Move over Ronnie Pines, you’ve got company. Pines, the sprint sensation from Soldan High captured the boys 100-meter Missouri Class 3A state titles in 2002 and 2003, before going on to a successful career at the University of Oklahoma by way of a Kansas junior college.
Until a couple of weeks ago, no Public High League boys sprinter had won a state title in the 100 meters in back-to-back seasons. But Cleveland ROTC junior Michael Wells accomplished the feat by capturing the 100 meters for the second consecutive season in Class 2 by registering a time of 10.79 seconds, following his 10.74 clocking as a sophomore. (Pines’ best 100-meter state time was 10.82 seconds in 2003.)
As it turns out, Wells represents the best and the brightest of the PHL performer as another track and field season is officially in the books. Given the number of sprint relay teams and middle-distance runners from the PHL who placed high at the state meets in the past, 2013 can be viewed as a ‘down’ year for the PHL, particularly in the boys division. However, the exploits of Wells, Soldan boys sprinter Dorion Galvin , Vashon boys hurdler Devin Herndon, Gateway Tech hurdler Danyell Kates and a host of Soldan girls relay teams still gave the PHL notable accomplishments at the state meets in Jefferson City this spring.
In addition to winning the 100 meters for a second straight year, Wells also captured the Class 2 state title two weeks ago, in the 200 meters in 22.02 seconds and he anchored his club’s winning 4×100-meter and 4×200-meter relay squads to victory. Lonnie Orr, Diamond Hodge and Devonta Kazze ran the other slots on the relay unit.
Meanwhile in the Class 1 division of the state meet, the PHL claimed a victory in the boys open 400 meters when McKinley’s Anthony Williams won the event in 50.35 seconds. Williams also anchored his club’s 4×400-meter relay with Benjamin Clark, Deandre Mitchell and Authority Anue to victory as well. McKinley’s girls 4×100-meter relay team got the next best thing by taking second place, as the quartet of Ria Smith, Kianna Hurd, Allison Smith and Jamila Ricketts circled the track in just over 52 seconds.
Last weekend in the Class 4 and Class 3 meets, Galvin captured fourth place in the 100 meters in 11.26 seconds ,while Herndon took third place for the second straight season in the 100-meter high hurdles in 14.99 in the boys Class 3 division.
“Basically he moved up four spots from last year when he (Galvin) finished eighth,” noted Soldan boys coach Ronnie Spivey. “So he showed a lot of improvement. We focused on improving his starts and his follow-through in the race.”
But while Spivey was proud of the emergence of Galvin, who actually showed improvement from the district rounds to the sectional rounds, the coach was disappointed that his sprint relay and middle-distance relays didn’t place high at state, given its success prior to that.
“I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t do as well all the way through,” said Spivey. “We had made some substantial gains during the season but some of our performances at state were disappointing. I had a lot of seniors on this team, so we will be starting over. We have some young guys back but basically we’ll have to see what happens.”
In contrast, Soldan’s girls relay teams won high consolation medals in the 4×100(second place), 4×200 and 4×400-meter relays (both third place) with the running combinations of twins Kia and Tia Brimer, Jasia Crawford, Traci Mills and Haneefah Staples. Mills also placed third in the long jump with a leap of 16-feet-7 inches.Sumner’s girls also received a consolation medal when JaIanna Williams placed fifth in the 400 meters in 59.54 seconds.