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Track and Field

Jackson girls track and field team wins conference meet; boys finish in second

The Jackson girls track and field team poses with the 2021 SEMO Conference Championship. Photo by Andrea Talley

The Jackson boys and girls track and field teams were unable to defend its SEMO Conference Championships last year due to the coronavirus pandemic cancelling the 2020 spring season.

Even after missing a full campaign, the Indians girls team had no problem repeating as conference champions as they outscored runner-up Cape Central [95] by 73 points with a final score of 168. Jackson’s girls team won conference so handedly because it took first place in seven events along with four runner-up, five third-place and three fourth-place finishes.

Winning two conference titles all by herself was none other than junior Layla Fliege, who did so in the 800 and 1600-meter run. Fliege recorded finishes of two minutes, 23.22 seconds and 5:22.93 to win the 800 and 1600, respectively.

Fliege was also a member of the first-place 4×800 team along with fellow juniors Brooklyn Burgess, Addie Heisserer and sophomore Mallorie Metzger. These Indians combined for a time of 10:33.24 to win the race.

Metzger became a conference champion in an individual event as well as she won the 400-meter dash by crossing the finish line at 1:01.5. Metzger also took second behind Fliege in the 800 at 2:25.36.

Fliege and Metzger helped the 4×400 team along with Burgess and sophomore Gracie Metzger finish in second place at 4:23.46.

The Jackson girls team’s final first-place finish on the track was by senior Elizabeth Steele, who won the 3200-meter run at 11:54.13 to take home conference gold.

Becoming SEMO Conference Champions on the field were underclassmen sophomore Briaysia Purl and freshman Felicity Pingkian, who won the discus and pole vault events, respectively. Purl took first in discus with a heave of 107 feet, 6.25 inches, while Pingkian won pole vault at 10-0.

The Indians final two second-place finishes came on the field as senior Lisken Glass was the runner-up in shot put at 33-11, while junior Hadley Wyatt finished second behind Pingkian in pole vault at 9-6.25.

Glass finished in the top four of another event by taking third in discus behind Purl with a throw of 95-4. Another third-place finish for Jackson on the field was by sophomore Stormee Rutherford in shot put (32-10).

Three other of Jackson’s bronze conference medals were on the track as the 4×100 team made up by seniors Avery Bauer, Alexis Boyles, Juliana Evans and junior Ryleigh Kilhafner took third at 52.12. Also finishing in third place was Heisserer in the 1600 (5:35.49) and sophomore London Popp in the 3200 (12:51.33).

The three fourth-place finishes for Jackson’s girls team were Burgess (400; 1:06.75), Gracie Metzger (300-meter hurdles; 52.26) and the 4×200 team of Burgess, Boyles, Evans and freshman Megan Berger (1:57.29).

As for Jackson’s boys team, the Indians were unable to repeat as SEMO Conference Champions as they finished second overall with 104 points to first-place Poplar Bluff’s total of 126. Jackson won three events along with two silver medals, five bronze medals and one fourth-place finish.

Two of the boys team’s conference championships came on the field as senior Rhet Liley won the javelin throw, while junior Collin Havill took first in pole vault.

Liley, who is Jackson’s program record holder in javelin, took first in the event with a heave of 161-1 to be crowned the conference champion. Finishing in second behind Liley was Cape Central junior William Jones at 158-0, which is a program-record throw for the Tigers.

Havill won the conference championship in pole vault with a mark of 13-5.75 as fellow vaulter and Jackson sophomore Braeden Cain took third in the event (13-0).

The third and final win for the Indians was by the 4×800 team comprised of senior Jake Eastin, sophomore Cole Puls and freshman Zach Brazel and Bryce Gentry, who combined for a first-place finish time of 8:30.91.

Taking second twice for Jackson’s boys team was senior Evan Stephens as he was the runner-up in both the 1600 and 3200 with times of 4:33.26 and 9:51.07, respectively. Taking second outside of Stephens and on the field was junior Nolan Chrusciel, who did so in discus with a heave of 135-3.5.

Moving on to the boys team’s third-place finishers, senior Clayton Greenlee took third in the 800 (2:05.78) and 1600 (4:35.75). His fellow senior Eastin finished third in the 3200 behind Stephens by crossing the finish line at 10:03.17.

Jackson’s 4×100 team took home the final bronze medal for the Indians, which was made up by senior Daniel Dickerson, juniors Javin Hitchcock, Josh Wehrenberg and sophomore Marquis Eckley. They finished with a time of 45.25 to take third.

Jackson’s lone fourth-place finisher was Gentry in the 800 as he placed behind Greenlee with a time of 2:07.12.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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