JEFFERSON CITY - John Berry saved his best for last. Tyree Snorgrass started with his best and stayed there.
Berry of Pleasant Hill and Snorgrass of Raymore-Peculiar took different approaches to their events at the Class 3 and 4 state track meets last weekend. But both ended with the same result – a gold medal.
Berry and Snorgrass brought home Cass County’s two state championships from the May 30-31 event at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium. Berry won the Class 3 boys shot put, while Snorgrass took the Class 4 boys high jump.
Berry’s winning mark of 55 feet, 11 inches didn’t come until his final attempt. Until then, he said he wasn’t happy with the way he was throwing, especially since he was nowhere near his personal best of 57-8 ½.
“I didn’t throw as far as I wanted to, but I threw good enough to get first,” said Berry, a senior who placed fourth last season at state. “I was really off most of the day until the last throw.”
Snorgrass, on the other hand, reeled off his winning 22-10 ¼ long jump on his second attempt in preliminaries. Not only was it a personal best by five inches, but it also broke a school record that had stood for 25 years.
“I had a good warm-up coming in, so I knew I’d jump good,” Snorgrass said. “I had some competitors out here so I wanted to go after them in prelims, so that way I could take it easy in finals.”
The finals still proved stressful for Snorgrass as he waited to see if his earlier effort would stick. His main concern was Curtis Goldman of Rockhurst, whom Snorgrass knew was capable of exceeding his mark.
When Goldman could do no better than 22-9, Snorgrass could finally relax.
“It made me a little nervous,” Snorgrass said. “I was glad that it carried over, because my final jumps weren’t as good as my prelims.”
Ray-Pec senior Morgan Smith came to Jefferson City to defend her Class 4 girls 300-meter hurdles title from last season. Smith didn’t repeat, but it took a state-record 41.79-second effort from McCluer North’s Jasmine Barge to beat her.
That offered little consolation for Smith, who finished in 43.34 seconds.
“No, It’s still harsh,” she said.
Barge also beat Smith in the 100 hurdles, but she felt much better about that race. Her 14.72 time was both a personal best and a school record. That helped ease some of the disappointment from the day before, when Smith and the Panthers’ 1,600 relay team failed to make the finals despite posting some of the best times in the state this season.
“To be honest, I do not know what happened,” Smith said. “I think the heat just got to all of us. We weren’t as confident as we had been in past meets.”
Ray-Pec had two other all-state finishers in Jason Fambrough, who placed seventh in the boys 3,200 in a school-record 9:31.48, and Loren Anderson, who took fifth in the boys 110 hurdles.
Harrisonville sprinter Matt Prindle saw his day in the Class 3 boys meet start on a down note when a missed handoff took his team out of the 800 relay. After that, Prindle’s day could only get better, and it did.
Prindle, Brandon Brewster, Isack Jordan and Wyatt Schenker shook off their disappointment to place fourth in the 400 relay in 43.22. Prindle later took sixth in the 200.
“It’s all about looking past those lows and moving on to the next one,” Prindle said. “You can’t let it get in your head; it’s all mental.”
Prindle said it was hard to shake off what happened in the 800, especially when the Wildcats thought they should have been allowed to continue because they retrieved the dropped baton in the handoff zone. Race officials saw it differently, though.
“You can’t dwell on one moment, it’s happened before,” Prindle said. “Not many relay teams get two chances, so we’re very thankful for that.”
Heather Hughes of Pleasant Hill also had a busy meet, placing sixth in the Class 3 girls 800 and the 400. The Roosters’ Logan Blomquist finished fifth in the discus.