Newtonia - In the Big 8 Conference track and field championship on Tuesday at East Newton, the Monett Cubs boys won the eight-team field, finishing with 132 points, ahead of Mt. Vernon with 84 and Cassville with 81.
The Monett girls scored 97 points, placing second behind winner Carl Junction's 160 points. Host East Newton was third with 86 points.
"Our distance runners pave the way," said Monett boys' track coach Andy Lemons. "They really put us over the top."
Lemons was referring to the 32-point chunk provided by the long haul efforts of Chris Renteria and Micah Miller, who placed first and third in the 3,200-meter run, and second and fourth in the 1,600-meter distance.
In all, Renteria's three events amounted to three-and-one-half miles of racing competition.
"Chris is setting PRs every time out," said Lemons of the personal records Renteria is shattering with each passing week.
It also helped that Matt Hinkle won his first 100-meter dash to go along with his usual placement in the 200, or that Jacob Murphy again blazed the field in the 300-meter hurdles, after finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles. Factor in strong relay performances and beasty boys Bounous and Obermann grazing about the projectile pasture - and the Cubs' male contingency ran away with the conference crown.
"Mt. Vernon had more first places but finished second," said Lemons.
Gold medalists make team scores balloon, but what Monett had - and the rest of the field didn't - was scoring across the board: sprints, hurdles, relays and the field, including Kody Mahl getting over the 11-foot wall for third-place in the pole vault.
"The Big 8 was a great meet for us," remarked Lemons.
In the girls' competition, Jennifer Frazier's double win in the shot and discus amounted to over 20 percent of the team's point total in the Cubs' runner-up finish to Carl Junction. She has been a quiet star for the team this year, plying a winning technique off-stage at the remote tossing ranges where her events are held.
Foot races and leaping contests are the sport's glamour events, so shot putters and discus hurlers rarely get the recognition they deserve.
The season-long accomplishment by Frazier is a prime example.
|Other performances of note: Madison Carlin's ownership of the 100-meter hurdles and fourth-place finish in the long jump; Millie Fulton's win in the 400 run and fourth-place finish in the 200 dash; a second place medal for freshman Raigan Ratliff in the 800-meter run and Sara Hammond's third place in the triple jump.|
The district track meet is scheduled to be held at Carl Junction on May 15.