The Festus Tigers hosted the annual McCullough-Douglass Invitational Track Meet this past Saturday, March 26th, and topped the podium in many events, leading to a 96-point team victory. The Tigers outperformed 18 other schools to bring home a lot of hardware including the championship plaque.
Head coach Wesley Armbruster was somewhat surprised, yet incredibly pleased with his team’s showing. He said, “We constructed our lineup Saturday to get some new looks and extend some new opportunities to our athletes. We didn’t have any conversations about winning this week, but our kids sure do compete hard when we are at Tiger Stadium.”
Winning a track meet when hosting is quite difficult. Coach Armbruster added, “I’m extremely proud of them for their efforts because there are so many distractions when hosting meets. The rain last week also set us back as we missed some opportunities to get some technical work in.” Nonetheless, the Tigers persevered and executed at the highest possible level their opposition.
The two meets prior have helped the Tiger relay teams. Last week, Festus won the 4x100m relay and medaled in the 4x200m. Both relay lineups were adjusted this week, with similar success. My’Kaila Batee, Kinsey Benack, Olivia Gillam and Alexis Biehle turned in a 1:51 in the 4x200m, a very fast time. The 4x100m team of Ella Shy, Makayla DeClue, Sophie Nolen and Gillam finished in fourth place with a time of 53.54. Said Coach Armbruster, “This group was just half a second off of last week’s performance, which truly shows the depth of the sprint group.”
Picking up personal records at the meet in the 100m were DeClue, Vivian Glaze and Sara Banderman. Batee set a PR in the 200m and Amiah Pittman set her own in the 400m.
Two different 4x1600m relays competed for Festus in a stacked distance field. The team of Ava Leftwich, Madison Caskanett, Jeannie Thornborrow and Allison Faerber finished in second place with a time of 23:54. The other team of Kaylea Holmes, Abby Schnable, Liv Barnett and Ava Wilson finished in fifth place.
The younger relay team also got in on the action. Kaitlyn Reece, Autumn Young, Amelia Brummer and Alyssa Collins represented the Tigers in the Distance Medley Relay, finishing second with a time of 15:49.
Senior Kenzie Yates competed in the 5k for Festus and finished in fifth place.
Day two was quite successful as well. In the 3200m run, Faerber finished in 17th while Leftwich landed in 22nd. These are excellent finishes in an incredibly strong field. Currently, both athletes are among the top times in the Conference.
Despite the windy conditions, the Festus throwers earned a lot of respect. Taylor McMillin won the Discus event with a throw of 33.06m while Sophomore Ciara McDonald threw the javelin 32.26m, earning her a Gold Medal.
Freshman Rylie Moore threw the javelin 28.48m, good for a sixth place performance, and in her first Varsity Shot Put competition she turned in a throw of 8.58m.
In the jumping events, Freshman Haley Heibeck had her best Triple Jump of the season, with a 9.70m, good for seventh place. In the Long Jump, Batee established a new PR of 4.58m, earning her a seventh place finish as well. Freshman Lizzie Skaggs had a nice High Jump performance and set a new PR with a mark of 1.37m.
Pole Vault has traditionally been a strong event for the Tigers. On Saturday, Shy and Nolen teamed up to score 14 of the team’s 96 points, finishing in second and third respectively. Shy cleared 3.04m while Nolen cleared 2.59m.
The McCullough-Douglass Invitational is a great tool to measure against early in the season. Coach Armbruster concluded, “In all, it was a great step towards much bigger goals and we hope to remain focused on the process while enjoying the journey ahead.” It appears the Tigers are on their way towards much more success this season.