For their performances in the track and field state championships, Matti Price of Riverton and Zach Westmoreland of Joplin have been named The Globe’s high school athletes of the week for the week ending May 25.
A junior, Price picked up two first places and one second in the sprints to account for Riverton’s 28 points in the Class 3A meet on May 24-26 at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium. The Rams tied for eighth place in the team standings.
Price won the 100 meters (12.39 seconds) and the 400 (56.74) and took second in the 200 (25.98, which was 0.11 seconds behind the winner).
Price was most impressive in the 400, winning the race by about three seconds and beating her regional time by 0.61 seconds, She also ran the fastest 400 in all classes — Dhakiya Blaker of 6A Leavenworth was the next fastest at 56.92.
“It was an amazing weekend,” Riverton coach Blake Arehart said. “In the first event she ran, the 100, we thought that would be her toughest event of the weekend, and she ended up winning. We thought she had a really good chance to win the 400, her main event. She ended up running the No. 1 time in the state and winning by right-at three seconds. She was favored in the 200, ran out of gas at the end and took second.
“She was prepped and ready to run on Friday, but everything was rained out. She had to readjust her mind and come out on Saturday. It took a lot of mental toughness, and she went out and competed very well. She exceeded our expectations. I couldn’t have been more proud of her.”
Westmoreland, a junior, became the state champion in the javelin at the Class 5 meet on May 25 at Battle High School in Columbia.
Westmoreland won with a throw of 194 feet, 6 inches — not only his personal best but also a state record in all classes. He beat runner-up Braden Presser of Liberty North by exactly 10 feet.
Westmoreland entered the meet as the second seed behind teammate Isaiah Davis, who finished third at 176-4.
“I would not say I was shocked,” Joplin coach Brandon Taute said. “He’s been getting better every week. Both of them had a good chance to win it, but I knew either one on any given day could beat the state record.
“They compete every day. It’s a friendly rivalry that goes back and forth. Next year it will be even more exciting.”
Westmoreland also placed sixth in the long jump at 22-3.
“He’s a natural athlete,” Taute said. “We could put him in any event and he would do exceptionally well. He does whatever we ask of him.”
THeSe ARE THE FINAL athletes of the week for the 2018-19 school year.