NEWTONIA - In a 20-school field at the East Newton Invitational track and field meet Thursday, the Pierce City boys' team prevailed with 74 points. Second place Webb City had 67 and Monett came in third with 61.
On the girls' side, Carl Junction won with 90 points, followed by Webb City (88), Cassville (83), Monett (68) and Pierce City (62).
"The big schools push us harder," said Pierce City hurdler Chance Chapman of his team's triumph. "And we want more."
The fleet-of-foot junior put points on the board left and right for the Eagles. Chapman was runner-up in the 110-meter high hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles. He also ran the third leg of the 4x400 relay for a fourth-place finish.
Compressing the rib cage of quarterbacks from his defensive end position in football is his sport of choice, but a challenge -- make that a demand -- from ladyfriend Chelsey Levingston roped Chapman into track.
He has plenty to keep up with as Levingston is a top-notch competitor in long and triple jumps when not running relays for the Eagles.
"It's the first time I've ran track since eighth grade," Chapman said.
Otherwise, he'd be up before light, laboring on his uncle's dairy farm.
Already envisioning a career in utilities, Chapman may have to ward off colleges when they come calling for his athletic skills.
"I'm doing better than I thought I might," he admits. "I'm faster than I thought I was.
"And it's a good off-season sport for football," Chapman added.
"He has no fear," observes Eagles' track mentor Brad Hocker.
Over on the girls' side of the track, the Monett Cubs are driven by captain Sara Hammond. Repeatedly lowering her race times throughout the month of April is proof positive of her leadership.
"Coach Spencer pushes us to go faster -- and I do what I can do," Hammond said.
Indeed she does, winning the 300 hurdles at East Newton, an event she began just this year. But that's just one blue ribbon. She also contributed to the Lady Cubs' win in the 4x400 relay, placed second in the 4x200 relay and finished fourth in the triple jump.
Her performance sets a tone but so does the honesty she fosters on her Lady Cubs' track team.
"We've grown together well," said Hammond. "That's because we hold each other accountable. "
Hammond doesn't walk the talk -- she sprints through the tape. Typically it's called leadership. In her case, there's another word for it.
Individual results from last night's meet were not available at presstime. Those results will be published on Monday.