LIBERTY — Liberty boys won the Missouri Class 5 District 8 track and field championship Saturday, May 15 at Liberty North High School.
The Blue Jays scored 148 points to edge out crosstown rival Liberty North at 146 points, with Park Hill landing a distant third at 113 points.
Liberty earned an early jump in points thanks to field events, particularly jumper Javion Byers. The senior won the district title in the high jump with a leap of 1.88 meters, as well as finishing runner-up in the triple jump and third in the long jump.
As Byers racked up three sectional qualifying marks, junior Truman Hare helmed a dominant showing by the short distance runners.
Hare won the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes with room to spare between him and the runner-up, his junior teammate Caden Dennis. Hare finished the 100 in 11.19 seconds and the 200 in 21.79. Dennis had times of 11.44 and 22.48 in those same events.
Hare caused audible gasps from the crowd when he anchored the 4x200-meter relay team with Dennis, sophomore Jack Carbajal and senior Elvin Binagi. Hare received the baton with a considerable amount of ground to gain on the Park Hill team. He seemed to take the lead almost instantly as the team won the race with a time of 1:29.92, a full two seconds ahead of the runner-up Trojans.
The same quarter took second in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:23.67. Junior Luke Manis, freshman Evan McWhorter, junior Reagan Manis and sophomore Myles Thornburg took third in the 4x800-meter relay.
Three Jays earned runner-up in the throwing events. Senior Owen Carillo took second in the discus with a throw of 46.81 meters to set his personal record.
Senior Clay Carbajal took second in the javelin with a throw of 47.7 meters while senior Matthew Henning did the same in the shot put with a throw of 17.04 meters.
Keegan Maynor took fourth in the discus with his throw of 44.45 meters, edging out the next thrower by less than half of a meter.
Senior Brady Maher earned a third-place finish in the 1600-meter run while Thornburg took fourth in the 3200. Maher also narrowly missed qualifying for sectionals in the 800 with his fifth-place finish.
The Eagles almost caught up with the Blue Jays by winning the district title in six different events.
Junior Ethan Lee earned the most gold with his winning performances in the 800-meter and 1600-meter run to go along with two wins in relay events.
Lee’s time of 1:56.80 in the 800 and 4:26.99 in the 1600 helped the Eagles maintain their dominance over the middle distance events. Senior Luis Perez finished runner-up to Lee in both events, with times of 1:57.84 and 4:29.66 respectively.
The duo have maintained a 1-2 punch in those events in all but two 1600 meets this season. Lee has won all of his races in those two events and has maintained the best times of Missouri high school athletes in both events for most of the season.
The tandem also teamed up with seniors Elias Ealey and Cade Gardner in the 4x400-meter relay and with freshman Collin Kleinhen and sophomore Grayson Tapp in the 4x800-meter relays to take first in those races.
The 4x400 team finished their race with a time of 3:19.85, giving them a nearly three second lead over the second best time in the state this season, set by Grain Valley on the same day in the Missouri Class 5 District 7 meet.
The 4x800 team took first with a time of 8:15.29, finishing eight seconds ahead of runner-up Oak Park.
Gardner earned an individual district title in the 400-meter dash, setting his PR with a time of 49.99. Ealey also set his PR to take runner-up with a time of 50.01. The short distance teammates rounded out their sectional qualifying in the 200-meter dash with Ealey taking third and Gardner taking fourth.
Senior Weston Edwards gave the Eagles boys a district champion in field events by taking first in the pole vault. Edwards set a mark of 4.42 meters. Junior Benjamin Pritchett took third in the event.
Senior Ian Bollinger earned two bids to sectionals with his third-place finish in the high jump and fourth-place finish in the triple jump. Freshman Sage Wilde took third place in the 3200 meter.
The top four finishers for each event at districts will compete in the Missouri Class 5 Sectional 4 track meet Friday, May 21 at Liberty North High School. The top four finishers at sectionals will advance to the state meet Thursday, May 27 at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.