Williams breaks school record set in 2000

Three Cassville thinclads will compete in four events at the MSHSAA Class 3 State Championships this weekend, and one Lady Wildcats added some emphasis to her qualification by breaking a school record set at the beginning of the millenum.

At the Class 3, Sectional 3 in Mountain Grove on Saturday, junior Jadyn Williams ran a 1:00.53 to place third in the 400-meter dash, topping the previous record of 1:01.40 set by Amber Keen in 2000.

“Jadyn was very excited — she was in tears,” said Erin Flehmer, Cassville girls track coach. “Breaking that record has been her goal all season, and she would have probably broken it sooner if not for an injury she’s been battling. When she got it, she was ecstatic.”

Two other athletes will join Williams at state hoping to break records or medal — or both.

Junior Aaliyah Franklin advanced in the shot put and the discus, getting fourth in both with a shot of 10.14 meters and a throw of 32.63 meters. School record-holder Ashton Wheeler, a senior, also punched his ticket to state with a jump of 6.10 meters, narrowly advancing with a fourth-place performance.

“Aaliyah came in ranked seventh in discus and threw a big PR, and in shot she was ranked eighth and again threw a PR,” Flehmer said., “She was very focused and had a really good day. She did not let the stress of sectionals get to her, and she put in a lot of hard work last week and came ready to compete.”

Wheeler, who set school long jump records in back-to-back meets this season, had to hold his breath as he advanced by the narrowest of margins.

“Ashton got the 6.10, and there were two kids after him that had a chance to beat it,” said Clay Weldy, Cassville boys track coach. The first did not get it, and the second kid, from Aurora, had a good jump. We were watching nervously as they marked it, and it was a 6.09 — that’s how close it was.”

Weldy said Wheeler has had a strong year, but not necessarily his strongest meets at the end. He advanced through district and sectional meets with two fourth-place finishes when only the top four at each meet advance.

“Overall, Ashton is talented enough and has worked hard enough that even on days he’s not at his best, he can still make it out,” Weldy said. “We’re hoping to go up on Saturday and get a PR. At this point, Ashton knows he belongs, so he just has to relax and go compete, not worrying about anyone else.”

Sixteen long jumpers will get three jumps each, then the top nine will get to jump three more times, and the best jump of those six will be counted.

“Only the top eight get on the podium, so one of that group of nine will be left out,” Weldy said.

Franklin will face the same task in shot put and discus, with the top nine after three throws will get three more in the finals.

“We are doing the same thing as last week, just fine-tuning little details and continuing to get better,” Flehmer said. “We’re focusing on stuff like how she finishes in both shot and discus, with her hand pulling through or her flick. Aaliyah watches lots of video of herself to make sure she gets every throw correct.”

Flehmer believes Williams can add some more fireworks to her penultimate year of competition.

“She’s got more in her and has been battling an injury the last month, so we have not trained as much as we needed to,” Flehmer said. “But, Jadyn is very determined. She’s sitting 11th in state now, so we’re going to work on how she finishes that las 200 or 100 meters. She’s tough, and she’s determined to medal.

“I’m very proud of our girls that fought through and made it to the big stage.”

In the 400-meter dash, two preliminary races with eight runners each will see the top four in each advance to the finals. Reaching the finals is an automatic medal.

All three Cassville competitors have state experience. Wheeler took 13th in the long jump last year with a 6.06-meter leap; Franklin was 16th in discus last year with a throw of 26.96; and Williams has been on two relay squads, taking 4th in the 4×800 relay last year and 10th in the 4×400 relay in 2022.

In other sectional results, the Wildcats 4x800relay team of Ethan Bohmke, Trever Garnett, Jacob Hudson and Kaid Williams were just outside of qualification, taking fifth place in a time of 8:44.42, a hair under 10 seconds behind fourth-place Fatima High School.

Bohmke took seventh place in the 1600-meter run with a 5:08.10. The final state qualifier, East Newton’s Chase Sorrell, ran a 4:31.77.

“All our kids competed at sectionals, and I am proud of all of them,” Weldy said. “Times, throws and jumps were tough this year to get out of districts and sectionals.”

The Lady Wildcats’ 4×100 relay team of Brynn Whittenburg, Makaiden Bolles, Claire Reuter and Evelyn Elliott rounded out results with an eighth-place finish in 52.94. The time was less than one second behind fourth-place qualifier St. James.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *