Aidan Grant

Festus senior Aidan Grant clears the bar in the pole vault at the Class 4 District 1 championships at Festus on Saturday. Grant won the district title with a height of 3.96 meters.

Simpson, a senior at West Plains, won the state Class 4 cross country individual championship last November. Exactly 16 seconds behind him, in second place, was Festus sophomore Cullen Krieg. The Tigers packed four more runners in the top 37 to win their seventh straight state championship, with Simpson’s Zizzers taking third place.

The two schools dueled again Saturday at the Class 4 District 1 meet in Festus, with the Tigers chasing Simpson on the oval this time.   

The Zizzer standout held off the other Festus super sophomore, Ian Schram (ninth at state cross country) in the 1,600, clocking 4:18.32 to Schram’s second-place time of 4:19.28. Krieg ran a PR in third place at 4:20.65. Windsor senior Bradley Ahrens, 25th at state cross country, grabbed the fourth and final sectional slot in the 1,600 in 4:27.62.

“It was a blazer from the early stages, but when we had 800 meters to go, that’s really when Riley dropped the hammer,” Schram said. “I had to give it everything I had. I was still tired from running the 3,200, not taking anything from Riley, he had run in three events already. I have a whole lot of respect for him. He’s amazing.”

Simpson also prevailed in the 3,200 in 9:23.02, holding off Krieg, second in 9:25.62. Showing the depth of distance running talent in the county, Festus junior Jacob Meyers placed third in 9:57.25 and De Soto junior William Kaempfe was fourth in 9:58.16.

Simpson and Krieg went at it again in the 800, but this time Krieg’s speed made the difference and he broke away after the final turn to win in 1:59.31, another personal best. Simpson was second in 2:00.47 and Meyers third in 2:00.91. De Soto senior Kaden Voyles made the sectional cut, finishing fourth in 2:01.61.

“I think that was Riley’s fourth event of the day and when you’re a little fresher, you have to go after him and run your best race and see how he responds and Cullen ran a great race,” Festus head coach Chris Partney said.

With the distance crew again leading the Tigers, Festus won the district title with 156 points and qualified for sectionals in 14 of 19 events, while West Plains finished second with 142. De Soto was sixth with 62 points and the Owls placed seventh with 57.

“I’m real proud of our team,” said Partney, whose squad had lost the Jefferson County Activities Association boys title by two points to Hillsboro two weeks earlier. “Our distance kids are the backbone of the program, but we were winning district championships today in field events, all around the track, sprints and relays. This is a balanced team and they proved that today.

“West Plains is a juggernaut and I saw some things that said they’d win this district meet by 30 points. That could have happened very easily. They will be a player at the state championships.”

Festus got some of its field points from sophomore Arhmad Branch, a standout on the basketball team this winter. He came in second in the triple jump (12.91 meters) and third in the long jump (6.17 meters) and was part of the 4x200 relay with Kaian Roberts-Day, Cayse Martin and Reece Johnson, that was fourth in 1:34.08.

“We’re going to see big things out of him his last two years,” Partney said. “He’s got his sights set on our long and triple jump records.”

Johnson also is going to sectionals in the 100 (fourth, 11.54) and the 200 (fourth, 23.61). Roberts-Day was second in the 110 hurdles in 15.98.

Festus had several other sectional qualifiers do well in the field events. Senior Aidan Grant won the pole vault (3.96 meters) and teammate Austin Johnson, a sophomore, tied for second at 3.41. Seniors Lucas Smith (second, 13.51) and Austin Anderson (fourth, 13.25) made it in the shot put. Anderson won the javelin with a throw of 45.39.

Joining Ahrens at sectionals for Windsor are junior Alex Julian, who was third in the 110 hurdles in 17.17 and fourth in the 300 hurdles in 44.51. Julian and Ahrens teamed with senior Joseph McCrory and junior Logan Chaney to finish second in the 4x400 in 3:33.04, three-tenths of a second behind champion West Plains. McCrory was second in the high jump in 1.78 and Owl junior Aidan Ciuffa pole-vaulted 3.51 meters, good for fourth place.

“That was one of his better jumps of the season on a cool, rainy day,” Windsor boys head coach Jeff Stoffey said of McCrory. “He was hurt the first month of the season and he’s turned it on lately. Alex ran the best he’s run in weeks.”

De Soto’s sectional qualifiers on the track are Kaden Voyles (fourth, 800, 2:01.61) and all four relay teams: 4x100 (fourth, 44.94), 4x200 (third, 1:32.10); 4x400 (fourth, 3:36.85) and 4x800  (fourth, 8:38.66). In the field, junior Cody Petty was third in the triple jump in 12.75, junior Timothy Harmon was third in the shot put in 13.38 and fourth in the discus in 38.17 and senior Dominic Punjani was fourth in the javelin in 41.87.

Dragon girls finish second

West Plains won the District 1 girls title with 158 points. De Soto came in second with 116 and Festus was third with 102. Windsor placed eighth with 28 points.

Senior Erika Mellor has been chasing down school records for the Dragons in the 400 and the 800 since her sophomore year, when she was fifth in the state in Class 4 in the 800. Aimie Marshall holds the De Soto record in the 400 in 59.16 and Justa Dahl remains the fastest Dragon in the 800 in 2:20.

