Poplar Bluff track and field earns 4 All-State medals
Poplar Bluff had four track and field athletes earn All-State honors.
Khelie Spence, Xzavier Bartlett, Marquis Johnson and Gage Rowland all finished in the top eight while the Mules sent 12 total athletes to the MSHSAA Class 5 meet Saturday at Battle High School in Columbia.
“I was pleased,” Poplar Bluff boys track coach Mark Barousse said. “I was hoping we could have done a little bit better and gotten a few more up there on the podium, but 5A is really, really good this year.”
Gage Rowland finished seventh in the pole vault with a personal best height of 14-feet, 3-inches for Poplar Bluff’s best finish. Reagan Ulrich of Branson won the event by clearing 16 feet and was the only person to go higher than 15-3.
Johnson, Spence and Bartlett all finished eighth.
Johnson cleared 21-7 in the long jump while Bartlett finished the 400 with a personal record of 50.05 seconds and Spence ran the 100-hurdles in 15.31. Johnny Brackins of Lee’s Summit won the long jump with a distance of 23-9.25, or 2-2.25 feet farther than Johnson.
Bartlett was nearly four seconds behind Justin Robinson of Hazelwood West, who won in 46.30. Tyra Wilson of Rock Bridge won the 100 hurdles in 13.70, about 1.5 seconds ahead of Spence.
Among the other individual competitors, Luke Barousse cleared 13-9 in the pole vault, Jadarius Pigg finished 13th in the 110-hurdles (15.84), and Preston Taylor had a new personal best in the shot put with a throw of 45-9.25.
The Poplar Bluff 4x100 team of Austin Tinsley, Shemyron Townsend, Justin Mitchell and Josiah Kilgore finished 16th in 43.66 and the 4x200 team of Colby Tomlinson, Tinsley, Bartlett and Townsend finished 14th in 1:31.21.
“Hopefully we can just continue to get better,” Barousse said. “I think the future looks bright.”
Bartlett and Townsend, who competed on the relay teams, were the only seniors to compete at state for Poplar Bluff. The Mules will also graduate Dylan Cisne, who was a key member in the distance events.
“We’ve got a bunch of young kids who got experience of being at state and that will bode well for next year,” Barousse said. “We’ve got a bunch of freshman and sophomores that are really talented.”