JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Aliek Reed knew at least one competitor went down, so he shifted gears with an unlikely title suddenly on his mind.Running a 300-meter hurdles race for just the seventh time in his career, the Platte County senior couldn’t catch Grandview’s Maliek Kendall, and Parkway Central’s Darius Ramsey came out of nowhere to finish as runnerup. Reed ended up third in a jumbled final during the Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships this past weekend, a race up for grabs after race favorite Quincy Hall of Raytown South hit an early hurdle.
Reed’s third-place finish highlighted a successful final meet in an event he started just last month after opting out of the 400.
“I heard someone fall,” Reed said of the final. “I saw Maliek pull up so I started running faster. The dude in Lane 1 came out of nowhere. Third place, first time running hurdles? Not too bad.”
Platte County came home with medals in six out of 10 qualified events during the two-day meet held Friday and Saturday, May 29-30 at Dwight T. Reed Stadium on the campus of Lincoln University.
Reed finished top eight in three of his four events, while fellow senior Nathan Straubel set one final school record while taking home all-state honors in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Reed’s second and third medals came as part of the 4x200 and 4x400 relays on a weekend that featured intermittent rain and sunshine with a loaded schedule that included three different classifications for the first time in state history.
The Pirates ended up with 18 team points, good enough for 12th in the final standings — just two away from the top 10.
“The guys that medaled just had a phenomenal meet,” Platte County coach Gabe Middleton said. “They battled through rain and heat and mud and they just did a great job and we’re proud of them.”
Reed’s busy final day started with disappointment. He was one of seven competitors who did not clear the opening height of 5 feet, 11 inches in the high jump on Saturday morning.
That turned out to be the final event without a medal for Reed thanks to the Pirates’ strong showing in preliminaries the day before. The 4x200 team of Devin Perry, Lloyd Lockett, Aaron Brown and Reed held its qualifying position of sixth and finished sixth in 1:30.96 — faster than the quartet’s time from sectionals and prelims.
Reed came into the 300 final next with the fourth-best time out of prelims at 40.08. He bettered his previous season-best set during the Suburban League Blue Division meet earlier in the month, and his 39.53 came up just .03 of a second behind Ramsey, who had the seventh-best prelim time.
The 4x400 team of Lockett, Reed, TJ Guillory and Brown closed the meet by bettering the other relay’s showing.
Despite a steady rain during prelims, the Pirates posted a season-best 3:26.97, fourth in their heat but fifth-fastest overall. Brown and Reed — the lone seniors in the group — were on the school-record 4x400 team from a year ago that finished sixth, but this year’s unit posted another season-best at 3:25.55 with Reed’s strong second leg allowing Brown to close out and stay ahead of Union for fourth place. Reed, Perry and Brown are all seniors, while TJ Guillory, a sophomore subbed into the lineup prior to districts, and Lockett, a junior, will be back next season.
The final two medals both came from Straubel, who closed out his career as the best distance runner in Platte County history.
Opening with the 1,600 on Friday, Straubel went to the front of a tightly packed bunch during the second lap but dropped to fifth during the next 400. He ended up holding on to seventh-place in 4:21.55 — dropping nearly 2 seconds off the mark he set in District 8 competition two weeks earlier that toppled Zack Praiswater’s 12-year-old school record.
“Decently happy,” Straubel said. “I would’ve liked to be up there higher in place, but I went for it second lap, and that’s all you can ask for. And I gave it my all. I took a lead going into the third lap, and I thought I could have it but I probably went too early is probably what happened.”
Straubel also finishes his career with the school record in the 3,200, set earlier this year, and he added a second state medal in the event on Saturday. Sixth in the two-mile last year, he came in at 9:37.06 to finish seventh this time around, despite running nearly 10 seconds faster than his 2014 state time when he originally set the 3,200 school record.
Platte County’s lone medal on the girls side came in the 3,200 on Friday.
Rebekah Geddes, a freshman, set a school record for the second consecutive week, capping an impressive late-season surge. She knocked another 5 seconds off her season-best and placed sixth in the two-mile at 11:17.80. That comes after she blew away her previous best by about 35 seconds with a 11:22.87 during Sectional 4 competition six days earlier to break Ashton Stubbs’ previous school record of 11:40.25.
“I think it’s great that I just kept PR’ing and kept getting better every race. That was really exciting,” said Geddes, who battled an iron deficiency early in the track season leading to delayed results coming off of an all-state cross country season.
While Geddes’ career started with a highlight, Platte County senior Shelley Laures’ standout four seasons ended without her first state medal. She qualified for state each year and leaves as the school-record holder in the high jump and 4x400 relay.
After clearing 5-6 earlier this season at the Platte County Invitational, Laures didn’t reach that height again. She went 5-1 in a deep high jump field early on Friday morning and tied for 10th, the same spot she wound up in the high jump and long jump at state in 2014.
“Hated that Shelley couldn’t get a medal this year, but like we told her last night: that does not validate her career,” Middleton said. “She’s the best female track athlete we’ve ever had. Great person, great individual, and she’s going to on and do bigger and better things.”
Hilary Mathurin, a junior and Platte County’s final state qualifier, placed seventh in her preliminary heat of the 300 hurdles (49.54) and did not reach the finals.