The Wright City girls track team knew it would need some of its best performances of the season to advance to the Class 3 meet in Jefferson City, but tough sectional competition kept the Wildcats out of the top four in their four events at Saturday’s meet at Lutheran North.

Freshman Peyton Hart jumped two inches off her personal-best in the high jump, losing a jump off after hitting 4 feet, 10 inches.

“It wasn’t her highest, but it kept her close and she finished tied for sixth,” Wright City Coach Fred Ross said. “Four-10 got out, so if she had one less miss at a lower height, she would have gotten out.”

Falling short of the state meet wasn’t in the plans, but Ross said it was easy to look back positively on Hart’s freshman campaign.

“She broke the school record as a freshman and has three more years with us,” he said. “She has a good base of skills, and if she works a little more on her technique and getting stronger, I think she’ll be a force in the coming years.”

As a three-sport athlete, Hart will have plenty of opportunities to get stronger between now and next spring.

“She’ll lift for volleyball and basketball, so she’ll definitely keep getting stronger,” Ross added. “And with Coach (Billy) Garrett working with her on technique, that will really help her out. It’s really rare to break a school record as a freshman, so she has a good start to her high school career.”

Senior Danielle Dyer graduated with the school record in the 400, where she finished seventh Saturday afternoon in 1 minute, 4.27 seconds.

Dyer broke — and then reset — the Wright City record the previous two meets at                 Lutheran North in early May, and would have needed to break the record again to qualify for state.

Orchard Farm’s Bailey Boyer finished fourth Saturday in 1:01.45.

“She was on the bubble, and she ran her slowest time in the 400 Saturday,” Ross said. “If she had been running around those normal teams she had hit all season, she would have really been competitive in that race. It’s hard when you only have one race and you have to get ready when it’s hot and humid, and I know things just didn’t go right for her Saturday.”

Like Dyer, senior Kailyn Gudermuth also graduated with a school record.

Gudermuth holds the Wright City javelin record at 118-5, but finished fifth Saturday with a final toss of 113-9.

Trinity Catholic’s Sydney Juszczyk won the event at 149, and Bowling Green’s Katelynn Charlton finished fourth at 114-3.

“She still threw in the teens, but she just came up a little short,” Ross said. “All the girls threw in the teens, and she just needed a little more distance. She needed what she got last week, and just fell short by six inches. But she’s still our school record holder. We were hoping for her to be our first two-time state qualifier in a long time, and she almost had that this year. But you have to be proud of what she accomplished this season.”

The Wildcats’ 3,200-meter relay team of Hart, Evelyn Bruno, Maryanna Hale and Ashley Lawson finished eighth in its race in 11:30.08.

“They were really slow, but hopefully it’s a learning experience for them,” Ross said. “We’ll have everyone back in that 4X8 next year, so that’s a good thing to look forward to.”

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