After a successful District meet last weekend, the Festus Girls Track team sent 10 events to West Plains High School to compete in the Class 4 Sectional 1 track meet. The top four finishers from Saturdays earn the opportunity to compete at next weekend’s MSHSAA state meet at Jefferson City High School. At the end of the day, Festus had 5 such events advance.
Junior jumper Abby McMillin was the first to earn her trip to state. As she has done all year, McMillin was consistent and reliable in her preferred event- the triple jump. Abby finished 3rd in a tough field with jumps that were near season best performances. Later in the afternoon, she would also advance in the long jump with a fourth place finish.
Alexa Sumpter, also a junior, will be joining McMillin in Jefferson City next weekend. Alexa has established herself as one of the top throwers in the area over the last two seasons, but used Saturday afternoon’s discus competition to break out in a big way. Sumpter added 14 feet to her discus personal record while also finishing in a state qualifying third place. Sumpter’s throw of over 134 feet is believed to be in the top three in school history. Sumpter also competed in shot put later in the afternoon, finishing 7th place.
The Tiger 4x800m relay team of Maddie Welsh, Demi White, Sophia Leftwich, and Melissa Wolk finished in 4th place, one second off their season best time. With the rich tradition of the Festus distance program, returning the relay back to the state meet has been a season long goal and one that couldn’t have been accomplished without the senior leadership of Welsh and Wolk. Both made the trip after arriving in West Plains shortly after midnight after attending their senior scholarship night. Maddie’s opening leg showed no signs of exhaustion, nor did Melissa’s anchor leg.
Freshman Allison Faerber spent approximately six hours getting updates on her teammates from the confines and shade of the team tent. Limiting trips outside was needed to avoid the warm conditions as she waitied for the 3200m run, which is the last individual event of the day. With the support of her teammates, Allison’s discipline and focused paid off as she finished fourth place, giving her the opportunity to compete at the state meet as a Freshman.
Despite coming up short of the goals to advance to the state meet, the Tigers left Saturday afternoon with several notable performances:
The 4x100m relay team of Abby Rickermann, Bria Garmon, Jenna Oetting, and Kinsey Benack finished 5th place, one spot away from qualifying for state. It was the first season for each of these athletes with the sprint program and all but Oetting return in 2020. Saturday’s time was a full second faster than their previous best performance.
Kinsey Benack, a freshman, finished 5th place in the 100m dash, one tenth of a second behind her season’s best. The race was ran with a strong headwind.
Abby Williams, for the second consecutive week established a new PR in the pole vault and finished 6th place. Abby has added 1.5 feet to her PR this season and now ranks #3 on the All-Time list of Festus vaulters. She will head into her senior season as one of the top vaulters in our area.
The Tigers will leave Thursday morning to travel to Jefferson City for Friday and Saturday’s State meet. Each of the five qualifying events has a strong opportunity to bring home All-State honors.