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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Track athletes fare well at warm-up meet

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monett senior Jason Obermann's discus traveled 118 feet, 7 inches to capture third at the Neosho Warmup. [Times Photo by R.K. Wilson]
NEOSHO -- A warm and breezy spring Tuesday was well suited to track and field competition as the Monett Cubs ran up against four other teams at the Neosho Warm-up. Carthage, McDonald County and Seneca also came to compete against dominant host Neosho in a mixed event of Class 4 and 5 schools.

Despite graduating several state-qualifying sprinters, Cubs' boys coach Andy Lemons was "surprised how fast we really are."

"We've been training three weeks, and this meet was a good opportunity to see where we're at," said Coach Lemons.

Relay teams set the pace for Monett. The girls' 800-meter relay, consisting of the Fulton sisters - senior Millie and sophomore Sophie - senior Katie Upchurch and junior Madison Carlin, finished first, and the boys' 400-meter relay team of juniors Tristen Homfeldt and Chris Eimer and seniors Matt Hinkle and Ryan Cody also captured first place honors.

Eimer was the Cubs' dual winner, leaping 19 feet to victory in the long jump.

Junior Jennifer Frazier put the shot 34 feet for the fourth Cubs' triumph of the day.

Track and field is the blend of team and individual sport, offering specialized athletes the chance to shine and providing secondary training for team sport performers from other endeavors. Take senior Keli Cornell. She's a volleyball player bringing her hops to high jump and speed to the sprints in the 400 relay. She placed third in each of her events.

"My (high jump) form is down, but I need to work on those last, aggressive steps," Cornell said.

Aggressive steps define senior pole-vaulter Cody Mahl. He placed fourth at 10 feet, but with a personal best approaching 12 feet, the new season is his kind of challenge.

Mahl was stuck for an answer about how a person arrives at frantic self-projection through the air with a fiberglass spear until the word "daredevil" was suggested. Mahl laughed as he recalled his kiddie days, leaping over anything convenient with his BMX bike. Not to mention his rudimentary base-jumping.

"We used to jump from a tree onto the trampoline," Mahl confessed.

Mahl's gravitation to height makes the pole-vaulting pursuit a natural; ancient competition's extreme sport before the label existed.

For senior trench warfare athlete Beau Bounous, field competition is a break from his outstanding football career, which will continue this fall at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. For Bounous, launching discs and iron spheres is cross training.

"It's a relaxed sport -- good to be outside when the weather's warm," he said.

Tuesday's wind took 20 feet off his best discus toss for a fourth-place finish.

The introductory event at Neosho wasn't about team scores, but the chance to face squads of another color. Monett's debut team meet is this Thursday, March 25 at the Mustang Invitational in Anderson.

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