Southwest track athletes on to state

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Sickles to compete in trio of events in Class 2

Southwest standouts Travis Sickles, Caden Uthe, Christian Long and Otis Rainer advanced to the state track meet with standout performances at the Class 2 Sectional in Sarcoxie Saturday.

Sickles, a senior, qualified in three events, winning the mile, finishing runner-up in the 3,200, and anchoring the 4x800 relay team that placed fourth.

“It’s incredibly difficult to qualify in three events, especially since they were run over a three-hour period,” said Steve Voyak, Southwest track coach. “He set the tone in the two-mile and just rode the momentum the rest of the day.”

Sickles ran a personal record of 9:36.41, finishing 2 seconds behind Spokane star Sam Shuman. Sickles eclipsed his own school record by 21 seconds.

Less than an hour later, he took the baton for the anchor leg of the relay and helped the team of Rainer, Uthe and Long personal record in 8:43.04. 

“We had great competition with Hartville, New Covenant, Stockton and Blue Eye, but we accomplished our objective of qualifying for state,” Voyak said.

Maybe Sickles’ best race of the day was the mile. He earned another personal record in 4:30.64, beating a who’s who of state milers in Trevor Talley, of New Covenant, and David Held, of Plato.

“He grabbed the lead early in lap three and was relentless and won by more than 4 seconds,” Voyak said. “Saying it was impressive is not doing it justice.”

Uthe, a junior, was fourth in the 400 meters and qualified in a personal record of 53.89 seconds.

“Caden has to switch gears from distance to an all-out sprint in the 400,” Voyak said. “But he likes to show off his wheels.”

Long, a junior, also earned a personal record in the 800 meters but narrowly missed qualifying with a 5th-place finish in 2:05.14.

The Class 2 State Track Meet is Friday at Jefferson City. A total of 16 finalists have advanced in every event. Sickles will run the two-mile at 10:30 a.m. The 4x800-relay team competes at 12:30 p.m.

Sickles will come back in the mile at 2:50 and Uthe will run in one of the heats of the 400 at 3:50 p.m.

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