It was hard to be disappointed in the results, no matter how frustrating a fifth-place finish can be in the district track meet.
Seven Wright City athletes finished one spot away from the sectional meet at Saturday’s district meet at Lutheran North.
“We’ve been preaching all year that we’re working on getting those PRs,” Wright City Coach Fred Ross said. “And if you make it, you make it, and if you don’t, you don’t. But we want them to work on themselves and to keep getting better.”
The Wildcats competed in one of the fastest districts in the state, and the numbers didn’t lie.
Junior Jayden Mahaney, for example, ran one of his fastest races of the season in 100 meters.
It wasn’t enough, though, as he finished fifth in 11.54 seconds, just one one-hundredth of a second out of the qualifying spot.
Mahaney made the most of other opportunities, however.
He ran the anchor leg in the 800 relay that finished fourth (1:36.39), joining teammates John Simon, Cody Eck and Julian Muller-Williams.
Mahaney also qualified in the 200 after finishing fourth in 23.64 seconds.
“It was good to see him get through after that tough finish in the 100,” Ross said. “But the other district we’ll see is really tough in the 200, so we’ll see how that goes. He worked hard and still got out in two events, so that’s not bad at all.”
Joe Phillips punched his ticket to the sectional in the javelin after a third-place finish (127 feet),
Phillips is currently 14th in the sectional with a personal-best of 129-8 this season.
“Joe did a good job of doing what needed to be done,” Ross said. “A couple of guys didn’t do what they needed to do, and Joe did. And he’ll need to step up this week to get out because the other district is loaded there.”
Ricky McDonald won a jump-off in the pole vault to get through in fourth place, clearing 10-9 in his final jump.
“It’s a shame we had seven fifth places because a lot of those kids were so close, but we probably caught a break in the 4X2,” Ross said. “That’s why you practice those handoffs because that’s what cost a team their spot and got us in.”
Ross said another weekend at Lutheran North can only help the Wildcats Saturday.
“We’ve been there two weeks in a row and we know how everything is set up with the conditions and runways, and things like that,” he said. “We’ve been setting PRs lately, and we’ll probably have to do that again to help out.”