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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Smithville Herald

B5

MSHSAA Track and Field Championships: Boys 400-Meter Relay

Sprinters turn in solid showing during last race By Andy Meyer JEFFERSON CITY — A few short weeks ago, Andrew Duncan was on the verge of hanging up his track spikes for good. Frustrated with his lack of progress, the Smithville senior nearly walked away from the track team and his spot on the 400-meter relay. Now it’s safe to say that he’s glad he stuck with it. Duncan, senior Tyler Lamb, senior Caleb Thomas and junior Zach Parmenter all represented the Warriors on Friday, May 25, as part of the 400 relay during the Class 3 State Track and Field

Championships. For the second season, the Warriors weren’t able to make it out of preliminaries in the event, but still ran one of their best times of the season (44.02 seconds) after making it down to Dwight T. Reed Stadium in the race for the second season in a row. Having the chance to make it back to state was a worthwhile experience for Duncan, Lamb and Parmenter — the three who took part in the race last year — and was a fitting way to conclude the season. “I thought I was going to quit a month ago,” Duncan said. “I wasn’t doing anything good, and to make it

here, I guess it’s a reward for all of us just to get here.” With three returning speedsters back in the fold, it initially appeared the relay had a strong chance of returning to state once more this season. But the squad couldn’t seem to fire on all cylinders, leading to some frustrations midway through the year as the team’s times weren’t up to their usual standard. That’s when Thomas stepped in, and everything changed. Running the second leg, the senior high-jumper helped the group set a new school record during the Platte County Invitational with a time of 43.83, and the entire squad seemed

reinvigorated. For Thomas, it was his first time competing at the state meet, but he handled the pressure and executed his handoffs perfectly — even if he did feel some pressure during his exchanges. “Don’t drop it. That’s all that was going through my head was don’t drop it,” Thomas said. “They were closing in, and I was kind of starting to get antsy a little bit. My hands are getting sweaty, thinking don’t drop it.” Parmenter, on the other hand, led off the relay each of the past two seasons and said competing a year ago allowed him to relax as he lined up in

the starting blocks. “I wasn’t even nervous, honestly,” Parmenter said. “Like last year, I was supernervous, and this year, it was just another meet.” Despite three near-perfect handoffs, Lamb took the baton near the back of the pack and couldn’t quite make up enough ground to make it into Saturday’s final, though he did gain plenty of grounds on a couple runners ahead of him. Smithville finished in 13th place overall — the same as last season — in 44.02 seconds, though coaches said their hand-timed split was their fastest of the year. “We were definitely

happy,” Lamb said. “We knew coming in that it was going to be tough. We knew that making the final was going to be hard, but we still ran our PR. That’s all we can ask for.” Though the group fell fractions of a second short of making picking up a state medal, it was still an unforgettable experience for a group of talented athletes that were able to forge one more memory with their Smithville teammates “My last athletic event of my senior year, I get to do it with my best friends,” Thomas said. “It was the funnest thing. I couldn’t replace that feeling.”

Lamb: Finishes season with best long jump in all of Missouri u Continued from Page B1 the best jump until the very last few jumps of the event. In prior meets, he struggled with tired legs, but he was able to focus only on the long jump as it was his only event of the day. “I felt really good,” Lamb said. “My legs are the best they’ve felt since Warrensburg, probably. It felt really good. I probably

had one of my best days jumping, going 22 feet (two) times. So I had a good day.” Lamb entered the finals with the best jump, but he knew he would be facing a big challenge from the likes of familiar rivals like Clinton’s Nick Ramirez and Jaron Rollins of Platte County. The week before, Rollins became the first jumper to defeat Lamb in head-to-head competition at sectionals,

and he said he was looking forward to the challenge of trying to fend off any competitors in the final jumps. “Going against those two is something I wanted to happen in the finals because I knew they would push me, and I would push them,” Lamb said. “That just made it a better competition, and that’s how it ended up, down to the final jump.” Down to his last jump, Rol-

lins vaulted into the lead by a mere two inches with a leap of 22-4.5 that suddenly put all the pressure on Lamb to reel off something even better if he hoped to claim the title. Lamb said he felt like his last jump was his best of the day — potentially over the 23-foot mark — but he scratched the effort by the tiniest of margins by stepping over the line. It allowed Rollins to hang onto the vic-

tory, as Lamb finished as the runner-up. “It was probably my best jump,” Lamb said. “I just think I got a little too much adrenaline going, and that just made me scratch. But there’s nothing you can do about it.” It was Lamb’s second medal in the event following his fourth-place finish from a year ago, and though he was hoping for the state title, he said

he was still able to walk away with his head held high. Smithville assistant coach Taylor Middleton was intrigued with Lamb’s potential when he first joined the team last season and was astounded with the rapid progress he made throughout his career. “It was great for Tyler. He’s a great kid, and he’s a phenomenal athlete,” Middleton said.

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