JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Russellville senior Makenzie Schwartz has qualified for the Class 1-2 state track and field championships all four years. She finished her career with eight all-state medals, including her first gold medal.
And she wasn't the only athlete from Russellville to bring home the gold.
In addition to Schwartz's win in the Class 1 girls 100-meter dash, the Russellville boys 4x800-meter relay of Austin Roe, Jared Shirley, Campbell Nichols and Ethan Huff took home the title in Class 1 on Saturday at Adkins Stadium.
Schwartz posted a personal-best time of 12.59 seconds to win the 100. Less than four-tenths of a second separated first place from last place in the race.
"I didn't know I won because it was pretty close," said Schwartz, who edged Osceola junior Aleah Asare at the finish line by three-hundredths of a second.
Making the win more impressive was Schwartz had run the 100-meter hurdles final just 15 minutes earlier. Schwartz finished third in that race with a time of 16.19 seconds, but officials had to hold up the medal presentation for that event so she could get back to the starting line for the 100.
"It was really tough, because I was supposed to go (to the bullpen), and they said, 'No, you should just go (to the starting line),"' Schwartz said. "So I was like, 'Aah, I don't know if I'm going to be ready (for the 100).'"
Later in the day, Schwartz received her third state medal when she took third place in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.54 seconds.
Of Schwartz's eight all-state medals, four have come in the 300 hurdles.
"That meant a lot," Schwartz said.
During the preliminary races Friday, May 17, Schwartz finished third in the 100 hurdles (16.14 seconds), second in the 100 (12.79 seconds) and second in the 300 hurdles (47.33 seconds). However, she came up short of going 4-for-4 in state medals when she placed 10th in the 200-meter dash in 26.85 seconds.
Only the top-eight finishers in the prelims advance to the finals.
"I was just going to try the best I can," Schwartz said. "I wasn't going to be upset with anything I did."
The Russellville girls finished eighth in the Class 1 team standings with 22 points, all recorded by Schwartz, who will run track next season at Columbia College.
"I'm really excited," she said.
The Russellville boys entered the 4x800 finals as the No. 2 seed behind Princeton, and the Indians finished second in the race in Class 2 last season.
"I remember putting my second-place medal on my dresser, and at the beginning of the season, I told myself I wanted to make it a gold," Nichols, a sophomore, said.
Roe was in second place when he made the first handoff to Shirley, and the Indians were in third place at the halfway point of the race. However, Nichols ran his 800 split in 2:03, and Russellville was in first place when he made the final handoff to Huff.
"I knew where I had to be was either first place or right behind in second place," Nichols said. "I knew Huff could get to first place and win it. I just had to run as hard as I could."
Huff never let go of the lead, running the final 800 in 2:02. Russellville crossed the finish line in 8:22.64, nearly four full seconds ahead of second-place Princeton.
"I was really pumped up, I knew what I could do," Huff said. "I knew coming in that we might be behind and I might have to catch somebody, or I might just have to hold a small lead.
"I just had the baton and ran my race."
Russellville's 4x800 graduated Harrison Frank and Beau Bryant from last season. Nichols and Shirley were the two returners.
"Last year, Harrison and Beau were more of the leaders," said Shirley, one of three seniors on this year's relay. "This year, I had to step up and be more of a leader."
Roe, Shirley, Nichols and Huff shattered the team's season record in the relay by 17 seconds.
"It feels good to go out on a good note," Roe said as he clutched the first-place plaque.
The state medal was the second of the weekend for Huff, who finished fourth in Friday's 800-meter run in a time of 2:04.20.
It was just the fifth time in his career Huff had run the open 800.
"I wish I would have been out here a lot more, training more," he said. "But it was a lot of fun, sticking with it and coming through my senior year."
He added a third medal Saturday in the 4x200-meter relay. Running along with sophomore Gabe Little, junior Collin Lueckenotte and Roe, the Indians finished eighth in the final with a time of 1:37.33.
Little also finished in seventh place in the 300 hurdles, clocking a time of 43.59 seconds in the final Saturday.
In those four events, the Russellville boys tied Marion C. Early and Liberal for 13th place in the Class 1 team standings with 18 points.
Also competing for the Russellville boys were Nichols, who finished 13th in the 1,600-meter run in 4:43.11, and freshman Arjay Wilson, who placed 15th in the 3,200-meter run in 12:33.03.
For the Russellville girls, junior Gabriela Kauffman placed ninth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 4 feet, 9 inches. Junior Skylar Potts also finished 15th in the long jump with a leap of 14-11.75.
In the 3,200, senior Lindsay Brandt was 10th in a time of 13:27.82 and sophomore Olivia Barnett came in 14th place in 14:12.92.
In the 4x800 relay, Barnett, Brandt, sophomore Natalie Kirchner and senior Chyan Wilkes took 12th place with a time of 11:09.10.
Rich Hill won the Class 1 boys team title with 47 points, while Blue Eye won the girls team title with 68 points.