If the varsity track and field regular season is a warm-up for the Missouri State High School Athletic Association championship tournament then the Centralia boys and girls peaked at just the right time.
"I was overwhelmed with the success we had this year in track. Our performance at state was great. We qualified in eight events and medalled in five, including the high jump, discus, javelin, pole vault and 4 x 800," said coach Jim Newsted. "The boys this year broke school records in the 4x800, Javelin and 200 dash Ou boys team was very strong in the field events. It's probably what separated us in lots of meets."
At the class 3 state meet in Jefferson City the Panthers finished 15th with a score of 17.5. Last season the team was 30th and had six points after not qualifying for this event in 2015.
"My boys team was probably one of the strongest teams I have had," Newsted said. "Highlights of the boys season included wins at the Central Invitational, Eldon relays, Osage Invitational, Clarance Cannon Conference Championships and winning the district title."
The Centralia boys also had an individual accomplishment to celebrate when sophomore Peyton Davis was named the CCC Male Athlete of the Year.
As for the Lady Panthers, they also had a season to remember that concluded with a three-way tie for 17th place at the state meet with Lamar and Marysviille with 14 points.
"Sophomore Schuylar Hatton had a good state weekend with six qualifying events and four medals in the 1600 run, 3200 run, pole vault and 100 dash," said Newsted. "This group also broke five school records in the javelin, pole vault, 100 dash, 1600 run and 3200 run.We had lots of girls coming back last year. I am going to miss our top point getter next year, Madeline Bostick, record breaker in the 1600 run and 3200 run."
Because track and field is a spring sport, this squad won't be working together over the summer like football, basketball and cross county teams tend to do. Instead, Newsted is handling his responsibilities with the football program and the athletes are either training with the other team they compete for, moving on because of graduation or simply taking the time to enjoy the summer.
"Out girls teams was very strong on the track in distance and sprinting," Newsted said. "We won the Central Invitational, Herman invitational and finished second at Mexico among lots of class 4-5 schools including the host Bulldogs, Battle and Rock Bridge, just to name a few. We also won the CCC conference title and Bostick, a senior, was CCC co-girls athlete of the year."