POPLAR BLUFF -- Last year the Sikeston boys track and field team was winning the SEMO North Conference Track Meet heading into the last race of the day, before Poplar Bluff took the race and the meet by four points.
On Friday, Sikeston made sure history didn't repeat itself as the Bulldogs outscored Poplar Bluff 89.5-80 to take the SEMO North Conference Title, their first since 1991. Cape Central finished third with 68.5 points followed by Jackson with 34.
"It was a good day for us," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "Poplar Bluff has an outstanding team and we've finished right behind them the last few years and it was nice to come up and get them this year.
"I am very pleased with the way we ran today. We had some of our best performances today and we had some kids really come out of nowhere for us."
One who didn't come out of nowhere was Felonte Larry, who finished first in three events and nearly anchored the 4 x 200 relay team to a win losing by four-hundredths of a second to Cape Central.
Larry did take top honors in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.13; long jump with a jump of 22'5 1/2; and triple jump with a distance of 43'8 1/2."
"(Felonte's) had an outstanding year for us," Dement said. "He's only lost one time all season. The long jump is his best event but he has really been improving in the triple jump and the 100. He also runs a leg for us on the 4x200 relay team that is really good for a Class 3 school. He's had a fine season as have a lot of his teammates."
One of those teammates, Tyler Woodson, took first place in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.71 and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.15.
Clay Lincoln took first in the 3200-meter run, finishing in 10:39.18 while Thomas Elery won the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.79.
"Thomas Elery really ran well tonight in the 200 as well as in the relays for us," Dement said.
One reason for the Sikeston win was the depth of the team, scoring points in every event on the day.
"We're finally getting to where we point in just about every event and that has really been our goal," Dement said. "Our team has really been willing to sacrifice some individual rewards for the good of the team and that is really pleasing to see as a coach."
Dement was also quick to note the hard work put in by his assistant coaches, Chris Hodgkiss, Brad Blackman, Gary Williams, Chad King and Terry Flanigan.
"My assistants have done a fine job," Dement said. "Each has their area they work on and each event has really improved as the season has went on. I am very fortunate to have assistants that are knowledgeable and they are doing a great job."
On the girls side, Jackson took first place with 107 points followed by Cape Central (91 points), Poplar Bluff (48) and Sikeston (23).
"We're in a tough conference with Jackson and Cape but we're getting better, even though the score may not indicate it," Dement said.
The Lady Bulldogs were once again forced to compete without one of their top point-getters. Rachael Vining is nursing an injured ankle. Dement said she will, however, participate in the upcoming district meet.
"I think once the girls go up against teams the same size I think they are going to do better," Dement said. "They have had a good attitude and are working hard."
Up next for Sikeston is the Class 3, District 1 meet which will be held Saturday in Cape Girardeau. The Bulldogs will be looking for their fourth consecutive district title.
"Tonight was our springboard for districts," Dement said. "If the kids keep working I think we will do well next weekend."
CHARLESTON -- The Dexter girls track and field team finished a close second to the Notre Dame girls Friday evening in the SEMO South Conference Championships.
Notre Dame won the event with 173 points, followed by Dexter (150 points), New Madrid County Central (63), Kennett (50), Caruthersville (46) and Charleston (23).
Dexter had nine first place finishes on the day with Taylor Nelson winning the shot put and discus events with throws of 34'8" and 97'9." Freshman Ashley Baugus won the 1600-meter run with a time of 6:03.13 and the 3200-meter run with a time of 13:34.
Hannah Burleson, coming off of a knee injury, also had two first place finishes in the 100-meter dash (12.65) and 200-meter dash (26.77).
In the boys division, New Madrid County Central finished a distant third to a deep Notre Dame team.
Notre Dame won the event with 174 points, followed by Kennett (115.5), NMCC (109), Charleston (57), Dexter (44) and Caruthersville (39.5).