WASHINGTON, Mo. — In recent years a jump of 15 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault would’ve been more than enough to secure a state championship.
Despite putting up that height this year, Platte County’s Jacob Laures finished as the runner-up in the Class 4 championships on Saturday, May 25 at Jim Scanlan Field at Washington High School.
For the second time in less than a week Laures reset his own school record, this time two inches higher than his mark of 15-4 he set at the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet that concluded on Monday, May 20. It marked the third time this season that Laures has reset the mark after toppling former teammate Blake Bearden’s 2017 mark of 14-10.
“I’m content with the season, I couldn’t have gone out on a better note,” said Laures, who will compete at Benedictine College next season. “It feels good. It got a little emotional to be there with my team, but it means the world to me even with a second-place medal.”
Last year’s state champion jumped only 15-3 and the two prior years 15 feet was good enough to claim a state title. Last year’s runner-up, Nolan Bone of Liberty Wentzville won the title this year with a jump of 15-9.
Bone missed his first jump at 15-6, while Laures made it. At 15-9, Bone made his first and Laures missed all three. In his first attempt at 15-9, Laures’ pole snapped in three pieces.
He avoided injury in the mishap but failed to clear the height needed to keep the competition going.
“It is the first time that happened to me,” Laures said. “I’m glad it happened at state. I got a good story to tell.”
He jumped 14 feet and placed fourth last year, while he finished seventh as a sophomore.
Platte County had another runner-up finish and added two thirds and came up just short in a quest for a team trophy. The Pirates sat in fourth place going into the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, but finished tied for fifth with Kirksville in the final standings with 28 points.
Ladue Horton Watkins won the final race of the day and got 10 points, giving them 34 points to jump the Pirates in the standings. Kirksville took seventh and got two points to forge the tie for fifth.
The top four was led by Grandview winning with 63 points, repeating as champions and gave the Pirates’ Suburban Conference Blue Division foes seven of the last nine titles.
In the shot put, the conference rivals went 1-2 in the state meet — just like they did in the conference.
Justice Akinmoladun won with a throw of 57 feet, 2 inches, while Platte County’s Xavier Keith was second with at throw of 53-11 ½.
Both of the throws for the rivals came in their last attempts in the finals. Prior to that, Keith had a long throw of 53 feet, 1 ½ inch — which would’ve given him the title had it not been for Akinmoldun’s last throw.
“I wish I could’ve got first but it happens,” said Keith, a Butler (Kan.) Community College signee. “It is a good way to end the season. It is sad … I will miss it a lot. This what I wanted to do. This is my favorite sport and I love the coaches and all four years at Platte County.”
Keith talked about being shuttled between various foster homes before finding a stable place to live in Platte County the summer prior to this eighth-grade year. He finishes his tenure as a three-time all-state for the Pirates, taking ninth as a freshman and seventh as a sophomore. He also leaves as the school record holder in the shot put.
To showcase how tough the Suburban Blue is, four of the eight all-state medals went to throwers from the Kansas City metro conference. Ruskin’s Aireontae Ersery and Grandview’s Elisha Turner also medaled.
The Pirates got third-place finishes from Keegan Cordova and Will Hay.
Cordova, Colorado State-Pueblo signee, took third in the 800-meter run in 1 minute, 59.56 seconds — just a hair behind state champion Jack Crull of Jefferson City Helias, who finished in 1:58.49.
“Coming in we expected to do well in the 4x800 and stuff didn’t go as planned and it didn’t come together and it was a disappointing day for us,” Cordova said. “Coach had me play it smart and cruise a little on the last lap. I was ready to do something (in the 800). I felt like I competed hard. It was hot and not the best conditions, we all competed hard, but it was nice to get back on the medal stand.”
The 800 featured three conference runners on the all-state stand. Aside from Cordova’s third, Kearney’s Mason Marshall was fifth and Abel Monarrez of Raytown South took seventh.
Hay took third in the 300-meter hurdles despite running from the eighth lane, crossing in 39.36 seconds.
“Last year I was one place off and it put me in my place and let me go work in the offseason,” said Hay, who took ninth as a sophomore and missed the medal stand by a tenth of a second. “I worked hard and it paid off. I felt like I had a really good season, specially from last year, I improved a lot.”
Hay also ran in the 110-meter hurdles, taking 13th place, while running on the 4x400-meter team with junior Walker Grimes, senior Blake Reynolds and Cordova. The team was 11th.
Cordova ran the final leg of the 4x800 but the Pirates were unable to repeat as state champions. Other members on this year’s team were juniors Donny MacCuish and Matthew Sullivan and sophomore Blake Bjustrom. The 4x200-meter team of seniors Carter Utt and Blake Reynolds, sophomore Spencer Cupp and freshman Chandler Steinmeier took ninth — coming in .28 seconds behind St. Charles West for the final spot on the podium.
Sophomore Colby Rollins jumped a personal best of 43-1 in the triple jump and finished 14th.