Marshall sending 11 to sectional meet
MEXICO -- Cortni and Linzi and Maddy, oh my!
Marshall's terrific trio of girls' track and field athletes were up to their usual standards Saturday during the Class 3, District 4 Championships at Mexico. The NCMC's best in their signature events took gold medals and moved on to the next stage in hopes of returning to the state meet.
Junior Cortni Ervin broke her own school record in the shot put (43 feet, 4.5 inches), and by a hefty margin of two feet, two inches, to win a hotly contested battle by nine inches.
Senior Linzi Bledsoe returned to sectionals in two events, taking first place in the long jump (16-2.5) for the fourth time this season and coming in third in the 100-meter dash (13.81 seconds). Senior Madison Marshman was once again tops in the 3,200 (12:07.10), while also placing third in the 1,600 (5:29.72).
Those five entries will be the only ones for the Lady Owls at the sectional meet, but others helped them to sixth place (48 points) in the 15-team field topped by Kirksville (126.5). St. Dominic (109) of O'Fallon claimed the boys' crown.
Senior Crystal Kearney was fifth in the 3,200 (12:41.97), nipped at the wire by Hannibal senior Morgan Cox to miss the needed fourth-place finish by a heart-breaking .97 seconds. Senior Breinne Clemens reached the 100 finals, ending up eighth (14.71). Junior Lindie Arends set a personal record in the 1,600 (6:12.13), but finished 12th.
Both the sprint relay teams also recorded their fastest times -- Bledsoe, Clemens and juniors Rachel Willis and Amy Durham coming in eighth in the 400 (53.91), with junior Kylie Heying replacing Durham for 10th in the 800 (1:56.94).
Senior Alex Jones was a two-time qualifier for the Marshall boys, fourth in both the 1,600 (4:37.92) and 3,200 (10:11.92) -- knocking 8.62 seconds off his best time in the mile and 8.26 seconds in the two-mile.
The Owls enjoyed three second-place finishes: from junior Kyle Farrelly in the shot put (50-11); sophomore Phillip Perkins, improving nearly 15 seconds in the 800 (2:03.14); and freshman Evan Johnson in the long jump (21-0.5), a gain of one foot, 5.25 inches from his previous mark.
Freshman Matt Buford's fourth place in the 100 (11.51) continues his season. Buford also made the finals of the 200 with a personal-best of 22.98 seconds, but couldn't match that time in his second race (24.03) and ended up seventh.
That added to Marshall's seventh-place team score of 46 points -- down from the 61 points for second place a year ago, when the Owls dominated the distance races. Yet, the improvement in the young boys' squad since the start of the season is apparent, such as sophomore Jeff Deutsch's 11-6 in the pole vault for ninth and the sixth-place 400-meter relay (46.40) of Johnson, Buford, junior Andrew Kleinschmidt and sophomore Marty Kays.
Marshall's next challenge will be to again secure finishes of fourth and higher when some strong metro programs join the field for the Class 3, Section 2 meet Saturday at St. Louis.