Brookfield and Marceline both enshrined freshman girls as Class 2 state champions in this weekend's MSHSAA state track meet at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.
Saturday was gorgeous with high sky and seasonably hot sun, but Sunday's proceedings were expedited due to heavy wind and incoming storms.
Bulldog freshman Alex Sharp won the 1600-meter run on Saturday with a 5:20.53. She beat New Covenant Academy's Alexis Workman. Later in the afternoon, she finished fourth in the 800.
The day prior, Sharp fell by just nine hundredths of a second in the 3200-meter run. She shadowed Steelville senior Allie Gibbs throughout the eight laps, and simply did not have enough kick in the final 100 meters. Sharp and Gibbs defeated the field by 30 seconds.
"I felt great, and it was a perfect weekend," Sharp said. "We couldn't have asked for any more. I stayed with (Gibbs), and I think we needed each other to run the race we did.
"I'm really happy with everything, and we have nothing to be disappointed about. I think people expect for me to be disappointed, but every new race is a new race or else you get stressed or overwhelmed."
Between Sharp and junior Kate Ewing's throwing 128 feet, two inches in the javelin, the Bulldogs were able to finish seventh on just two girls' 31 points. Ewing finished second in the event.
Brookfield sophomore Zoey Chrisman finished 14th in the shot put, and classmate Rylee Sensenich finished 11th in the triple jump.
While Marceline's girls' participation in the state meet was deeper and more diversified, the Tigers finished three points behind Brookfield to finish eighth.
Freshman top-seed Ramzee Bruner cleared an inch better than her mark at the sectional meet in Lathrop at 5-foot-4, and she left the bar standing on her first of three permitted attempts. Bruner's cousin, teammate Jaylea Bixenman went out after clearing 5-foot-1 to finish sixth.
"Everyone around me has just been continuing every practice and in every meet to help me reach my full potential," Bruner said. "When (Caruthersville junior Keara Johnson) went out at 5-foot-3, I thought she had it. I just couldn't believe it, my heart was pounding. I was so thankful to even make it to state, and when I realized there were just two of us left, it started to become real."
Marceline's two-time defending state champion 4x400 team (Abbey Kussman, Bruner, Kenzie Stahl, Bixenman) finished fifth after qualifying as the third seed, although its time was less than a fifth of a second slower at 4:16.75. Abbey Kussman was fourth in both the preliminaries and finals of the open 400, and her 1:00.1 in the prelims was the best 400-meter of her career.
The Tigers' 4x200 team (Bixenman, Bruner, Stahl, Abbey Kussman) finished sixth at 1:50.75.
Senior Renee Sinclair ended her career with a medal, finishing sixth in the triple jump at 34 feet, seven inches. Her 16 foot, one-and-a-half-inch launch kept her just an inch separated from the top-eight podium in the long jump.
Freshman Sarah Kussman finished 10th in the pole vault at eight feet, nine inches.
"We went down there excited to get out of our extremely difficult sectional," Marceline girls' coach Derrick Becker said. "We got medals in six of our eight events, but we did have some disappointments that will only make us hungrier for future years. There were some humps that we just couldn't get over, but we still got some people on the podium, and that's amazing to see as a coach.
"The last few meets, (Bruner) really started to come on. She came on at the right time with the best jump of her career."
Marceline's boys finished 23rd with 11 points, and the Tigers got a majority of their points with a third-place finish in the 4x800 (Logan Swanson, Cullen Bruner, Nick Cain, Wyatt Molloy). The Tigers' 8:27 was four seconds back from the second-place finisher Hermann, and Bruner and Molloy will both return next season.
Swanson ended his career with a 7th place finish in the 3200 in the penultimate event on Saturday, finishing in 10:43.
Marceline got three points from senior Hayden Dorrell's sixth-place finish in the pole vault. He cleared 12 feet, three inches. Junior teammate Alex McCauslin missed the podium by one spot, finishing ninth at 12 feet.
Brookfield's boys surprised folks, finishing 26th with eight points. The 4x100 team (Brandon Collins, Tanner Wallace, Cooper Cisna, Blake Cavanaugh) finished fifth with a time of 43.8 and broke a school record by more than a second. The 4x400 team (Tim Izard, Tyler Polley, Collins, Cavanaugh) finished seventh at 3:34.69.
Cisna's long jump of 20 feet, nine-and-three-fourths inches earned his team a point with his finishing eighth. Senior Evan Fay earned a point by finishing eighth with a 46 foot, 10 inch throw in the shot put.
Jeremy Williams finished 11th in the javelin at 147 feet.
"We were really happy with how those boys performed and competed," Brookfield boys' coach Scott Stevens said. "Most years, some of those marks will place you in the top three. If you look at it, the top three (boys') teams in the state were all in our sectional, and so it makes you wonder how many other kids we might have brought along. Guys like Cisna are kids who, if they work on it and develop what they do, they can have a chance to accomplish big things next year.
"Going into next year, (Ewing) will be favored to win the javelin, our girls' 4x1 team will bring three girls back, and Sharp is only going to get better. We think they'll be a strong contender to win a plaque next year."
On the Class 1 boys' side -- held contemporaneously with the Class 2 meet -- Meadville finished 16th and Linn County (represented solely by senior Caleb Schreiner) finished 26th.
The Eagles' Dillon Seckington finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:03.1 and fourth in the 1600 at 4:33.4. Junior Jacob Tsikoyak was seventh in the discus with a chuck of 135 feet, six inches, and sophomore Conner Fletcher finished eighth in the triple jump at 40 feet, eight inches.
Meadville's 4x800 team (Jace Jacobs, Tanner Berry, Dominik Gannan, Seckington) finished eighth.
Linn County's Schreiner got all 10 of his team's points by himself. He placed fourth in the 400 (51.21), fifth in the 200 (23.28), and eighth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Meadville's girls finished 51st, and the Eagles' only two points came from freshman Maggie McLain's seventh-place finish in the 400 at 1:02.72. The Meadville 4x800 team (Kiera Holcer, Allie Myers, McLain, Krysta Meyers) finished ninth, missing the podium by 12 seconds. Senior Kaci Ruff finished 10th in the high jump, and she missed the podium threshold by just an inch.
Fifty-seven total teams brought at least one athlete in the Class 1 girls' division, 50 in the Class 2 girls' division, 60 in the Class 1 boys' division, and 58 in the Class 2 boys' divison.
In Class 1, the Blue Eye girls won by one point with 68, and the Rich Hill boys won with 47.
In Class 2, West Platte's 50 points won on the girls' side while Monroe City's boys' 57 points beat Lathrop by 11 and Clark County by 13.