Morgan Prather of Hamilton, three area relay squads capture Class 1, 2 state titles; Southwest Livingston's Chavez medals twice; Hardin-Central boys third as team

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

JEFFERSON CITY — Three entries from C-T-area  high schools won class 1 or 2 state-meet events Saturday and three area teams claimed either second- or third-place trophies as the 2014 Missouri State High School Activities Association Championships in track and field concluded on a rainy Saturday.
Led by junior Morgan Prather, Hamilton’s 4-members contingent of state qualifiers finished first or second in four of its five state events Friday and Saturday, giving it a total of 34 team points, good for second place in a diversified battle which saw a dozen other Class 2 girls’ squads tally between 20 and 32 points.
With 200-meters state champ Prather anchoring the same quartet – Jessica Noble, Sydney Bottorff, Makayla Stacy, and Prather – which earlier had won the 800-meters relay, Hamilton’s Lady Hornets took third place in the Class 2 girls’ meet’s final race, the 1,600 relay, to move past Spokane and South Callaway into second place in the final team standings. Far out of reach was Class 2 champion St. Charles: Lutheran with 63 points.
The last race and event of the meet also made the difference in Class 1 for the Polo girls and Hardin-Central boys.
Polo’s runnerup finish in the 1,600 relay let it climb over Springfield: New Covenant Academy and stay ahead of Salisbury and earn second place with 39 points. Mound City was the champion with 55.
Hardin-Central’s boys were tied for fifth – one spot away from a team plaque – beginning the closing event, but won the 1,600 relay in 3:31.4 to leapfrog La Plata and Missouri School for the Deaf into third place in the final team standings with 38 points. Greenfield’s runnerup finish in that race slipped it past Salisbury for the crown with 57-1⁄2 points; Salisbury, not entered in the last event, had 50-1⁄2.
Involved in the runnerup relay for the Polo girls were senior quadruple-medalist Maria Rains – who had taken second in the 100 and third in the 200 and 400 dashes, Cati Boruch – seventh-place medalist in the triple jump (33’4-1⁄4”), Adriana Segar, and Jennifer Farmer. They ran a 4:15.59.

Carroll-Livingston Activity Association champion Hardin-Central’s winning foursome was Wyatt Craven, Rhyler Estenbaum, Riley Gorham, and Spencer Wheeler. Estenbaum, Craven, and Gorham previously had won individual state medals – Gorham a pair – and been on medaling relays. Estenbaum was on three relays and the other two two each, giving Gorham and Estenbaum the maximum-possible four state medals.
Another Hardin-Central boy, Clif Kugler, likely would have earned three individual medals, but the weather and a sore back conspired to limit him to two, according to HCHS head coach Dean Hays.
Having tweaked the back during the district meet two weeks before, but still having managed to qualify for state in four events, Kugler followed a near-miss in Friday’s triple jump, in which he placed ninth – one spot away from a medal, with an eighth in the shot put early Saturday afternoon and, immediately after, a seventh in the long jump.
However, because of rain which arrived at just about the scheduled start time for Saturday’s early field events (including the Class 1 boys’ shot put and long jump), those events didn’t begin until 12:30 p.m., 90 minutes late.  That led to the long jump slightly overlapping the start of the high jump, probably Kugler’s best event, which was begun at its originally-scheduled 2 p.m. time.
Knowing the condition of his back coming in and feeling renewed pain and discomfort, Kugler tried to strategize a way to be able to try the high jump. He did not take either of his last two allowable attempts in the long jump when the best of his first four tries was holding up for a medal, hoping to the back would not get worse and permit him to try to make an attempt in the high jump once the field had shrunken to less than eight. In that scenario, potentially with one good jump, he might medal with only one try.
However, according to Hays, the back soreness refused to ease and Kugler never attempted a high jump.
Had the sophomore been at his healthiest and the rain stayed away Saturday so he could receive some physical therapy treatment from trainers on site, Kugler likely would have medaled in all four events. With a season-best of 6’7” in the high jump, which was won at state at 6’4”, he could well have earned eight or 10 points (first- or second-place finish) in that event. If he’d improved his finish in the long jump by three spots or so by using his full complement of attempts, maybe finished a couple of spots higher in the shot put, and gotten one of the lowest three medals in the triple jump, as previous performances showed him capable of, Hardin-Central’s boys almost certainly would finished second ahead of Salisbury and might have been right there with Greenfield at the top.

The weekend resulted in a pair of state medals being won by Southwest Livingston junior Maritza Chavez and one by recently-graduated Ethan Crowe.
E. Crowe flung the discus 140’9” on his last attempt Friday to jump up into third place in the final standings.
On Saturday, Chavez captured fourth place in the 300-meters low hurdles in 48.71 seconds and sixth in the 100-meters high hurdles in 17.33. According to SLHS coach Marj Locker, Chavez – whose older sister Sindy was a state medalist in the hurdles several years back – was third in the highs when she clipped the second-to-last hurdle, causing her to lose several spots.
After C-T-area athletes Mallory Hughson of Braymer in the 800-meters run and Derek Wilson of Linn County in the 3,200 had earned state runnerup finishes on opening day Friday, when the weather was nearly ideal, Saturday’s damper proceedings produced the previously-referenced three state-title-winning event performances and three more second places.
In addition to the prior citing of the Polo girls’ runnerup effort in the 1,600 relay, PHS’ Rains took second in the 100 in 13.11 seconds and Hamilton’s Prather was second in the 400 in 57.27 before winning the 200 in 25.56.
Following up Hughson’s second-place showing the day before, Braymer’s girls tacked on four more team points in Saturday’s opening race with another medals-earning effort in the 3,200-meters relay. Stephanie Summerville, Beth Milligan, and Darcey Peters joined her in running a 10:23.95 to place fifth. That time was nearly 17 seconds faster than their time at sectional.
On the boys’ side, Braymer also gained a medal Saturday. In the rain-hampered shot put, Dillan Hall earned fourth with a best throw of 44’2”.

Jamesport: Tri-County sprinter Johnathon Swymeler was in the ranks of multi-medalists. The Mustang was fourth in the Class 1 100 meters in 11.52 seconds and fifth in the 200 in 23.62.
Linn County’s Wilson added a fifth in the 1,600 Saturday (4:39.71) to his second in Friday’s 3,200 to also take home two medals.
Significantly aiding her team’s second-place cause, Polo’s Sidney Copeland added her to discus medal won Friday with a fifth place in the shot put Saturday, throwing 34’7-1⁄4”.
Hardin-Central’s Lisa Stellensdottir also was a double-dipper, taking third right alongside Polo’s Rains in the 100 and then being fourth rightbehind Rains in the 200.
Meadville’s Haley Fitzpatrick took sixth in the Class 1 shot put with a toss of 34’2-3⁄4”, but just missing out was Dalton Palmer in the boys’ 1,600, placing ninth. He later was last in the 800, in which Southwest Livingston’s Brandon Bothwell was 12th.

Complete state track and field meet results are available online at