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STATE TRACK: College Heights relay, TJ’s Atteberry earn medals

By:
Cody Thorn

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Joplin schools brought home a pair of medals from the boys Class 1 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships on Saturday.

College Heights Christian had the best finish, coming in the 4×800-meter relay — taking second in 8:34.

It was the first trip back to the podium in the two-mile race since the Cougars won back-to-back Class 2 titles in 2016 and 2017.

Rolen Sanderson competes for College Heights on Saturday in Jefferson City. Photo by Cody Thorn.

College Heights started with sophomore Derrick McMillan and had them in second place. By the time freshman Rolen Sanderson finished his two laps, he passed the baton to sophomore Corban Thomas with the Cougars in first place.

Thomas maintained the lead for College Heights before freshman Caleb Quade ran the final two laps but was passed by Calvary Lutheran’s Grant Going, who took his team to the top of the podium with a nearly nine-second margin.

The Cougars missed a chance at a second medal when the 4×400-meter relay team finished ninth, one spot out of an all-state medal in the final race of the day.

Quade and Sanderson were on that team as well, while freshmen Colsen Dickens and Ethan Ukena made up the other two runners.

The team finished in 3:38.90, just a smidge behind Mound City’s 3:38.61 that took the final spot. The time was a season best for College Heights, dropping two seconds.

“It was so competitive,” Quade said. “Every race we’d been to, there had been like two teams better than us. This race, there were seven in our heat (better).”

 Wellington-Napoleon jumped from the first heat – generally slower times – into the top eight and finished sixth. That bumped the Cougars, who were the second heat, out of the all-state realm.  

Dickens and Ukena were on the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams that were 11th and 14th, respectively. That team also featured Dominic Gingerich and Matt Williams, both freshmen.

Thomas Jefferson Independent sophomore Kip Atteberry took fourth place in his debut at state. He finished the 1,600-meter race in 4:48.56, resetting his mark as the school record holder he broke earlier this year.

This was the third time he broke the record and used the motivation from a heat sheet to improve his seed spot of fifth place.

“I knew I wanted to come out and go higher,” he said. “And there is this overwhelming feeling coming into state and you feel it in your chest. I got nervous as I got to the line. I wasn’t feeling good, but I wanted to run the race I was supposed to.”

He gradually moved from eighth to sixth over the first two laps and settled into fourth over the final two. His 1:09.23 split on the final 400 was second behind his opening split of 1:08.64.

Thomas Jefferson’s Kip Atteberry competes during the Class 1 state track meet on Saturday. Photo by Cody Thorn.

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