MACON – It's almost hard to predict who's going to win the 100-meter dash between St. Teresa's Jason Duncan and Warrensburg-Latham's Lewis twins, Dionte and Diondre.
Duncan, though, prevailed this time in the Macon County Meet just ahead ahead of Dionte and Diondre with a time of 11.71 seconds on a windy Tuesday afternoon at Meridian.
“They are always tough competition,” Duncan said. “I love to compete and so do they. It's always good when we get to go head-to-head against each other. Last year, we traded off first, second and third. This year, I'm trying to get first as much as I can. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to keep trying.”
Duncan claimed a couple of wins last year. However, Diondre ultimately finished ahead in the Class 1A state finals with fourth place while Duncan took ninth.
“Any time I'm racing against them, they are pushing me,” Duncan said. “Just competing with them kind of gives me an edge. It's a good, competitive relationship.”
Duncan also jumpstarted a couple of dominant relays in the first leg of the 4x100 and 4x200.
St. Teresa's 4x100 was nearly unchallenged and logged 43.81 seconds -- almost three seconds ahead of runner-up Meridian – and the Bulldogs held off Warrensburg-Latham in the 4x200.
Yet, the Cardinals still nudged St. Teresa for first place as a team on the boys side.
“They're fun competition and I know our boys get excited to race them,” St. Teresa boys coach Bryan Kenney said of the Lewis twins. “Jason really likes racing with both of them, but he did a good job of running today. His time wasn't great, but he did what he needed to win.”
Sophomore anchor Jacardia Wright managed to stay a couple steps ahead of one of the charging Lewis twins down the homestretch in the 4x200. It's a dynamic relay team that also features Cayden Brilley and Zach Jarrett.
This is Brilley's first year on the track team and Kenney said that has helped elevate this team to a higher level.
“We're a good 4x1 and 4x2 team,” Wright said. “We got Jason who's really fast in 100 and No. 2 in the state. It really helps with him and we're all doing really well right now.
“We can do some good things this year. We got to stay to it and practice our handoffs. We'll be good.”
The Warrensburg-Latham girls team is aiming for first place in the Class 1A state finals with a couple of veteran state medalists leading the way: KD Young and Taylor George.
Both easily dominated their events.
Young is back after three straight years sweeping first place at state in the shot put and discus throw — and she's already set a personal best in the discus throw this season with 157-7 ½ feet last week in Clinton.
She still has some ground to make up if she wants to break Kelsey Cards' state record of 167-4, though.
“I want to keep working on my speed,” said Young, who threw a 50-10 in the shot put and 152-2 in the discus on Tuesday. “It's hard, but you just have to practice on using the left side of your body when you're throwing so it translates on your right side of your body. It's hard to do.”
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Right behind her was senior teammate Kaitlynn Pisaniello, who's making her own run toward state.
She surpassed state qualifying marks with 35-8 in the shot and 110-7 in the discus.
“I've come a long ways,” Pisaniello said. “I remember my freshman year throwing in the 70s for discus. I've really taken off these last couple of years and I have KD and her dad to thank helping me and practicing with me and staying on me every day.”
Sprinter Taylor George won all four of her races: 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200.
She didn't like her times, but first place was satisfying enough.
“It was super-windy, so all of my times were terrible,” George said. “It hit you like a wall. I wasn't even expecting it. I was dead by the end of the 100 and that wasn't normal for me. Running my times that I've ran in middle school is not something I enjoy doing, but I'm glad that I won.”
Afraid of heights?
St. Teresa sophomore DaeLin Switzer nearly pulled off a personal best 5-8 in the high jump but settled with 5-6 instead, which was the same mark that won her state last year.
She still hasn't seemed to overcome her fear of heights since starting high jump in middle school.
“Every time I attempt 5-8, I get so close,” Switzer said. “Like my first jump today, I was way over but I'm scared of heights. So when I get too high up in the air, I push it (the bar) down because I get scared. That's what I did today.
“I feel like when I get to my PR, I just get scared like, 'Oh my gosh, this is really high.' I'm way over the bar, but I literally take my hand and push the bar down.”
It's all that is stopping her from climbing even higher this year.
“My goal is 5-9 and I can't do that if I can't get 5-8. I'm just going to keep trying,” Switzer said. “I have practice tomorrow and I'll work on that.”
Meridian junior Cameron Getz has mixed feelings now that former teammate Noah Adams is gone.
He misses the camaraderie, but at least he can get first place in the high jump.
After setting a personal record 6-8 in Pana on Saturday, April 15, he soared to 6-6 for first place at his home track.
Getz's high was 6-5 last year.
“I started to work with my personal trainer a lot, Drew Hall,” Getz said. “He's a great coach and he's helped me out a lot in the last few months. I didn't have any form last year. We improved on my form a lot.”