On Saturday, Mellor won the 400 in 59.25 and was second in the 800 in 2:25.18. She also ran a leg in De Soto’s winning 4x200 relay (1:47.96) with seniors Taylor Jones and Stephany Latham and sophomore Meghan Mellor, her younger sister.

Junior Trista Grobe won the javelin for the Dragons with a throw of 39.94. Grobe also will go to sectionals in the discus after finishing third in 29.70.

De Soto junior Jill Heath advanced out of districts in the 100 hurdles (second, 16.74) and as champion in the 300 hurdles in 49.95. She was sixth in the triple jump and javelin.

The other sectional qualifiers for the Dragons were Meghan Mellor (third, 200, 27.56); junior Kayla Vogelsang (third, 1,600, 5:26.13; fourth, 3,200, 11:46.58); 4x400 relay (second, 4:12.68); 4x800 relay (third, 10:38.35) and Latham (fourth, triple jump, 10.15).

A pair of sophomores won district championships for Festus. Alexis Biehle was first in the 200 in 27.28 and Ella Shy took the pole vault in 3.09. Shy also is going to sectionals in the 100 hurdles after finishing third in 16.76. Biehle is running in the Tiger 4x100 quartet with juniors Kinsey Benack and Sophie Nolen and freshman Gabbi Burkard, who were fourth in 51.89, and on the 4x200 team with Benack, Burkard and freshman Angela Bloodworth, that came in third in 1:51.12. Nolen tied for second in the pole vault in 2.74 and was fourth in the long jump in 4.76. Benack placed fourth in the 100 in 13.24.

A Festus quartet of freshman Livia Barnett, sophomore Lauren Hartman, junior Molly McDaniel and senior Demi White came in fourth in the 4x800 in 10:44.97.

Tiger sophomore Kayla Roberts-Day won the shot put with a throw of 10.22 and her teammate, freshman Ciara McDonald, was fourth in the javelin in 31.20. Festus sophomore Dari White finished third in the 3,200 in 11:41.65.

Windsor sophomore Sophia Dubis claimed the high jump district title with a leap of 1.58. Dubis also competed in the triple jump and 100 hurdles.

“Sophia’s had a great season,” Windsor girls head coach Stephany Dueker said. “She’s progressed in the hurdles and has done well in the triple jump. She’s now a district champion in the high jump and we’re very excited about her prospects for next week. I think she can do even better.”

Windsor’s other sectional qualifier was the 4x200 team of seniors Madison Ealey and Sydney Winkelmann, sophomore Madelyn Mancuso and her sister, freshman Adrianna Mancuso, coming in fourth in 1:52.29, a season-best by 2.5 seconds.

Sectionals are at Park Hills Central on Saturday. The Class 4 state meet is scheduled for Friday, May 28, at Pete Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

Class 1 Sectional 1

at South Callaway May 15

(top four finishers qualify for state)


Crystal City results

High jump: 4. Kanden Bolton, 1.72-meter


Crystal City results

100-meter: 4. Lexi Thurman, Crystal City, 13.62

Class 2 Sectional 1

at South Callaway May 15

(top four finishers qualify for state)


Individual county results

Long jump: 2. Cole Seek, St. Pius X, 6.37-meter

Triple jump: 1. Cole Seek, St. Pius X, 13.30

Discus: 3. Nate Ruble, St. Pius X, 42.75


Individual county results

800: 1. Rita Eimer, St. Pius X, 2:28.99

1,600: 2. Rita Eimer, St. Pius X, 5:48.83

3,200: 1. Rita Eimer, St. Pius X, 12:04.51

High jump: 3. Kyla Allen, Jefferson,1.48-meter; 4. Laney Smith, Jefferson, 1.44

Triple jump: 2. Laney Smith, Jefferson, 10.48

Shot put: 2. Hanna Burch, St. Pius X, 10.57; 4. Catryn Cattoor, Jefferson, 10.49

Discus: 1. Catryn Cattoor, Jefferson, 37.47

Class 3 District 1

at Ste. Genevieve May 15

(top four finishers qualify for sectionals)


Herculaneum results: 1. 130 points

Individual Herculaneum results

High jump: 4. Emmasue Eberhardt, 1.32-meter

Discus: 2. D’Anna Harvey, 29.34

4x800-meter relay: 2. 10:59.32

100: 2. Lyndsey Bray, 13.39

4x200: 2. 1:52.82

1,600: 2. Raven Vance, 5:30.92

400: 2. Maria Castillo-Orellana, 1:06.07; 3. Camila Moore, 1:06.67

800: 3. Raven Vance, 2:30.71

200: 3. Maria Castillo-Orellana, 28.60

3,200: 3. Laura Maddox, 12:45.85

4x400: 4. 4:26.70


Herculaneum results: 3. 95 points

Individual Herculaneum results

Pole vault: 3. Michael Moloney, 3.50-meter

Discus: 1. Josh Moreland, 41.91

Shot put: 2. Josh Moreland, 14.85

110-meter hurdles: 3. Dallin Fuller, 16.69

100: 2. Lucas Bahr, 11.88; 4. Logan Petri, 11.95

4x100-meter relay: 4. 46.11

400: 4. Austin Jackson, 54.10

300 hurdles: 4. Dallin Fuller, 44.14

800: 4. Damian Luther, 2:08.08