, edging Winnetonka by just .01 of a second in a photo finish.
Mathurin was the only individual champion on the track. She ran her best race of the season to finish in 48.34, and the pint-sized junior continues to gain confidence while eyeing the state field.
“This is my race, my event,” she said. “Right now, I only see myself getting better, and of course, I’ve got to keep pushing myself. Not time to be scared.”
Laures won the high jump in a tiebreaker at 5-1 but also added a second individual event to her schedule, bettering her own school record in the long jump. A state qualifier in the event last year, she went 17-2 to claim third, 8 inches better than her previous season best.
Other individual qualifiers for the girls included Sullivan (second in the 400), Rylie Collins (third in the 100 hurdles, Geddes (fourth in the 3,200) and Wise (fourth in the triple jump).