On Thursday, May 16 after the conclusion of school, the El Dorado Springs boys and girls track State qualifiers loaded up the bus to head to Jefferson City for the Class 1, 2 and 3 MSHSAA State Track and Field Championships, which ran on Friday and Saturday. After getting camp settled at the track, a good meal and one last team meeting, the athletes settled down in their hotel rooms for a good night’s sleep with dreams of big performances on their mind the next day.

As Friday arrived the team woke up, got a good breakfast in and loaded the bus to head to the stadium for a big start to the weekend. Friday typically is prelim day where athletes have to qualify for the finals on Saturday, however, we did have a few distance races to contest as well, which were finals. The Boys 4 x 800 m. Relay, consisting of Braxton Watts, Logan Fisk, Wyatt Klaiber and Will Seitz got the weekend started off for the Bulldogs with a good start, finishing 5th with a school record breaking time of 8:08.52. Next up for the Bulldogs was Justin Brown in the 100 m. Dash prelims. Justin was coming off of an injury that really rared it’s ugly head the week before at the end of his Sectional race. We basically spent the last week rehabbing him and sitting with our fingers crossed that he could survive the weekend. As the gun went off, he got off to a great start and led through the first 50 meters of his prelim, but then the injury flared back up and slowed him down, limping across the finish line. Justin has had an incredible year, being in the top in both the 100 and 200 all season, so it was a tough pill to swallow for not only us, but especially for Justin. The positive side of this story is Justin is just a junior and I assure you he will come out even stronger next year. As we were taking care of Justin after his race, Kalen Post was beginning warmup for the Girls High Jump. Unfortunately, Kalen had a rough first jump which messed with her next two attempts and she was finished for the day. The good news for Kalen is that she is a sophomore that has spent the first two years hurdling and we just added high jump at the very end of the season for conference and we found out that she was pretty good at it. So she will only get better. She was also, just a fall and a tweaked ankle away from qualifying here in the 100 m. hurdles as well. So she has a great up side to her over the next couple of years. Next up was Audrey Goatley in the 1600 m. Run which was one of the finals. In the end Audrey finished 13th with a personal best time of 5:28. This was an extremely talented field and Audrey was pleased with her performance. Next up was qualifying in the Boys and Girls 400 m. dash. Will Seitz finished first in qualifying with a school record breaking time of 48.73. Next up was the girls 400, which the Bulldogs featured McKinli Mays and Lainey Dody. McKinli Mays qualified 3rd overall for finals with a time of 58.70 while Lainey Dody, just missed qualifying on to Saturday, however, Lainey would still play an important role in the 4 x 400 m. Relay throughout the weekend. Next up for the Bulldogs was another final, with Wyatt Klaiber in the 3200 m. Run. Wyatt was amongst an extremely talented field of competitors and when the dust had settled Wyatt found himself in 3rd with a personal best time of 9:34.90. This was a great race for him. Now, he had to quickly get his breath back and turn his attention to joining Kolton Nichols, Braxton Watts and Will Seitz as they had the 4 x 400 m. Relay qualifying race as the next set of races on the track. After the Class 1 and 2 set of 4 x 400 qualifying races were finished, it was the boys time to prove themselves, and that they did, winning their heat with a school record, season best time of 3:27.55 to qualify in the 4th position for Saturday. After a long day, the final race for the Bulldogs was the Girls 4 x 400 m. Relay qualifying, which consisted of Lainey Dody, Braylie Steward, Neely Schaaf and McKinli Mays. When the dust had settled the girls team qualified 2nd with a time of 3:05.30, just 0.01 behind their school record time from the week before. After an extremely long day, the Bulldogs headed back to Osage Beach to get a good meal in, have one final team meeting, ice bath and hit the bed to get much needed rest for day 2 of the Championships.

