(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
On the boys side, the Bulldogs will be competing in 11 different events and will sending 10 different athletes.
Senior Paige Kaiser and sophomore Traci Jackson are the only girl qualifiers as Kaiser made it in the pole vault and Jackson in the 800 meter run.
With the Bulldogs competing in so many different events, head coach Jerry Dement is hoping his team can challenge heavily favored Kansas City Central for the boys team state championship.
"That's our ultimate goal -- that's been these kids' goal the last several years, to try to win a state championship," said Dement. "We're getting closer all the time and it looks like this year is our best chance in the last several to do it. Not only do we have a good number of events going up there but we've got good quality people going in them. If we have a good day it looks like we've got a chance to point and place. That's something that's very hard to do. Our kids have earned it. They've had a fantastic season so far and we want to cap it off with a very good showing at Jefferson City."
Sikeston finished in fifth place in last year's state meet and seventh the year before. Only the top four teams receive a plaque at the state championships.
While a state championship is the goal, Dement is hoping -- worst-case scenario -- the team can bring home a plaque.
"Obviously there is some very, very good competition --
especially Kansas City Central, who has a tremendous team," said Dement. "We're probably rated second right now with Ladue and Jennings being pretty strong as well. We're very excited about our chances of doing well and hopefully our kids will give a showing that they'll like."
For the boys, Felante Larry leads the way by qualifying in four different events, the long and triple jumps, 100 meter dash and the 4 x 200 meter relay.
The Bulldogs' 4 x 200 team, with Larry, Quinton Lamb, Brandon Williams and Thomas Elery, is seeded second behind Vashon.
Larry is a returning all-stater in the long jump after a fourth place finish last year. He also ran legs on the Bulldogs' all-state 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays.
Lamb is qualified in three events with the 200, 400 and 4 x 200 relay. Lamb is a returning qualifier in the 400 meters. Tyler Woodson is qualified in the 110 high hurdles, 300 meter intermediate hurdles and the 4 x 100 meter relay.
Woodson was all-state in the 110 hurdles last year with a seventh place finish.
Elery is qualified in three events with the 200 meters, and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays.
Elery ran legs on both all-state relays last year.
Clay Lincoln is a returning all-stater in the 1600 meter run after a sixth place finish last year as a freshman.
Williams is running on the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays and Apollo Patterson is a member of the 4 x 100 relay. Both ran as alternates last year.
Andy Croxford is a first time qualifier in the shot put. Jackson is also a first time qualifier.
Larry, Elery and Williams, all juniors, are now competing in their third state championships. Woodson, Lamb, Lincoln, Patterson and Kaiser are all making their second trip.
The returning experience gives Dement the impression that his kids should be over any nerves they might have about the event.
"The main thing we've got going up there is experience and these guys can handle the pressure of running in front of all those people," said Dement.
"Hopefully the schedule we've had this year, which has been a very challenging one against top-notch competition, will prepare us for running against the state's best in our class. We've tried to set ourselves up to give a good showing and I think we will."