MEEKER | And that’s a wrap! The 2019 track season is over and the Meeker Cowboys showed up ready to compete in Lakewood for the final meet, laying down some of their best performances to date.
“State track went really well for us on both the boys’ and the girls’ side. The coaching staff and I were really pleased with how the boys and girls team ended up this season,” said head coach John Strate.
The boys had no one returning to state that had previously placed and only one relay team returning. Overall the boys’ team ended up ninth at the state meet. Strate credits the additional scoring of the team to the pole vault program. “Our growing pole vault program gained us some points with two of our four qualifiers making the podium.” Kelton Turner tied the school record with his vault of 12 feet 6 inches. Cooper Main placed ninth and earned some additional team points.
The boys sent three relay teams who “had some great senior leadership from Tannen Kennedy and Andy Kracht,” Strate said. “Kennedy ran great legs in the 4×400-meter relay that really put us back into the race in both the prelims and the finals; both boys kept everyone focused on the task at hand over the weekend.”
Jeremy Woodward had an excellent meet; he qualified for the triple jump in 16th place and ended up taking second. “It was fun to watch him step up when the pressure was on,” said Strate.
“The Cowboys have a bright future,” coach Strate said of the boys’ team. “[With] most of the scoring coming from freshman and sophomores, next year will be exciting”
The lady Cowboys ended up fourth overall, and just 10 points off second place. Gracie Bradfield was the top individual scorer over the weekend for both the boys and girls. Bradfield set new personal bests in every individual race she ran: 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash.
“To see Bradfield’s hard work over the last four years pay off with two new school records at the state meet along with all the scoring was so exciting,” Strate said.
Bradfield improved her time in the 400 dash by eight-tenths of a second, the 200 dash by a half a second, and the 100 dash by three-tenths of a second.
“Bradfield bringing her best when it mattered the most is a result of her dedication to the weight room, summer technique work and all the hard practices over the last four years,” said Strate. “To see her and fellow senior Megan Shelton end their high school track and field careers on top of the podium in the 4×100-meter relay was the perfect ending.”
The girls’ relays also had some underclassmen on the team. Two of the four legs on the winning 4×100 relay were freshmen. Savannah Mendenhall ran the first leg out of the blocks in a high-pressure situation, and Sarah Kracht ran her best leg of the year to put Bradfield in a great position to close out the race, taking first place by more than half a second.
The 4×400 relay of Karlee Nielsen, Mendenhall, Julia Dinwiddie and Kirsten Brown also made the podium.
“This group of all underclassmen gained valuable experience and will compete at a high level next year; the future looks bright for Meeker Cowboy track and field,” Strate said.
The girls’ field events were also very successful, Megan Shelton had a stellar throw her final time in the discus ring as a Meeker Cowboy, placing third. Sydnie Main limped her way into the ring to throw 118 feet in the discus to take fourth overall.
“The guts she showed to go out there and compete even when she was not her best was inspiring,” said Strate.
Shelton took sixth place in shot put throwing 35 feet 3.5 inches and Main finished 10th; missing the podium by one-half inch.
Kenzie Turner finished off her career vaulting an inch below her personal best and finishing fifth in some of the strongest 2A girls pole vault competition in recent history.
“As I have commented earlier,” Strate said, “this year Turner is a determined athlete. Her leadership will be missed next season as she worked hard and became such a student of the pole vault.”
Strate would like to thank “all of the assistant coaches that give so much time for our kids and track program. They were all there supporting our kids at the state meet; without these people that give so much time there is no way our kids would have the success they did.”
Assistant coaches for the Meeker Cowboy 2019 track season are Kris Casey, Greg Cravens, Hallie Blunt, Shane Phelan, Terrence Casias, Marki Grant, Kirk Hossack, Coley Turner and Heather Burke.
By Tiffany Jehorek | Special to the Herald Times