Navon Currie earned a medal in his last trip to the Class 5 state championship track meet and earned a gold medal in his final prep appearance at Wednesday night’s Meet of Champions at Grain Valley High School.
It was the ending the Blue Springs South senior was hoping for.
Currie earned an eighth-place medal with a time of 15.07 seconds at state and won the Meet of Champions gold medal with a first-place clocking of 15.28 to help lead the Missouri team to a convincing victory over the all-star performers from Kansas.
“This is cool, a great way to end my senior year,” said Currie, who will run track at the University of Central Missouri. “It was kind of a last minute thing. A lot going on, but the meet was so close to Blue Springs I just had to come over here and see what I could do.”
When asked how special it was to win his final prep meet, he grinned.
“It’s exciting, it really is,” he said. “It’s a great way to go into college, with a lot of confidence. And I know Missouri has been winning all these meets so it’s nice to score some points for the Missouri team.”
While many area seniors signed up for the event, many had to back out at the last minute.
“That’s disappointing,” said Fort Osage High School cross country and track assistant coach Chris Earley, the meet organizer, “but it’s certainly easy to understand. These kids have a lot of commitments in the summer.
“Many of them have already left for college, especially the Division I athletes (like William Chrisman’s Daniel Carson and Blue Springs’ Daniel Parker, who left to play football for Texas and Missouri, respectively, a few days after the state track meet). So we’re thankful to get any of the seniors from either side of the state.”
A big draw was reigning state shot put and discus champion Mikayla Kelby of Lee’s Summit West, who won the shot put with a throw of 45 feet, 1 inch to lead the Missouri girls to a victory.
• “What really impressed me tonight were all the youngsters who came out, the kindergarten through 11th graders who competed,” said Earley, who coaches the Eastern Jackson County Track Club.
“We had to have so many heats in their events because there were so many of them. That’s a big reason the meet ran so late tonight. But it’s great to see the young kids come out. We have about 190 kids in our club and about half of them were here tonight competing.”
• Russ Adams, who retired as the track coach at Oak Grove High School following last season, and Keith Peterson, who retired three years ago as the track coach at William Chrisman, were honored at the meet. They received the Heather Woodson Hall of Honor Award.
“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers,” said Peterson, who coached two state high jump champions in Jason Clark and Jordan Warner during a 32-year career. “Track coaches don’t get a lot of recognition and that’s what makes this so special.”
“The high pressure jobs are football and basketball,” said Adams, who coached 29 years, and started the Oak Grove cross country program in 1992. “We’ve had some success and a lot of fun. To receive an honor like this, at this Meet of Champions, is very special. I appreciate it.”
Adams coached a total of 49 boys and girls state qualifiers at Oak Grove.