by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley girls track and field team had a field day.
That’s because the Eagles had a lot of success at its home meet, The Grain Valley Invitational Thursday and Moody Murry Memorial Field.
The Eagles had four winners in the seven field events, which helped them take second place in their home meet with 143 points. Lee’s Summit West won with 162 points.
“This was an absolute team effort,” Grain Valley girls track coach Brian Winckler said. “Lee’s Summit West is extremely good. Jesse Griffin does a great job with those kids. Any time you can be anywhere near them in a meet is very humbling.”
And that success from the team was highlighted by a throw from Grain Valley sophomore McKenah Sears, who broke the meet record and set her personal best throw by two meters with a winning toss of 43.96 meters. She currently ranks 11th in the nation in the event.
“It’s really cool to break the record here,” Sears said. “I broke the school record last year. I have been working on getting my penultimate down and getting my back foot facing forward instead of a 90 degree angle. This time I didn’t do a great job of it but I am still working on it.”
Joining Sears as field event winners were three competitors who won their events for the first time in 2022.
Freshman Alyssa Carver missed breaking the school record by 6 inches, but she still won the pole vault with a height of 3.05 meters.
“It’s exciting, especially because I am a freshman,” Carver said. “My outdoor PR (personal record is (10 feet, 6 inches), and that’s the school record, so I am right there.”
Caton Day was competing with her own teammate, Kayla Gallagher, for first place in the high jump. Day ended up edging her out with a height of 1.52 meters. Gallagher was second with a jump of 1.47 meters.
“It felt really good to finally finish first,” Day said. “I am really proud of Kayla. She had a great meet and she has been really good this season. It feels good to do this at a home meet.”
In the discus, senior Jordan Huber had a meet to remember as she won with a throw of 33.81 meters.
“I am just looking to better myself and get back to my PR,” Huber said. “I have been working on my first step a lot and trying not to over rotate. I am also working on my release, keeping my chest up and my arm kind of flat.”
Other Eagles to finish in the top three of field events were Katie Hattey in the javelin (third, 31.10 meters), Emma Jane Ogle in the long jump (third, 5.02 meters) and Megan Prestia in the pole vault (third, 2.75 meters).
Like Sears, senior Avery Huffman broke a meet record, finishing first in the 400-meter run with a time of 59.42 seconds. She was also a part of the 4x200 meter relay team with Reagan Fisher, Emma Ogle and Madison Rogers that took third (1:47.34). She teamed with those same athletes in the 4x400 relay in which the Eagles took second with a time of 4:08.22.
“We had PRs all around for our whole team, so it was a good day,” Huffman said.
Other track runners to finish in the top three were Ella Casey in the 1,600-meter run (second, 5:25.99) and Emma Ogle in the 300-meter hurdles (third, 47.46 seconds).
Grain Valley boys take third
On the boys side, the Eagles took third with 96 points, 66 behind first-place Lee’s Summit West.
They were led by Mason McCain, who was motivated to win the 800-meter run after he scratched in the 1,600.
“Mason did a great job in the 800,” Grain Valley boys track coach Erik Stone said. “It was a perfect night for it, hearly any wind at all. Kind of cool but not too cool. It was his first race of the day, so he was fresh.
“Our pole vault results bumped us up to third place from fifth. We had some strong events at the end.”
McCain took first in the 800 with a time of 1:56.98, which was a meet record.
“I definitely had some extra motivation to come in and win the 800,” he said. “Since I didn’t have the mile under my legs, I wanted to push the pace and tried to get the school record. I missed it by milliseconds.”
Grain Valley’s all-state sprinter, Logan Pratt, only ran in the 100 because of a calf injury in his left leg. He finished third in 11.04 seconds.
Pratt said he hopes to be healthy enough to race in the Park Hill meet next week.
“It’s been an ongoing thing,” Pratt said. ‘I did the 100 to see how it was going to feel. It hurt when I was running so I just shut it down for the day.”
Other Grain Valley boys to finish in the top three of their events were the 4x800 relay team of Nathan Allen, Cylas Brewer, Rylan Smith and Kendall Butler (third, 8:30.64); Carson Hill in the 3,200 (second, 9:53.74); Jonathan Tipton in the pole vault (second, 3.79 meters); and Tyler Melton in the triple jump (third, 12.04 meters).
Grain Valley senior Avery Huffman broke the meet record in the Grain Valley Invitational in 400-meter run with a time of 59.42 seconds.
Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley freshman Alyssa Carver won the pole vault event at the Grain Valley Invitational with a height of 3.05 meters.
Photo credit: Michael Smith