Sickles medals at state for Southwest

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Southwest’s Travis Sickles finished second in the 3200-meter run and third in the 1600-meter run at the Class 2 State Track and Field Championships last week in Jefferson City. Cody Thorn/Special to the Cassville Democrat

Senior takes 2nd in 3200-meter, 3rd in 1600-meter

Southwest Senior Travis Sickles earned a pair of medals on Thursday at the Class 2 State Track and Field Championships in Jefferson City, finishing as runner-up in the 3200-meter run and third in the 1600-meter run.

Sickles finished in 9:34.61, breaking a school record he had established just six days prior. He passed state champion Sam Shuman twice in the final 600 meters, but he was not able to hold off the senior from Spokane. In the 1600, Sickles finished in 4:27.88 behind Trevor Talley of New Covenant (4:20.56) and George Blanco of Bishop Dubourg (4:23.52). It was a personal record for Sickles, but it narrowly missed the school’s mile record.

“Sickles suffered the ultimate heartbreak during cross country season, injuring a hamstring right before the district race, where he was ranked among the favorites,” said Steve Voyak, Southwest track coach. “He went from almost certain All-State status to being on the sidelines. He rededicated himself and went through a grueling workout regimen in the winter and spring and qualified for state in three events.

"Not everybody comes back. Nothing is promised when you put in long hours. The work is part of it, but you also have to execute on the track against exceptional competition."

After placing third in the mile, Sickles and his family raced back to Washburn for him to make a salutatorian speech at the Southwest graduation four hours after the track meet ended.

"He still had one final race, and of course, he won it," Voyak said.

In other Southwest results from state, the 4x800 relay team of Sickles, Otis Rainer, Caden Uthe and Christian Long ran a personal record in 8:36.95.

"Two years ago, we were 12th, so we improved, but the boys were disappointed they were not the first relay team to earn All-State (top 8 get that distinction)," Voyak said. "We gave all we had and bettered our time by 7 seconds. It just wasn't enough."

Uthe placed 15th in the open 400 meters in 55.51.

“It was not his best race, but what an accomplishment to make it to state after just working on the event for six weeks," Voyak said.

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