WAYNESVILLE — Coming into Saturday’s Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, Sectional 3 meet at Waynesville High School, a total of 15 Owensville High School track and field athletes were looking to punch their respective tickets to this weekend’s MSHSAA Class 3-5 Track and Field Championships in Jefferson City.
Once the meet concluded, a total of 12 OHS track athletes qualified for state with top-four finishes in their respective events.
First up for OHS track in Saturday’s sectional meet was sophomore Katie Candrl in the Class 3 girls pole vault.
Coming into the competition at eight feet, six inches, she only needed one attempt to clear that height along with 9-0 before needing two attempts to clear the bar at 9-6 and 10-0.
After clearing 9-6, Candrl had already punched her ticket to state with there only being four competitors left in the event.
Tying her school record on her second attempt at 10-6, Katie got another shot at breaking her own OHS record when the bar was moved to 11-0.
Clearing it on her first attempt, Candrl added six more inches to her school record in the pole vault.
“I couldn’t believe that I cleared 11 feet on my first try,” Katie Candrl said. “It feels awesome to be going back to state and I hope to be on the podium this time after finishing ninth last year.”
It was not long before OHS track and field had their next state qualifiers.
Kicking off the running events portion of the meet was the Class 3 Girls 4x800-meter relay.
Fresh off a district title the previous Saturday in Versailles, they were simply looking for a top-four finish to qualify for state.
“We did not want to finish fifth again,” Dutchgirl junior Kendra Hults said. “We’d finished fifth the last two years at sectionals and wanted to avoid doing that again.
Hults helped Owensville open the race in top four before handing the baton off to sophomore Mekayla Gibson.
Passing School of the Osage during the second lap, Gibson took the lead before handing the baton off to Ashner for the third leg of the race.
“I was kind of surprised that I was able to take the lead in the race,” Gibson said.
Keeping the led and expanding on it, Ashner completed the final handoff to Koepke.
Holding off a late charge, the Dutchgirl senior cross the finish line first giving her teammates a sectional championship to add to their district crown.
“I knew I couldn’t get passed because I don’t like that,” Koepke said. “I wouldn’t have been in the position I was in without my teammates setting me up.”
Nearly 30 minutes later, the Dutchmen 4x800m relay team looked to join their Dutchgirl counterparts at state with a top-four finish.
Starting it off, sophomore Austin Terry kept the Dutchmen in the top four before handing the baton to freshman Bam Wizeman.
“I knew I had to stick as close as I could to the top runners to keep us in a good position,” Terry said.
Wizeman battled with Springfield Catholic keeping Owensville in the top four and in line for a trip to state.
“I knew I had to stick with the third-place team (Springfield Catholic) as close as I could to give my team a chance,” Wizeman said.
Wizeman then handed the baton off to another freshman in Jacob Breedlove.
“My job was to stay as close to Springfield Catholic as possible to keep us in fourth place and to give Treyden the best opportunity to help us finish the race (in the top four),” Breedlove said.
Taking the final handoff from Breedlove, Treyden Williams managed to hold off School of the Osage for fourth place by five seconds while finishing two second behind Springfield Catholic in a fourth-place time of 8:52.78.
“I gave everything I had and now our team gets to go to state,” Williams said.
Starting the afternoon portion of the meet, Candrl looked to qualify for her second event at state in the Class 3 girls 100-meter hurdles.
Posting her fastest time of the season with a 15.7, Katie placed second in the race to Mount Vernon sophomore Sadie Heisner who also won the girls pole vault.
While Candrl was competing in the 100m hurdles, Dutchgirl senior Bailey Rasmussen looked to extend her high school career another week with a top-four finish in the Class 3 girls discus.
Surpassing triple digits on all three of her four throws, Rassmussen’s third mark of 111 feet even turned out to be the one that helped her win the event and advance her to state this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to throwing again at state,” Rasmussen said. “I’m going to give it my best as I have one last shot (at a state medal).
A two-hour wait would ensue before Hults competed in her second sectional event in the 800-meter run.
Sitting in sixth place coming into the final 100 meters, Hults passed Strafford freshman Emma Compton and Hollister senior Craigon Bradley to post a fourth-place time of 2:32.84 qualifying her for state now in two events.
I was actually planning on being in fourth place down the homestretch,” Hults said. “I’m fortunate I was able to make the pass I did to qualify for state in the 800.”
Seeing Candrl punch her ticket to state earlier in the girls pole vault, the Dutchmen duo of Jacob Luther and Boyde Nicks looked to do the same competing in the Class 3 Boys Pole Vault in Waynesville.
Showing up to the meet in walking boot, Luther sustained a foot injury during practice last Wednesday and was determined to compete through the pain.
Passing all the way to 12-0, Luther just needed one attempt to clear that height along with 12-6 to clinch a second-place finish and a spot at the state meet.
Nicks started at 10-0 clearing that height and subsequent bars at 10-6, 11-0 and 11-6 needing just one attempt.
Clearing 12-0 in two attempts, Boyde established a new personal record (PR) clearing 12-6 on his first try. In spite of missing all three attempts at 13-0, Nicks finished in third place right behind Luther sending both Dutchmen to state.
“It’s awesome to see two guys qualify for state in the same event,” Coach Candrl said. “Jacob battled through the pain and did what he needed to do to move on to state. Boyde has been in the right mind frame and I’m proud of him for making it to state.”