On paper, the Wright City boys 3,200 relay team was a heavy favorite to advance to the Class 3 state meet Friday in Jefferson City. The Wildcats were ranked second in their sectional and held a …
On paper, the Wright City boys 3,200 relay team was a heavy favorite to advance to the Class 3 state meet Friday in Jefferson City.
The Wildcats were ranked second in their sectional and held a 13-second lead over the fifth-place group from McCluer South-Berkely.
Then the race began, and everything changed.
Nick Mueller was spiked in the back of his leg by a competitor’s shoe on the first lap, falling onto the track and all but killing the Wildcat’s hopes of a state appearance.
Mueller was able to recover and Wright City finished fifth, but it would be the last race of the relay team’s season.
“They wanted him to have stitches, but they super-glued it,” Wright City Head Coach Sue Wright said. “He got spiked, tripped and fell down. All that stuff. But he finished.”
Wright was hardly surprised by Mueller’s recovery.
“I don’t think people realize how tight that first lap is in the 4X8 until they run it,” she said. “When you get to the second and third lap, then it gets spread out. You’re sad for him, but they’re OK with it. It happens. Nick has always been that first kid and he’s handled it very well.”
Bryce Reash helped close the gap in the third leg, running a personal-best 2 minutes, 10 seconds.
“Those are things you can take home and be back next year ready to go,” Wright said. “It was a sad day, but the kids did well. I told them that if you gave it your all, it’s all I can ask.”
Jake Mueller’s day didn’t get any better when he transitioned from the 3,200 relay to the 800-meter.
Mueller came into the sectional ranked second with a season-best time of 2 minutes, 2.66 seconds.
He finished sixth Saturday in 2:07.16.
“Jake doesn’t have a killer instinct,” Wright said. “I don’t know if he wants to go into the bigger competitions, but I’m going to work on that mental thing next year. He should have been there, and he knows it. But he’s OK with it. I think it bothers me more than the kids.”
Finished fifth overallJake Mueller races around the track in last week's sectional meet in Mexico. Jimmy Potts photo.