By Christopher Tenpenny
The Harrisonville track and field team competed in the Missouri River Valley Conference track meet May 5 at Odessa. The boys finished in second place while the girls finished in fifth out of eight conference teams.
Harrisonville head coach Brian Bliss said he was impressed with both teams.
“I am really happy for the boys. It has been awhile since we have placed that well as a team at conference and they rose
to the challenge to accomplish their goal,” Bliss said. “I am also very pleased with the girls’ performance. We have a difficult conference with many talented athletes. All of the girls on the team are juniors or younger, so I am excited to see not only how they perform at districts, but also how much better we can be next season.”
The Wildcats placed third or higher in 23 different events. Sprinter Joseph Michel had an impressive day as he took home three gold medals and a bronze.
Michel won the open 100-meter dash with a time of 11.24. He also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.10.
“Joseph has been a pleasant surprise this year and has had an incredible season so far,” Bliss said. “Joseph had an incredible performance at conference individually and was also part of two of the three relays, placing third in the 4×200 and first in the 4×100. He works hard at practice every day and he is seeing the benefits of that hard work in his performances. Not only is Joseph a talented athlete, but he is also a humble young man and wants to compete well for his team.”
Michel’s teammate Zachary Ridenhour was right behind him in both events, placing second. Dawson Schrock and Noah King continue to finish close to each other in the hurdles while Tommy Baker and Alex Barta both placed in the 800-meter dash and the 1600-meter dash. The competition the boys have with each other has impressed Bliss.
“I believe the fact that these student athletes are willing to push each other to get better each day at practice and at competitions has been a great asset for us this season,” Bliss said. “Having a teammate, or several teammates, willing to challenge another teammate to be better everyday is something I feel every coach would enjoy seeing from their athletes. I am blessed to have great leadership on this team.”
With the conference meet over, the Wildcats have begun preparation for the Class 4 District 7 meet tomorrow at Grandview.
The top four in each event move on to sectionals. Bliss said he wants both teams to compete and the rest will take care of itself.
“We have one of the toughest districts in the state,” Bliss said. “The expectation is to have as many athletes qualify for sectionals as possible, but ultimately hope that each individual and relay team performs their best in what could be their last race of the season.”