By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 5/19/21

Defend the home track.

That was the goal Saturday for Owensville Dutchgirl track during the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 5 Track meet held at …

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Defend the home track.

That was the goal Saturday for Owensville Dutchgirl track during the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 5 Track meet held at Owensville High School’s Dutchmen Field.

Going for their first district title since 2000, the Dutchgirls came into the meet favored by nearly 20 points.

Upon the conclusion of the 4x400-meter relay, Owensville topped 12 other scoring teams with 145 points.

Starting the meet on the track with the girl’s 3200-meter run, Dutchgirl senior Mekayla Gibson knew she had a race on her hands against Osage’s Sara Wolf.

“I knew going in she had a fast time and that I’d have to stick with her for as long as I could,” Gibson said.

As it turns out that strategy paid off.

Placing second to Wolf, Gibson not only advanced to sectionals, but she broke the OHS school record in the 3200m run with a time of 11:45.16 besting the old mark of 11:52 by Jaime Helms from back in 2000.

“Mekayla has put the work in over the last four years and I’m proud of her for breaking a school record on her home track,” Candrl said.

Hayden Loeb also picked up a team point with an eighth-place time of 14:31.91.

After an hour break, Gibson looked to punch her second ticket to sectionals as part of the 4x800-meter relay team.

Staying in the top four the whole race, the Dutchgirl quartet of Alexis Branson, Kyah Weirich, Gibson and Loeb advanced to sectionals with a second-place time of 11:31.47.

Heavily favored in three events, Katie Candrl began her quest for district gold in the 100-meter hurdles.

Jumping out to a quick lead, Candrl won the first of her three individual district titles with a first-place time of 15.79.

Kiera Finn just missed sectionals but picked up valuable team points with a fifth-place time of 18.27.

Shortly after her victory in the 100m hurdles, Candrl claimed another first-place medal by clearing 3.35 meters to win the pole vault.

Freshman Khloe McCormick also scored points in the pole vault by clearing 2.15m to place sixth.

Winning the second heat of the girls 100-meter dash, Dutchgirl sophomore Saylor Richardson wound up with the third-fastest time overall in 13.77 advancing her to sectionals.

“Saylor has battled injuries all spring and she showed her toughness today in the 100m dash,” Candrl said.

Looking to join their 4x800m counterparts at sectionals, the Dutchgirl 4x200-meter relay team took to the track.

Winning a district title and advancing to sectionals in a time of 1:52.26 was the OHS quartet of Kate Angell, Branson, Candrl and Richardson.

Already on to sectionals in two events, Gibson looked to make it a third in the girls 1600-meter run.

Able to hold in the top four, Gibson placed fourth in 5:42.40 to advance to sectionals in her third event this Saturday at Camdenton High School.

Sprinters took their turn on the track in the girls 4x100-meter relay.

Placing third and advancing to sectionals was the Dutchgirl foursome of Isabelle Bruckerhoff, Julianna Watkins, Angell and Richardson.

Qualified for sectionals as part of two relay teams, Branson looked to punch her own ticket in the girls 400-meter dash.

Placing second overall and in her heat, Branson posted a time of 1:05.97 moving her to sectionals in her third event.

With two district titles to her credit already, Candrl went for a third in the 300-meter hurdles.

Nearly two seconds ahead of the field, Candrl won another gold medal with a winning time of 48.48 while Finn redeemed herself with a fourth-place time of 51.79 moving her to sectionals.

Looking for a fourth sectional event, Gibson competed in the girls 800-meter run.

Unable to stay in the top four, Gibson settled for a fifth-place time of 2:37.19.

Richardson was also looking for a fourth event for sectionals with a top-four finish in the girls 200-meter dash.

Placing fourth overall with a time of 28.23, Richardson nearly had company in the event.

Jersey Reynolds won the second heat and finished fifth overall with a time of 29.05 picking up valuable team points to keep Osage at bay.

In the last event of the day, the Dutchgirl 4x400-meter relay team had three athletes looking to punch their tickets to sectionals after coming up short in other events.

Crossing the finish line in a fourth-place time of 4:37.01, the team of Ella Gehlert, Keira Hendrix, Kiera Finn and Reynolds will compete late Saturday afternoon in Camdenton.

Along with being on two relay teams, Angell will also compete in sectionals after a third-place finish in the high jump (1.40m) and a fourth-place finish in the long jump (4.44m).

Gehlert added team points taking fifth in the high jump clearing 1.35m.

Emily Tiefenbrunn also threw her way to a pair of events in sectionals with top-four finishes in the shot put and discus.

Her best finish came in the discus with a second-place mark of 31.89m to go with a fourth-place distance of 8.84m in the shot put.

Carley Finn also scored team points in the discus with a fifth-place throw of 26.16m.

Hendrix added to her leg of the 4x400m relay with an eighth-place throw of 24.79m in the javelin good for one team point.

Olivia Vandegriffe also ended her junior season of Dutchgirl track with an 11th-place throw of 23.62m in the javelin.

Sydney Silvers ended her OHS track career with a 14th-place distance in the triple jump of 8.23m.

In addition to her fifth-place throw in the discus, Carley Finn also ended her Dutchgirl track and field career placing 12th in the shot put. 


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