Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
JEFFERSON CITY — For the second straight year, South Callaway’s Garner Rudroff left Dwight T. Reed Stadium with a first-place medal in the state long jump competition.
But this one won’t be hanging around his neck for long.
He plans to give the medal, earned Friday afternoon at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 Track and Field Championships, to his grandmother, Gladys. She underwent heart surgery Friday morning, and Rudroff said he won his state championship for her.
“I talked to her last night and I told her I was going to get 23 for her on the 23rd,” Rudroff said.
He only made it to 22 — 22 feet, 11/4 inches, to be exact — but that was enough. He earned his second-straight title by 13/4 inches.
“I just came into today with the right mindset, I think,” the senior said. “Every year I come, I try to make sure I win.”
Rudroff’s Class 2 title was one of 10 handed out Friday: five to boys, five to girls. Lamar (29 points), Sarcoxie (14) and Liberty (12) lead the boys competition and Ash Grove (14), Gallatin (12) and Crane (11) lead the girls.
Fatima’s 4×800 boys relay team took third place thanks to a strong anchor run by Tom Zeilman. The senior passed seven runners during his leg with the only sub-2-minute split of the event (1:54).
“I thought I started out too fast and I wasn’t going to have a good finish, but then I ended up still finishing pretty good,” said Zeilman, who was part of a medal-winning team in the event for the fourth straight year.
Those were the only points Fatima would earn in the boys competition Friday, second-best among area Class 2 schools (11th overall). South Callaway leads the area schools with 10 points thanks to Rudroff’s win. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth overall with Mountain Grove and West Platte.
Vienna earned one point Friday when senior Chandler Harker placed eighth in the 3,200-meter run, and the Eagles currently sit tied for 29th.
Failing to earn points in finals-only events were South Callaway’s Tim Miles (12th in the high jump) and Josh Brooks (14th in the shot put) and Fatima’s Alex Krieg and Austin Muenks (14th and 15th in the 3200-meter run, respectively).
Among the area Class 2 girls teams, Russellville leads with 10 points, good for fourth place overall. Grace Young did all the scoring for the Lady Indians, racking up six points with her late surge to third place in the 1,600-meter run and adding four more with her fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run.
Michelle Barnhart’s fourth-place finish in the 800 earned five points for Fatima, which sits at 17th overall.
Senior Karli Leeper tallied the lone Friday point in the girls competition for South Callaway (31st overall) by placing eighth in the shot put with a throw of 33-111/4.
Just missing out on scoring points were Russellville’s Jorden Barnhart (ninth in the high jump) and South Callaway’s Sarah Jennings (10th in the high jump and 12th in the triple jump).