EL DORADO SPRINGS TRACK TEAM LEAVES MARK ON THE CLASS 3 MISSOURI STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS – by Brian Goatley. The Missouri Class 3 State Track and Field Championships were held on Saturday, May 29, with the 13 members of the El Dorado Springs high school track team in attendance. From the Sectional meet the week before, the Girls team had qualified in two events for the State meet, Hannah Klaiber in the 800 meter run, and the 4×800 meter relay, consisting of Morgan Mitchell, Colbie Wood, Jordanne Steuck and Hannah Klaiber.. The boys team had qualified 6 more events to the State meet which were: Daelen Ackley in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs,Collin Hunter in pole vault, Jalen Julian in the high jump, and the boys 4×800 meter relay, consisting of Lunden Messick, Brice Knoll, Connor Goatley, and Daelen Ackley. This year, the meet, which would normally take place over two days with Class 3, 4, and 5 all together, was moved to just a one day meet, with Class 5 going on Thursday, Class 4 on Friday and Class 3 on Saturday over safety concerns with everything going on right now.

On the girls side of things, the 4 x 800 got things started. The girls 4 x 800 finished the season with their top time of the year running in a time of 10:39.30, leaving them with a 10th place finish, just two spots out of an all-state position. They finished the season giving their best effort. Then Hannah Klaiber’s turn came up in the 800 meter run. Hannah got boxed in early in the race and had to do some work to get out, but still was close enough to give herself a shot with her incredible kick, and that is exactly what happened. Hannah moved through the traffic in the last 150 meters to find herself in 5th place with a school record breaking time of 2:23.74. This gave her All-State honors. She capped off a good day and a good season for the girls team.

On the boys side of things, Daelen got things started off to a good start, finishing with a gold medal, 1st place finish in the 3200 meter run, breaking his own school record with a time of 9:13.71. The boys 4 x 800 meter relay then went on to run their best race of the year, placing 6th and adding 3 points to the team total, with a time of 8:24.04, just 2 seconds shy of a 43 year old school record. Collin Hunter, in the boys pole vault, was next up on the schedule for the boys team. Collin came in dreaming big. He had been riding a pretty good wave of confidence coming into the State meet. As the bar kept rising, he kept clearing, soaring to a school record breaking height of 14’4.5” to finish the season on a high note with a state championship in the pole vault, adding 10 points to the boys team total.

Next up on the schedule was Jalen Julian in the boys high jump. Jalen Julian came into this season with extremely high expectations and was jumping really well early on. Then injuries plagued him and we first started off with a calf injury and then as we were getting over that, he then messed up his back, requiring him to pull out of the SBU Relays early and then not being able to compete in our conference meet. Despite the adversity, he was able to qualify through from districts to sectionals and was beginning to feel better and getting more practice time and then was able to qualify for the State meet. That was a win. However, despite the height being there, his timing was off a little and he finished with a 14th place finish, just one or two heights out of an all-state position. Jalen was an inspiration this year, though, fighting through all of the adversity he faced and still doing it with such a positive attitude. Couldn’t be happier and prouder for him being able to qualify to the state meet his senior year and being able to finish at the highest level.

Next up for the boys was Daelen in the 1600 meter run. With Daelen’s busy schedule, Daelen didn’t want to push the pace but take what the race provided, and just do what was necessary to get the job done. The 1600 took off in a slower pace through the first 2 laps, then the pace during the second half of the race began to pick up and found Daelen fighting off a charge by Southern Boone Country runner, Connor Burns, to get Daelen’s second victory of the day with a time of 4:22.11, just edging Connor by 2 tenths of a second. I bring up Connor, as Connor played a huge part in all 3 of Daelen’s open races. Then Daelen came to the boys final event of the day, the 800 meter run. Running the 4 longest races on a same day meet at such a highly competitive level for all 4 races is an extremely tough feat and one that is rarely done. When we came into the day, we knew that there was a possibility that as a team, we could bring home one of the top 4 team trophies but never dreamed of the reality of a potential team championship. We had led the standings most of the day, but shortly before Daelen’s 800, another team had moved ahead of us by 8 points. So with Daelen really wanting to not only compete as an individual, but also have success as a team, we made him aware of the situation that we would need the 10 point victory to put ElDo, as a team, back up front, and he answered. Daelen, in uncomfortable fashion, let the pace go out slow through the first 600, but was able to break out of the large group with about 180 meters left, following Connor Burns into the final stretch, where they both fought it out all the way down the final stretch, with Daelen finally getting some separation and holding off a final,late charge by East Newton’s Kelton Sorrel, to eak out the win and complete the trifecta. As a result, we saw El Dorado Springs back at the top of the leaderboard, just sitting and waiting to see our fate. As the final event was rolling onto the track, we were beginning to realize that the teams involved, were far enough back that our total was just enough to hold up, and the excitement level of the team, although, very high all day, begin to grow, until, around 6:30, it was finally posted on the big screen that indeed, the El Dorado Springs Boys team had in fact won the Missouri Class 3 Boys Team State Championship. It was a pretty exciting time and a great capstone to such an incredible day. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that thought. We have told them all post season to dream big and this was more than I as coach had ever dreamed. They taught me, after Saturday, to take my own advice and Dream Big.

The 2021 El Dorado Springs track team and coaching staff would like to thank several people and organizations for helping make this dream possible. First off, all of the parents who have had the greatest impact on these athletes. Second, the teachers who have encouraged them. Then in direct impact of the State meet, Mr. Oates and the El Dorado Springs school board for taking care of the motel rooms for our stay. Also, the El Dorado Springs Athletic Booster Club, Optimist Club and the Nine Wonders Ladies Optimist Club for providing funding for our meals on this incredible journey. On behalf of myself, the coaching staff and the athletes, Thank you so much!! Last but not least, thanks to everyone who was involved in organizing or participating in the nice welcome back to town. That was a great way to wrap up the day. El Dorado Springs Community, Thank You.

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