The dedication shown girls on the Lafayette track and field team left a big impression on Lancers coach Rick Voss.
The Lancers, fresh off an impressive fourth-place finish at the recent Class 5 state track and field championships at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, went back to work immediately after to begin efforts to improve. Despite efforts by Voss to get the girls to enjoy their moment, the athletes chose to continue to hit the weights and keep running.
“We started our summer strength and conditioning program on the Monday after the state meet, and I could not keep the girls away,” Voss said. “I told some of them to take some time, but they still showed up to get started for next season.”
The fourth-place finish was a great accomplishment for the program after being tied for 28th in 2014 and winding up 35th in 2013. It’s been a long time since the Lancers placed that high in the state meet.
“It was a great meet for the Lancers,” Voss said about this spring’s performance by his squad. “Anytime you can score 45 points at the state meet, something went well.”
“Overall it was a great season. We finished fourth as a team and took home our first team trophy since 1993.”
Junior Anna West won the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10 minutes, 38.38 seconds.
“We knew Anna had a chance in the 3200, but she had to run a smart race and she did,” Voss said. “Winning an individual state event is difficult and Anna rose to the challenge. The young lady from St. Teresa’s Academy (senior Ann Campbell) is a great runner and her and Anna had a drag race down the front stretch after the first 7 ¾ laps.”
Campbell was just behind West with a time of 10:38.71.
West finished second in the 1,600 run. Her time was 4:54.70. Voss said that was a good time.
“Anna’s 1600 was another great race for the weekend,” Voss said. “She ran strong from start to finish.”
West has a spring season to remember, Voss said.
“Anna is about as dedicated of a runner as you will find. She had a great cross country season and spent the winter training and running races. Our whole group of distance girls put in a lot of work in the off season and it showed all season.
“Anna spent the season rewriting our record board at Lafayette. She owns three solo records and is a part of two relay records. The whole distance group pushes each other in practice and supports each other on race days.”
Something also went well in two other events for the Lancers as school records in those races tumbled.
The 4×800 meter relay team broke a long-standing school record, Voss said.
Girls on the winning relay were West, junior Sarah Nicholson, senior Courtney Trube, and senior Elise Larson. The new school record time is 9:16.79. It was good enough to finish second at state.
“They all ran great,” Voss said. “Anna finished it up with a 2:12 split.”
Senior Marissa Gress broke her own school record in the 300 meter hurdles. Her time was 43.05 seconds.
Gress had a big weekend at the state meet and Voss noticed.
“Another big point getter for Lafayette was Marissa Gress,” Voss said. “She was third in the 300-meter hurdles, fifth in the 200-meter dash (25.38), and sixth in the 100-meter dash (12.56).
“She had a busy weekend and ran great. She also ran on our 4x400m relay that did not qualify for the finals.”
The Lancers lost 20 total seniors to graduation.
“Many of those young ladies where four-year athletes for us and scored a lot of points,” Voss said.
That doesn’t mean next year will be a rebuilding year for Lafayette.
“We do have a talented group of young ladies returning,” Voss said. “And the standard of work has been set by those who have graduated. They have high expectations.”