SW boys claim Ozark 7 track title
Southwest's boys swept to a sixth-consecutive title at the Ozark 7 Track and Field Championships contested at Thomas Jefferson in Joplin last Tuesday. The Trojans scored 188 points, 50 more than second-place Wheaton. Verona was third with 97, followed by McAuley (63), Thomas Jefferson (18), and Purdy (16).
After winning the conference title in 1998 under Mark Van Slyke, the Trojans suffered a nine-year drought before claiming the championship in 2007. They haven't lost since.
Wheaton's Bubba Galvan did his part, winning the same four individual events he owned at the state track meet last year. The Bulldogs held the lead until Southwest swept the top three spots in the 400-meter dash.
Trojan runners also swept in the 800, placed second and third in the 3,200, and then won the 4x400 meter relay with a sparkling come-from-behind anchor leg by Cristian Sellars.
Southwest coaches Lee Stubblefield and Linda Morgan were very pleased with the victory.
"Our team depth and conditioning really showed today," said Stubblefield. "Kordell McNabb set the tone early with his personal best in the shot. Jon Holliday surprised a lot of people when he took second in the long jump behind Galvan. We won three of the four relays. Cristian Sellars supplied a lot of senior leadership on and off the track. It was a great effort by a great group of young men."
On the girls side, the Purdy Lady Eagles edged Southwest for the team title, 144 to 142. For the second year in a row, Purdy trailed going into the last event and managed to pull out a championship. McAuley was third with 91, Wheaton finished fourth with 51, and Verona scored 15 and TJ had 10 for fifth and sixth, respectively.
Southwest freshman Nicole Ickes matched Bubba Galvan's feat as she also claimed gold in four individual events.
After trailing most of the meet, Purdy scored 42 points in the final three events to dash Southwest's hopes. The Lady Eagles actually led the meet on Monday, when Kaylynn Harkey cleared opening height in the pole vault at Monett to open an unprecedented two-day, split-location conference meet. There is no pole vault venue at the Thomas Jefferson track facility, and the arrangement was made to allow Harkey -- the only vaulter in the conference -- an opportunity to compete.