Coming into Saturday’s Class 4, Sectional 2 meet at MICDS, none of the three Warrenton boys relay teams were in the top four times of their respective races.

“We knew we’d have to catch some breaks to get through and on to state with the three relay teams,” Warrenton Head Coach Steve McDowell said. “But the boys competed really well and kind of ran what they had been running all year long.”

The 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams failed to qualify for the Class 4 meet in Jefferson City, thanks to a fast sectional that had the Warriors needing to have a few things fall their way throughout the day.

The 3,200 team of Andrew Hodgson, Paul Sanders, Ben Sommer and Nate Nordwald finished sixth in 8 minutes, 31.72 seconds, roughly 20 seconds out of fourth place and a qualifying spot.

McDowell still saw a bright spot, however.

“That 4X8 team only ran together three or four different times this year,” he said. “We knew they had a chance to get through districts, and they competed pretty well at sectionals, too. That was a little bit of a surprise because when that group first ran together, it was over nine minutes. So they cut close to 45 seconds off their first time, which is kind of amazing to be able to do that.”

Nolan Chmiel, Dylan Smith, Brenden Smith and Sam Smith battled in the 400 relay, finishing seventh in 45.21 seconds.

Parkway Central finished fourth in 43.83.

“Some of the teams were just a bit faster than we were on that particular day, and we knew it was going to take some work to get it done,” McDowell said. “But hats off to our guys for getting to sectional and making it that far. They’re a young group, too, so we have a lot of guys coming back next year.”

Sam Smith, Dylan Smith and Chmiel joined Dylan Chandler in the 800 relay, and the group finished seventh in 1:33.27.

“We just told them to go run their race,” McDowell said. “Our handoffs were good, and that’s always huge in these kinds of races. We didn’t really make any mistakes and we were pretty consistent with what we’ve been running all year.”

With a majority of the roster expected to return next year, McDowell is excited for the future.

“I thought we had a pretty good season. We were able to win a couple of meets at Wright City and St. Dominic, and it’s a young team,” he said. “We basically had four seniors and four juniors competing, and the rest were sophomores and freshmen, so the future is really bright for the program.”

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