(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
JEFFERSON CITY -- After slaying personal records and setting season-best times, the Sikeston track and field team is hoping to do the same Friday and Saturday.
Led by their jumpers, Sikeston will be sending 14 athletes to the Class 3 state meet in 11 different events at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City on the campus of Lincoln University.
"Jump City's back," Sikeston track coach Terry Flannigan said, referring to a nicknamed coined by former track coach Jerry Dement. "Coach Dement used to always call us that.
"We've always had jumpers and we're proud of them and their efforts."
Looking to claim her second straight state championship, four-time all-stater Betsy Borgsmiller is ranked second in the high jump behind Eldon's Sara Rhine, who eclipsed 5-7 during the Class 3, Sectional 3 meet.
Although she's been there before, the pressure is still there to perform.
"It adds a lot of pressure," Borgsmiller said about trying to repeat. "It's mainly me that is putting the pressure on, but I think I'm finally starting to get into the swing of things. I thought I had a tremendous week of practice last week, which I think helped a lot."
Borgsmiller won her event during sectionals with a jump of 5-6. She's seeded alongside Selina Kendall of Platte County who also hit that mark.
"She's getting to where she's starting to jump really well now," Flannigan said. "She came on slowly because of an injury and now I think she's ready to go 5-8 or more."
According to the seeds, Borgsmiller will need to hit 5-7 or 5-8 to possibly claim her second championship.
"I'm optimistic," said Borgsmiller. "Honestly, I don't think you should win it if you don't have to put up a fight. Last year, I was seeded first but I didn't even think in my head I would get first.
"I'm just ready to go no matter what the outcome."
Senior Jalen Peet qualified in two events -- the long and triple jump.
Peet captured first in the long jump with a personal best 17-11 3/4 leap. She claimed the last qualifying spot in the triple with a jump of 35 feet good enough for fourth place at sectionals.
"She's done a real good job all year in those two events," Flannigan said about Peet. "She's really been coming on as of late."
Allisha Oglesby also qualified in two events.
For the second year in a row, Oglesby advanced to state in the triple jump winning the event with a season-best jump of 36-6 1/2.
She was also part of Sikeston's qualifying 400-meter relay team.
Allisha Oglesby, Allante Oglesby, Brandy Peet and Chazeton Redd finished second at sectionals with a season-best time of 50.43.
"They really did well," Flannigan said about the 4x100 relay team. "We had an injury earlier in the year and slid (Brandy) Peet in to that mix and they've really took off from there."
Terry Jamison claimed first in the triple jump with a distance of 43-4 1/2. Jamison, a senior all-state jumper, has improved lately with his distances going from 40-inches, to 41 to 42 in successive tries.
Junior Kyland Gross qualified for state in the long jump with a season-best leap of 21-9 3/4 to claim first during sectionals.
"He's done a good job of jumping and running," Flannigan said about Gross. "Sometimes people don't understand how hard to do both is."
Gross is also part of Sikeston's two qualifying relay teams -- the 400 and 800-meter relays.
The 400-meter team of Gross, Steven Baker, Spenser Clark and Nick Nichols ran a season best 43.86 for a third place sectional finish.
"I'm going to try my best to get out," Gross said. "We're really close in our relay's. We'll try to get our handoffs down pat and get quicker times."
The same four also qualified in the 800-meter with a season's best 1:30.65.
"They've ran together all year," Flannigan said. "The other day, we didn't run very well in either of those relays and we got out. We know we didn't run very well so we're looking for something great to happen out of that group."
Sikeston's 1600-meter relay team of Nichols, Baker, Zach Harrison and Marquez Newman took second place with yet another season-best time of 3:26.25.
"We shaved about four and a half seconds off and we think we can do a little more," Flannigan said. "If we can do that, we'll be right in the mix."
Senior Keldon Warfield is seeded seventh in the 110-meter hurdles after a third place finishing time of 15.37.
"In that event, we're talking one-stride difference between seventh and third," Flannigan said. "Anything can happen there."
This is Warfield's second year qualifying in the 110 hurdles.
"I've been running pretty good," Warfield said. "I'm going to try my best to make it out of the prelims and do something in the finals."
Although they feature just 14 competitors (eight boys and six girls), Sikeston feels they have a legitimate chance of making noise for a team championship. Although, they will need everyone's best to do it.
Sikeston's girls tied for third in the sectional with 47 points.
"I think it's pretty awesome, especially with the low numbers the girls have had to deal with this year," Borgsmiller said. "We've just been working our butts off and competing like it's our state meet, every meet.
"I'm proud. Whenever I found out we got third as a team Saturday that blew my mind."
The boys finished fourth with a total of 65 points.
"We've had a small team this year, but we still feel like we've accomplished a lot," Warfield said. "We're going to try our best (as a team). We think we can do a good job up there."
Also in Class 3, New Madrid County Central shot putter Rashaunda Summers qualified for state with a second place throw of 39-7 3/4.