A pair of unique opportunities presented themselves for Gabe Middleton on Friday, April 1.
First, the Platte County coach sent his athletes to two different meets — the Staley Relays and the inaugural Platte County Flight Night, an event which only featured field events. The latter allowed for the first javelin competition held at Pirate Stadium in a home meet since the event became eligible for a two-year trial run as an exhibition event.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association sponsors the event, but Missouri has yet to make that step.
With no girls javelin attempts in recent memory for an athlete at Platte County, freshman Jaycie Stubbs and junior Grace Gullet took turns setting the school record at Flight Night, which featured competitors from six teams. Gullet’s first attempt of 56 feet, 10 inches prompted celebration, and Stubbs followed with a throw of 97-5 seconds later, a mark which stood up the rest of the day for one of four event wins for the Pirates.
“I just enjoy how fun it is,” Stubbs said. “There’s no pressure really since it’s new this year. I can just step right in and set school records at the first meet. Not having experience and throwing things is definitely a good thing for the sport. It’s really hard to break old habits, but if you don’t have the habits in the first place, it’s pretty easy.”
The Missouri State High School Activities Association board of directors approved the trial for javelin in 2014. Athletes can compete in the javelin at the upcoming Missouri State Track and Field Championships, set for May at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., but it will be only an exhibition.
Javelin could be voted in as a scoring event after the season.
“It’s definitely really different than anything I’ve ever done before,” Stubbs said. “It’s new (to Platte County) this year and I knew not a whole lot of people who were going to be doing it. It’s just kind of a fun experience I can try. It’s a lot different than you think it is.”
The other three wins came for Platte County came on the boys side.
Christian Encarnacion, a senior, won the shot put with a mark of 42-11, winning by more than 2 feet over Winnetonka’s James McMullen (40-8¾). Pirates sophomore JP Post won the triple jump with a 39-2 effort, and junior Jon Watts almost added another win in the long jump, finishing second with a 19-8 leap.
Lawson’s Seth Hendrickson won with a 20-0 jump.
Platte County teammates Bryce Bearden and senior Jake Tomlinson both cleared 10-6 in the pole vault with no misses. Neither could quite clear 11-0, and the two split the title.
Tori Farr, a junior, grabbed a pair of second-place finishes in the long jump (15-0) and high jump (4-10).
Platte County’s boys finished eighth and the girls ninth at the relays only event, while Park Hill South grabbed a pair of fourth-place finishes in the team standings.
The Pirates had one event win — the 4x800 team of Nick Bjustrom, Keegan Cordova, Hunter Long and Jared Maksudian besting Park Hill South’s quartet of Brendan Briody, Michael Garrison, Jacob Prososki and Andrew Reece by less than a second. Park Hill South’s lone win came in the 4x400 with Nylo Clarke, Tanner Alderson, Jared Hernadez and Ryan Rippy besting the field in 3:32.97.
Park Hill South’s runner-up finishes came in the sprint medley relay (Rippy, Alderson, Clarke and Stephano Wolbert), which lost out on a close finish, and the 300 hurdles (Grant Hudson, 44.03).
On the girls side, Park Hill South won the 4x800 relay with the quartet of Jasmine Crawford, Lexi Maddox, Keely Danielsen and Emma Roth finishing in 10:48.06. Panthers senior Maryn Burns finished second in the long jump at 16-3½.