(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
FARMINGTON -- Sikeston senior Alex Clark received a bit of motivation from an unlikely source during the Class 3 sectional meet at Farmington on Saturday.
He overheard a comment made to another competitor that applied to his situation at the time.
"I actually looked at a Farmington guy and I think it was his dad telling him to 'run like a senior.'" Clark said. "It's my senior year too, so I was going to run like a senior. I knew I could beat him."
With butterflies in his stomach, which is a common thing according to him, Clark used that line, as well as the Bulldog's disappointing second place finish in the district tournament a week ago, as fuel for his best lap time in the 4x400-meter relay event.
"Personally, everybody was a little more hype than I was," Clark said. "I was kind of a little nervous. I still had a bunch of butterflies because they were telling me that this was a big one and we needed a good time.
"I always get butterflies. But once the gun goes off, it's over."
Clark's personal record time in his leg was appreciated the most by anchor Ismail Johnson, who put the exclamation point on what was a statement made by the Bulldogs.
Not only did they end up placing first in the 4x400, but they sent boy tracksters to state competition in a total of 11 events.
"I think we showed some people that we should have won that district last week," Sikeston head coach Terry Flannigan said. "We let it slip through our fingers. But today, when all of our horses are running we're pretty tough."
The Sikeston boys lost to the Farmington Knights at the Class 3, District 1 tournament at Hillsboro on May 15 by a final of 119 to 112.5. A disqualification in the 4x100 relay, one of the Bulldogs' events they lean on the most, was one of the factors in the second place finish.
"We got disqualified in the 4x100, that's one of our strongest races, so we all said, 'you know what, even though we lost one first place we can still win first in everything else,'" said Clark. "So, we just all gave it our all (on Saturday)."
Although sectionals is not a team event, the Bulldogs scored a total of 95 points; 27 points better than second place Farmington.
"When they read that off that kind of lit a fire under us," said Flannigan. "It felt good, especially finishing that mile relay like we did. That showed that they're still battling and not giving up."
Sikeston had a three first place finishes. The 4x400 squad of Tanner Bryant, Quentin Washington, Clark and Ismail Johnson, the 4x200 relay team of Washington, Clark, Martez Evans and Ismail Johnson as well as Trey Johnson in the long jump with a leap of 22-feet, 3-inches.
Trey Johnson's first place jump was his only recorded jump of the day. He scratched his remaining trys.
Darryl Howard finished second in both the long jump and triple jump, while Ray Clark finished fourth in the 100-meter dash. Ismail Johnson also ended second in the 400-meter dash as well.
"A couple of kids came in and didn't have good days, but they still battled and still managed to get out," Flannigan said. "For those who didn't make it, they still went out fighting and that's the way you've got to do it."
On the girls side, the Lady Bulldogs qualified for state in six events.
Sophomore Betsy Borgsmiller finished second in the high jump while Jalen Peet finished third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. Tyanne Townsend placed fourth in the 100-meter dash and Vonteria Applewhite finished fourth in the 200.
The 4x200 relay team of Applewhite, Frankasia Howard, Peet and Townsend finished fourth as well.
New Madrid County Central will be sending two athletes to state.
G'Darius Stevenson earned a trip with a third place finish in the 200-meter dash, while teammate Brittany Johnson finished third in the 100-meter hurdles.
"I'm glad that we're going to have practice next week," NMCC coach Dempsey Craft said. "We've got a couple going to state which is good for the kids and also good for the program. It always helps to have someone with that drive to get up there."
The Class 3 state competition will be held May 28 and 29 at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City.
Individual results from both Sikeston and NMCC are as followed. The top four finishers advanced to state.
High jump -- 5. Martez Evans (S), 6-0.
Long jump -- 1. Trey Lewis (S), 22-3; 2. Darryl Howard (S), 22-0.
Triple jump -- 2. Darryl Howard (S), 43-8; 4. Trey Lewis (S), 42-8.
Shot put -- 3. Josh Carlyle (S), 46-9. 5. Jarian Wims (S), 45-9 1/2
110 hurdles -- 2. Alex Clark (S), 15.21.
100 -- 4. Ray Clark (S) 11.54, 5. G'Darius Stevenson (N), 11.55.
800m relay -- 1. Sikeston (Quentin Washington, Alex Clark, Martez Evans, Tanner Bryant), 1:29.10.
400 -- 2. Ismail Johnson (S), 49.25
300 hurdles -- 4. Tanner Bryant (S), 41.13.
200 -- 3. G'Darius Stevenson (N), 23.27, 5. Ray Clark, 23.55.
1600m relay -- 1. Sikeston (Tanner Bryant, Quentin Washington, Alex Clark, Ismail Johnson), 3:24.69.
High jump -- 2. Betsy Borgsmiller (S), 5-2.
Long jump -- 4. Jalen Peet (S), 16-7, Tyanne Townsend (S), 16-2 3/4
Triple jump -- 3. Jalen Peet (S), 34-0 1/2
100 hurdles -- 3. Brittany Johnson (N), 16.27.
100 -- 4. Tyanne Townsend (S), 13.08, 6. Vontera Applewhite (S), 13.31; 7. Taylor Martin (D), 13.34.
800m relay -- 4. Sikeston (Vonteria Applewhite, Frankasia Howard, Jalen Peet, Tyanne Townsend), 1:47.32.
400m relay -- 6. Sikeston (Vonteria Applewhite, Frankasia Howard, Allisha Oglesby, Tyanne Townsend), 51.22; 8. NMCC (Ebonni Adway, Dasia Harrell, Brittany Johnson, Tameika Williams), 52.61.
300m hurdles -- 8. Brittany Johnson (N), 49.40.
200 -- 4. Vonteria Applewhite (S), 26.67, 7. Taylor Martin (D), 28.08.