Southwest track teams on their marks

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Caden Uthe makes a turn in the 4x800 relay at the Southwest Meet last season. Kyle Troutman/

Trojans look to qualify for state again this season

The Southwest High School boys and girls track and field teams are setting some high goals this season, especially with the boys having a medalist in two events last year.

Gone is All-State dual medalist Travis Sickles, who now runs for Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau. He was second in the two-mile and third in the mile at state, also anchoring the 4x800 relay team to a 9th-place finish.

Abi Floyd hits the finish line in the 100-meter dash at the Southwest Meet last season. Kyle Troutman/

Picking up the slack on the boys’ side will be multiple Trojans with state-level experience.

“Senior Christian Long has been to the state meet twice as a member of the 4x800 relay, finishing 12th as a freshman and 9th last season,” said Steve Voyak, Southwest track and field coach. “He earned All-State this season in cross country. Long will run the anchor on the 4x800 and then look at the half-mile, mile and two-mile as other meet options based on his performance.”

Senior Caden Uthe also ran on the 4x800 relay team last season and earned a berth in the 400 meters, taking 15th overall in the state at 55.52.

“He was also All-State in cross country this season,” Voyak said. “He will run the 4x800, 400 and probably anchor a sprint relay. Junior Otis Rainer was also part of the 4x800 relay last season. He will run a sprint and a sprint relay as well. Junior Robert Humphries Jr., was part of the cross country team that qualified for state. He will run the 4x800 and some middle distance.”

Filling out the Trojans are sophomore Gene Rainer, who will throw the javelin and discus; sophomore Ezra Sprowes, who will run two sprints and a sprint relay; and junior Matteo Lumetta will run sprints and a sprint relay and long jump.

“We have some boys, like Christian, Caden and Otis, who have been in high stakes competition,” Voyak said. “That experience is invaluable and impossible to simulate. We are building around their leadership.”

As for the girls, Voyak said there is a boundless array of opportunities.

“They have numerous possibilities but little decided,” he said. “The numbers give us some flexibility. Sophomore Abi Floyd, junior Olivia Erwin and junior Alexis Raucstadt are the top returnees. Floyd is more of a sprinter, while Raucstadt runs middle distance. Both should be part of relays as well. Erwin is a field events specialist who would like to expand into some running this season.”

Voyak said newcomers who should help immediately are junior Cally Bowyer, sophomore Lyric Bernard, freshman Makalia Anderson, freshman Allison Harling and sophomore Juliauna Sierra.

Bowyer, who has qualified for state in cross country for two straight years, brings leadership and experience in the middle distance, relays and the triple jump,” Voyak said. “The others are still finding events and relays.”

Voyak said this year is an exciting one for the girls team.

“If they put in the work, they can accomplish some amazing things,” he said. “They have boundless potential. I look forward to them competing and learning the fundamentals of track and field. It will also be interesting to see who steps up in leadership roles.”

Voyak said the boys will be strong in sprints, distance, relays, experience and leadership, while the girls will lean on middle distance running and growing higher-level athletes in the program.

The first meet for both teams will be on March 24 at the McDonald County Relays.

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