COLUMBIA, Mo. — Spoofhound head coach Nathan Powell calls it “Bade Magic.” You can call it whatever you wish, but the last few years, the Maryville long-distance program has turned into one of the most consistently successful in the state.
“Coach Bade just has a really good handle on his kids,” Powell said. “He knows what they can do and where they are going to perform best. These younger kids have really bought in.”
Whether that comes as a result of some sorcery, or just a solid string of talented runners that have had the best brought out of them by the right coach (I tend to lean toward the latter), assistant coach Rodney Bade certainly deserves plenty of credit for his ability to keep developing all-state level runners to replace those the team loses to graduation each year.
“He is definitely one of the best coaches in the state,” Maryville sophomore Garrett Dumke said. “He is able to take any athlete and turn them into an amazing runner. … He is doing great stuff and I can’t wait to see what we keep doing.”
In no event is that ability more obvious than the 4x800-meter relay where Maryville’s boys have been in the top-five in Class 3 each of the past three years. They continued that run on Saturday with a fourth-place finish at the Class 3 State Championships in Columbia.
“It just shows how our training really helps us,” Maryville junior Brandon Auffert said. “It shows that our coaches really know how to help us out and even kids coming up from the middle school are getting prepared to run those distance events.”
The Hounds have undergone a lot of transition on the 4x800 team the past couple seasons. In 2017, it was Josh Sanders who helped lead them to a fourth-place showing, but he graduated and took his running talents to the University of Missouri-Kansas City track team and Maryville needed to replace its anchor.
In 2018, the Spoofhounds hardly missed a step with 3,200-meter state champion and UMKC runner Caleb Feuerbacher and Northwest Missouri State runner Zach Staples guiding Maryville to a fifth-place finish.
This season, senior Will Mattock was the only returner from the that original 2017 relay team, but with juniors Brandon Auffert and Zach Kizer along with Dumke, they were able to once again rise to fourth on the podium.
Mattock’s day was just beginning with the 4x800 as he qualified in three events, which normally would be spread over two days. However, with the devastating tornado that struck Jefferson City, the Class 3, 4 and 5 meets were moved to separate locations and that meant a condensed schedule for Mattock.
“Honestly, today is probably the hardest day of track I’ve ever done,” Mattock said. “I really have to thank my coach, Coach Bade, for helping me get prepared.”
Two hours after the 4x800 — after which he was visibly ill — Mattock retook the track in his longest race of the day, the 1,600-meters.
“Just guts, today,” Powell said summing up Mattock’s day.
The senior finished 10th and just missed a spot on the podium.
Mattock bounced back with another brisk turnaround. With just an hour and a half to recover this time, Mattock was back with the 800-meters. He took seventh in the race a year ago and this season climb the podium two more places with a fifth-place showing.
“I felt really good,” Mattock said of his fifth-place medal. “Honestly, today was just a struggle to recover so I felt good.”
Mattock wasn’t the only member of the 4x800 team with more business to attend to. Dumke finished his day in the 3,200-meters — an event he didn’t even run varsity in last season as he was stuck behind Feuerbacher and Staples in the pecking order.
Dumke has been elevated to the top spot among the Maryville 3,200 runners this season and has not disappointed. The sophomore capped his season with a 6th-place finish in the two mile.
“With two amazing athletes like Zach and Caleb, I wasn’t able to participate, but finally being able to run at districts and sectionals and now at state and win a medal — it is just a huge accomplishment,” Dumke said. “I owe most all my training to Caleb, Will, Kizer, Staples and everyone on the team — and Bade most importantly. I have the best competition in the state from my own team and having that competition in practice every day has helped me improve every day. It is an asset you don’t everywhere else.”
Although Saturday marked the final races in a Spoofhound uniform for Mattock, he knows the legacy that runners like he, Sanders, Feuerbacher and Staple helped forge will be in good hands.
“Coach Bade does an excellent job of taking young athletes and obviously getting us into prime shape and ready to run,” Mattock said. “I have no concerns about the 4x8 carrying on after I’m gone.”
While Mattock certainly left his mark on the program, the program also left a mark on him.
“For me, it is everything,” Mattock said. “Many of the best memories of my life have come with this team. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had — I really recommend it for anyone out there.”
The Spoofhounds didn’t just add medals in the distance events.
Junior Carson Pistole added an eighth-place medal in the long jump with leap of 21 feet, 2.5 inches. He is the first male Spoofhound athlete to medal in a jumping event since Peyton Mizera in 2013.
“I was ranked 11th, so I wasn’t even supposed to make it to the finals,” Pistole said.
The jump was a new personal-best.
“Confidence and coach (Megan) Sole working with him,” Powell said of why Pistole has improved so much. “
With Pistole returning next year, he is already looking to build off the progress he made this season where he qualified for sectionals for the first time and was able to carry that momentum all the way to a state medal.
“The experience was great and I am hoping that I can get better than eighth, obviously, next year,” Pistole said.
Jacob Davenport was able to cap his junior season at the state meet with a 12th-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles and also looks poised to improve even further next season.
“He is just learning with the hurdles that you can’t run it perfect every time, but you just do the best you can every race,” Powell said.
Senior Treyton Paris ended his Spoofhound by participating in the pole vault.
“It is good to see someone who has focused so hard at that event make it down here,” Powell said. “That was really the biggest win for us.”