As Saturday arrived, the athletes arose with a great day ahead on their minds. Up first for the Bulldogs on Championship day, was the Girls 4 x 800 m. Relay, consisting of Tatum Quinlan, Audrey Goatley, Neely Schaaf and McKinli Mays. This team, having to replace graduate Hannah Klaiber from last year, was looking to defend their Relay title from last year and do it in school record breaking fashion. Tatum Quinlan got the team off to a great start, handing off to Audrey Goatley in 6th. Audrey moved through the field getting the team up to 3rd. Neely Schaaf held position and moved the team up to 2nd, just right behind the leader as she handed off to the anchor, McKinli Mays. McKinli sat patiently behind through the first lap, waiting for the perfect time to attack on the 2nd lap. McKinli picked her moment and took the lead in the back stretch, fended off one last challenge in the final stretch before pulling away to a victory, defending their title with a School Record Smashing time of 9:46.41. Wyatt Klaiber was up next for the Bulldogs. Wyatt had a busy weekend although today would be a little easier if he could shake off the day before. Once again, Wyatt entered a very talented and deep 1600 m. race but handled it with poise and ended up finishing 4th with a Personal Best time of 4:19.27. A short time later was the boys and girls 400 m. Dash. Will Seitz matched the effort from the day before and improved his time in finals finishing 2nd with a school record breaking time of 48.27. It was now McKinli Mays turn in the girls 400. McKinli didn’t quite have the day she had hoped for but still finished 4th with a time of 58.76. McKinli then headed to triple jump. She jumped her first jump of 10.56 meters which was good enough to get her to finals in the 8th position, but was overtaken in finals on the last jump of the competitor in 9th to bump her off the podium, finishing 9th. It was a heartbreak, but a very challenging schedule for McKinli who is competing in 4 events with prelims in 3 of them. She would have one more chance to redeem herself in the 4 x 400 m. Relay after Audrey Goatley would compete in the 3200 m. Run. Audrey was next up in the 3200 m. Run and ran her race from the start, not succumbing to the blistering pace in the extremely hot race conditions. Audrey moved through the field with each lap and in the end finished 10th with a Personal Record time of 12:04.43. Last up for the day was the boys and girls 4 x 400 m. Relays. The boys 4 x 400 m. Relay consisting of Kolton Nichols, Braxton Watts, Wyatt Klaiber and Will Seitz, completed the season with a strong race, finishing in 3rd with a strong time of 3:27.92. We didn’t know how this team would fare after the injury to Justin Brown last week and having to replace him, but Kolton Nichols stepped up and the other 3 boys stepped up and made this happen and turned what some thought to be a tragedy for this team into a triumph for this team. They truly showed the BULLDOG Spirit and fought tooth and nail to make it happen. This led to the final race of the 2024 Class 3 track season, the girls 4 x 400 relay, consisting of Lainey Dody, Braylie Steward, Neely Schaaf and McKinli Mays. Again, like the 4 x 800 team having to defend their title from last year with a new face of Braylie Steward, replacing a veteran graduate Hannah Klaiber. Braylie and the rest of the team rose to the challenge, defending their State title, winning with a time of 4:05.58.

This weekend truly was an Incredible Weekend. In the end the boys team ended up 5th, just 2 points out of a podium spot for the team. The girls team ended up 8th. All in all, it was an incredible way to wrap up an already great season. We want to wish our Seniors, Darren Burchett, Matthew Esparza, Blake Loane, Kolton Nichols, Nathan Saderstrom, Kyan Roberts, Christian Steuck and Cailey Cartwright, the Best of Luck as they transition to the next stage of their lives. We greatly appreciate your years of dedication and leadership to the Bulldog Track Program.

We would also like to Thank the following organizations for making this weekend possible for the El Dorado Springs Track Team. The El Dorado Springs Athletic Booster Club, The El Dorado Springs R-2 Schools and School Board, the El Dorado Springs Optimist Club and the El Dorado Springs Nine Wonders. These organizations supported us in donations helping take the financial burden off of parents and Athletes and allowing them to focus on the success achieved. Thank you So Much!! The Track team would also like to say Thank you to the El Dorado Springs and Olympia Fire Departments for your great escort out of town and warm welcome back into town. Last but not least, Thank you to all of the Parents and Fans who found their way sometime throughout the season to cheer on the teams. It was greatly appreciated!! It is truly an honor to be an El Dorado Springs Bulldog! GO BULLDOGS!

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