WESTON, Mo. — There were plenty of smiles around the track on Saturday as West Platte hosted the Class 1 Sectional 3 track and field meet. Some of the biggest came from the high-jump competition.
North Nodaway sophomore Saryn Brown and Northeast Nodaway freshman Baylie Busby were each the lone representatives from their schools at the sectionals, but each earned the right to keep representing her school next week by qualifying for the MSHSAA Class 1 State Championships on Friday and Saturday in Jefferson City.
Brown came into Saturday looking to improve off last week’s third-place showing at districts. The Mustang standout did just that by winning the sectional meet with a new personal best of 1.51 meters (4-foot-11.5).
“It was really satisfying, because I worked a lot on it this week,” Brown said. “Going out there and being able to prove that I have gotten better meant a lot to me.”
The sophomore even stuck the landing of her winning jump over Concordia senior Cate Cooper. Brown landed on the edge of the mat after clearing the bar and was a blue to spin in one motion to her feet. Knowing that she had won the event and would be making her first trip to state, she immediately raced forward to celebrate with coach Lindsi Jackson.
Jackson and Brown’s celebration was not the first of the day in the long jump. Just minutes earlier, it was Bluejay assistant coach Sheldon Saxton who got to give Busby the news she’s been hoping to get all season. It was simple message: “You’re going to state.”
“Excited,” Busby said of going to state. “I’m pretty enthusiastic about it.”
Busby, Santa Fe’s Emma Michael and St. Paul Lutheran’s Adrien Martens all went out at 1.47 meters. It was going to come down to scratches and Saxton asked the judge who was going on. The answer was Martens and Busby. Saxton and Busby high-fived and celebrated.
Saxton quickly pointed Busby to the fence around the track to where Michael was dealing with being on the outside looking in. Busby quickly went over and talked with Michael briefly while both girls smiled.
Brown and Busby will be among the first athletes competing on Friday as the high jump is one of the first three events with a 9:30 a.m. start.
“It is going to be really fun to go and get that experience,” Brown said.
Platte Valley will bring the largest contingent of girls in the area. With only five girls on the team, four were able to qualify for state.
“We are small but mighty I guess you could say,” Platte Valley junior Kayley Hauber said.
Juniors Andrea Riley and Hauber led the way by each qualifying in two events. Riley was 2-for-2 with a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter run and a fourth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run.
Hauber had as busy of a day as anyone at sectionals — competing in four events. She was able to qualify for state in the triple jump and 100-meter dash — taking fourth in each.
“It is just so good to be able to make it out in two of the four,” Hauber said. “It is a really good feeling.”
The shot put will be a focal point for Platte Valley at state with Maggie Collins and Jenna Mason each qualifying — finishing third and fourth respectively.
“That is amazing for Jenna,” Platte Valley coach Amy Holtman said of the first-time qualifier. “She has worked so hard and she has such a positive attitude.”
The loaded shot-put field hurt Nodaway Valley’s Ava Graham who took sixth while the Thunder 4x200-meter relay team of Paige Hanson, Savanna Marriott, Paidyn Linville and Reganne Fast took fifth. Fortunately, the Thunder girls will have more chances to make state with all five sectional qualifiers being freshmen.