New Franklin’s Davi Smith and Tyler Perkins  knew what was at stake Saturday during the Class 1 District 2 Track Meet at LaPlata.
While competing against a field of 14 teams for the girls and 15 for the boys, Smith and Perkins delivered on a big stage over the weekend by placing first in the high jump and 800-meter run respectively.
Smith placed first in the high jump with a jump of 4’-11” while Perkins led a strong field in the 800-meter run with a winning time of 2:13.56.
As a team, New Franklin qualified for sectionals in 11 events this coming Saturday at Oakville High School in St. Louis.
“Going into the district meet, it was hard to know what to expect,” said New Franklin coach Adam Quest. “Most of the schools we hadn’t really seen at all this season.  I was hopeful that we would get 8 or 9 events through to Sectionals.  In the end, I couldn’t have been prouder of how well both teams competed at the meet.  They overcame some tough competition and performed better than I could have ever imagined that they would.  We ended up qualifying 11 events through to the next round, which is the most we have had go on since 2014.  And for the first time ever in my tenure as coach, we have more boys events moving on than we do girls.  We ended up bringing home two district championships.”
Quest said the day was started off on a winning note by high jumper Davi Smith.  He said Smith has been a wonderful addition to the team this year, and couldn’t have been happier to see her win the event.  
“It was great to see all of her hard work pay off this season,” Quest said. “Our other championship came from Tyler Perkins in the 800.  Tyler has been flirting with an elite status all season long.  But at most meets, he was in several other events that caused him to be fatigued once the 800m came around.  We kept him out of the mile today so he could focus on the 800m, and the effort paid off.  He ran an outstanding race, and ended up passing a rival from Cairo right at the line to bring home the victory.  It was truly something to see.”
Senior Madison Matney also brought home two medals in the shot put and discus. Although Matney had to settle for second in both with throws of 34’-11 1/2” in the shot and 101’-1” in the discus, she knows that Saturday’s sectional meet is a new day.
“As she has done all season, senior thrower Madison Matney had an outstanding day as well, qualifying second in both the shot put and discus,” Quest said. “Madi is really throwing well right now, and she had a lot of confidence going into the meet.  She ended up with a new season best in the shot put, just a half inch shy of the 35 foot mark.”
The New Franklin girls 4 x 100 and 4 x 200-meter relay teams of Jordan Leighton, Nicole Blumer, Davi Smith and Mallori Burnett also punched their ticket by placing third and fourth in times of 56.40 seconds and 1:58.45, respectively.
As for the New Franklin boys track team, Sam Ridgeway finished second in the 3200 in 12:07.59. Hayden Wiseman placed third in the same race in 12:16.85. Also placing third was the 4 x 800-meter relay team of Luke Paddock, Asa Fischer, David Brucks and Tyler Perkins in 9:31.99.
Fourth place finishers were Fischer in the 1600 in a time of 5:31.11 and the 4 x 400-meter relay team of Kolby Anson, Luke Paddock, David Brucks and Tyler Perkins in 4:00.81.
“We had several boys distance runners that ended up putting together marvelous races and ended up surprising a lot of people by qualifying for the next round,” Quest said.  “Sam Ridgeway and Hayden Wiseman finished second and third respectively in the 3200, while Freshman Asa Fischer came from nowhere and finished fourth in the mile.”
In the final-team standings, Knox County captured first for the girls with 129 points while Harrisburg finished second with 94.50 points. New Franklin girls placed sixth overall with 44 points.
For the boys, Paris finished first with 136 points while Harrisburg placed second with 95 points. New Franklin boys, meanwhile, finished seventh overall with 40 points.
The Prairie Home boys and girls track team also had a successful weekend  in the Class 1 District 5 Track Meet at Russellville.
In all, the Panthers qualified for sectionals in seven events.
Junior Blake Petsel qualified in two individual events by placing second in the 100 in 12.07 seconds and fourth in the 200 in 24:03. Petsel also ran a leg on both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400-meter relay teams, which finished third and second in times of 48.67 seconds and 3:57.30, respectively. Competing on the 4 x 100-meter relay team along with Petsel were Creed Flood, Clayton Pethan and Gabe Turner. Petsel, Flood and Pethan also competed with Sage Eichenburch on the 4 x 400.
Also finishing second for Prairie Home were Eichenburch in the 1600 in 5:03.81 and Pethan in the 400-meter dash in 55.54 seconds.
Kourtney Kendrick was the only qualifier for the girls by finishing fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 30’-0”. Kendrick also took 16th in the 100 in 15.79 seconds.
Allen Haslag placed fifth in thee 3200 in 12:11.30 while Turner finished sixth in the triple jump at 31’-5 1/2”, 11th in the long jump at 15’-9 1/2” and 13th in the discus at 76’-6”.
Kelsey Watson, meanwhile, finished 11th in both the 100 in 15.08 seconds and 11th in the discus at 67’-9”.