From staff reports
High jumpers Mike Spicer from Jasper and Darrel Burns from Wheaton have signed letters of intent with Missouri Southern’s men’s track program.
Lions track coach Tom Rutledge also has signed distance runners Tyler Rush from Osage County High School in Linn, Mo., and Drake Smelser from Herculaneum.
Spicer, 6-foot-1, holds the Jasper high jump record of 6-8. He’s a three-year letterman in track and basketball. He was the Eagles’ basketball team most valuable player for two years, and he was MVP and high-point scorer in track last spring.
Burns, at 6-3, set Wheaton’s school record when he won the Class 1 state championship last year at 6-9. He was sixth in state as a sophomore, and he helped the Bulldogs finish second in the team standings in 2011 and third last year.
Earlier the Lions signed two more area athletes in distance runner Drew Buckner from Lamar and thrower Bryan Burns from Carthage.
Rush is a three-time all-stater in both track and cross country. Rush holds the school record for 5,000 meters at 16 minutes, 9 seconds.
Osage County won district cross country titles each of the last four years and placed fourth in state in 2009, second in 2010, first in 2011 and second in 2012.
Smelser is part of a Herculaneum’s traditionally strong distance program.
In the last four years he has helped the Blackcats to two cross country state titles (2010-11) and second-place finishes in 2009 and 2012. Herculaneum also took fourth in state track last year.
MSSU women’s track coach Patty Vavra has signed distance runners Cara Butcher-Spellman from Bolivar and Joni Reinkemeyer from Helias Catholic in Jefferson City.
Butcher-Spellman is a three-time state qualifier in cross country for Bolivar, and she qualified once for the state track meet.
She is part of Bolivar’s school-record setting team in the 4x800 relay.
Reinkemeyer helped Helias win three district team championships in cross country. She has qualified for state track in the 4x800, 1600 meters and 3200 meters.