On a wet and overcast Saturday at Hollister, Pierce City unleashed its district champion teams at the Class 2, Sectional 3 championships, coming away with five gold medals and qualifying in another nine events for the Missouri state track and field championships to be conducted this week at Jefferson City.
The boys led the way in the 16-team competition, winning with 84.5 points. Ash Grove was second with 82.5 points
The gold medal Eagles were Derek Turner in the high jump at 6'4" and Cody Cox breaking the tape in the 100-meter dash in 11.31 seconds.
Zach Crouch's twin district title momentum carried forth at the sectionals. His third place shot and fourth place discus efforts make him the only Eagle vying in two individual events at state.
The other qualifying individual is Tony Martin, after he snared third in the 400-meter run.
Three of four relay teams advanced, which means that every boy who went to sectionals will participate at the state finals.
The 4x200 team of Jordan Saffer, Cedric O'Hara, Cox and Martin took gold with a time of 1:32.82, and the crew also qualified in the 4x100 with a fourth place finish. Joining them on the bus will be the 4x400 and 4x800 teams for a full complement of baton squads headed to state.
Sectional victory wasn't limited to the boys. Sara Stearns won gold in the discus, with a toss of 105'3". Stearns, a sophomore, was joined by another underclassman earning gold. Krishna Merriman added another chapter to her fabulous freshman year, winning the 400-meter run in 1:02.06
The girls will have company, as pole vaulter Makina Kelley and hurdler Kelsie Baldwin both advance to state, finishing fourth in the respective events.
The 4x200 team (Emily Ashley. Abby Ashley, Chelsey Levingston, Krishna Merriman) and the 4x400 team (Mattie Parrigon, Brianna Zebert, E. Ashley and Merriman) also qualified for the trip to Jefferson City.
Running a leg of the 4x400 relay will give Mattie Parrigon a proper opportunity to continue her track season. Parrigon had the third-best time in the 800-meter heat but fell in the finals when she was tripped by another competitor.
"The kids have worked hard," said Pierce City coach Brad Hocker.
"We're young -- only three girls participated in middle school track last year," added Hocker. "I'm proud of our district championships and proud we're going to state."
The Class 2 track and field championships will be held at Lincoln University in Jefferson City this weekend. Preliminaries, along with the finals for the boy's high jump, shot put and 4x800 relay, are on Friday. The remainder of the finals will be held on Saturday.