Tucked among the greatness that Missouri athletes produced was a diamond in the rough by Tatum David
St. Louis, MO-
It wasn't as scorching as last year when the Mercury reached the middle to the upper 80s coupled with high humidity. At best it was 76F and not anywhere the stuffiness can get in the Mississippi Valley region. The comfortable climes produced some of the fastest times of the season those high and wide.
The Girls Order of Things-
The first race of the evening shift after the National Anthem was the girl's junior high mile sponsored by the Children's Hospital. A newcomer and a name that has been whispered among the running circle was a youngster by the name of Tatum David of St. Joseph of Olney, IL. Tatum took off from the gun and gapped the field as though she should have been in the elite field. Splits of 71 and 2:25 was more than enough to dispatch the field and ultimately get the class record. Tatum would clock a sizzling 4:57.21- more than 20 seconds faster than the runner up.
The prelude to the championship mile race was the elite developmental mile. Senior Alexis Barber of Ozark MO won a close one in 5:04.90. She would top her personal best of 5:11 by a substantial margin... the championship race was filled a ton of possible greats. The major name in the field was Samantha Schadler of Rio Rico HS Arizona. The All-American cross country runner trailed Clara Mayfield of Manhattan KS through the 1st half in 2:22. But the second half of the race was a different story as Schadler took flight and pulled away for the fast win 4:48.33. A total of ten runners broke the massive 5:00 barrier.
Mixed in between the prep miles and the professional races was the 800m with times ranging from 2:11-2:18. Daphne Matthews of Heritage Hall, OK was considered one of the favorites. Matthews led through for the first lap in 63.6. Addie Coppinger of Kansas City, MO pulled even with Matthews with 120m remaining and appeared as though she would take it. However, Lee's Summit West Madison Hulsey charged up the home straight and passed both of them for the win in 2:12.63.
The Missouri boys nearly run the table-
The 8th grader Dawson Welch of Springdale, AR made his return and took over the pacing with even splitting that eventually led to him winning the junior high race in a personal best 4:38.15.
The Spewak Training High School Boy's Elite Development Mile started out tightly bunched with the pacer pulling the group through the first quarter mile in 65-seconds. As the race matured down to the final 200, it appeared as though Jack Warner of Staley HS in Kansas City, MO had the upper hand. He surged through the finish line in 4:19.71.
The Boy's 800m was held prior to the elite mile and for the first time in several years, there was no Brandon Miller in it. The John Burroughs HS star was on hand as a spectator, but still healing from a season-ending leg injury. Martin Strong of local Kirkwood, MO battled with Harrison Witt of Mountain Vista, CO and Gabriel Robinson of Ravenswood, TN. Strong was too much with 100 to go won in 1:52.49.
The final event of the evening pitted more intrigue. No true mile superstar did not matter. Carter Cheeseman of Ft. Worth, TX was the biggest name, but he is more of a longer runner and will be projected as a 5k runner at Notre Dame. Christian Baker saw his fellow Kirkwood teammate Martin Strong win the 800 moments before. And he won the triple crown this past school year as the state's top distance runner. The pacesetter took the field through the first lap in 62-seconds. Things shaped out by the half-mile in around 2:05. Cheeseman assumed the lead when the pacer stepped off the track. He could not shake the pack. Camren Fischer of Fayetteville, AR moved into the pole position with Cheeseman. Finally, with 200m to go, Baker made a decisive move and held on for dear life in a crowd-pleasing 4:08.59. It was a huge lifetime best and state #1/US#2 clocking. Cheeseman earned a personal best and second place running 4:09..23. Fischer rocked third in 4:09.56.