Courier-Tribune’s All-Area Teams were selected by sports writer Mac Moore based on his opinions from covering the teams and using insights provided by area coaches when available.

Athlete of the Year: Rachel Homoly, Liberty

Rachel Homoly entered her high school track career with a rare feat: she had already surpassed the all-time mark for Missouri competitors in the pole vault. The sophomore sensation maintained the pole position in her event all season before following through to become a state champion and set the Missouri Class 5 record with a vault of 3.89 meters.

Coach of the Year: Geoff Hutton, Kearney

Hutton found himself in the same position as his colleague Scott Crall, but the Bulldogs girls coach had a little more in common with his two classes of first-year athletes. Hutton took over as the girls coach last year before the pandemic took away his first season running the program. He quickly assessed his roster to find a balance of seniors and sophomores to put together a ninth-place team finish.

First-team selections

Lily Cutler, Smithville

Cutler took runner-up finishes in the 800-meter and 1600-meter events at state. The senior won the conference, district and sectional titles in both events. She earned a state medal for the 1600-meter during each of her three track seasons in high school. She also took sixth place in the 4x800-meter relay with her fellow seniors Olivia Littleton, Emma Chevalier and Riley Kochanowicz.

Kali Brown, Smithville

Brown took second place at state in the discus by setting her PR with a throw of 38.70 meters on her final throw. The mark puts her just shy of the school record, 38.99 meters by Shae Hardwood in the 2018 state meet. The junior thrower took first in the discus at the conference, district and sectional meets.

Kaitlin Peek, Liberty North

Peek earned third place at state in the discus with her throw of 42.15 meters. Peek reset the Liberty North girls discus record for the fourth time this season after breaking in the season opener. The senior thrower won the district title in shot put while earning runner-up at conference and sectionals.

Kayley Lenger, Liberty North

Lenger took fourth place in the javelin at state with a throw of 38.47 meters despite needing a walking boot throughout the postseason for a lower leg injury. The junior won conference and district titles in javelin while taking runner-up at sectionals.

Morgan Wood, Kearney

Wood led three of the Bulldogs state qualifying relay teams to top-four finishes at the state meet. The 4x400-meter relay team took third while the 4x200-meter and 4x800-meter relay teams took fourth. The senior completed her podium finishes with a sixth-place result in the 300-meter hurdles. She took runner-up in the event at the conference, district and sectional meets.

Jadyn Barnes, Kearney

Barnes joined Wood on the three relay teams to earn three top-four state medals as a sophomore. She also finished in 10th place in the 200-meter dash with her PR of 26.13. She won the district title in that event while taking runner-up at sectionals.

Ava Lawless, Kearney

Lawless earned fourth place medal in the 4x200-meter relay while also giving her team its top finish in field events by taking third in the triple jump with a leap of 11.07 meters. She nearly took home a medal in the 100-meter hurdles, but settled for ninth as she ran 15.72. The sophomore won the conference, district and sectional title for triple jump while earning runner-up in the same meets for the 100-meter hurdles.

Braelyn Rivera, Kearney

Rivera finished up her Kearney career with two state medals in throwing events. She took fifth in the discus by setting her PR with a throw of 36.55 meters. She followed up with an eighth-place showing in the shot put with a throw of 10.51 meters. Rivera won the conference and district titles in the shot put while taking runner-up at district and sectionals in the discus.

Madi Corf, Liberty

Corf finished fifth in the high jump at the state meet. The junior cleared 1.66 meters to set her new PR and re-set the school record that she already owned. She won the district title in high jump while taking runner-up at conference and sectionals.

Olivia Littleton, Smithville

Littleton earned an eighth-place finish in the 3200-meter run to go along with her sixth-place medal from the 4x800-meter relay. She won the conference title in that event as she finished up an accolade-filled high school running career which included a state championship in the 3200 meter in 2019.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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