There’s a reason why Lafayette boys track and field coach Matt Warren is still wearing a big smile.
His Lancers finished second in the Class 5 state track meet at Dwight T. Reed Stadium on the campus of Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
“This is a big moment for the program,” Warren said. “Earning a trophy at the state meet is not an easy feet, and we are very excited.”
It was the second consecutive year the Lancers came in second. Lafayette was second in 2014 with 44 points after coming in ninth in 2013 with 23 points.
“I’m very proud of these young men,” Warren said. “They are a true team. They really pulled for one another and wanted to achieve this together. It was pretty special.”
What makes it really special for Warren is just two Lancers graduated. So, he will have almost his entire team back.
Will they be able to dethrone Blue Springs, the state champion the past two years? Blue Springs scored 96 points this year at state.
“We scored 73 points at state, which any other year that runs away with the title but Blue Springs may be the best top to bottom high school track team I’ve ever seen assembled,” Warren said. “They were a juggernaut, so to be second to them is a big accomplishment.”
The Lancers set school records at state.
Alec Haines ran the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 11.58 seconds and bested Dylan Quisenberry’s 1,600 record set last year at state. Sophomore Austin Hindman and senior Devin Meyrer both beat the school record in the 3,200. Austin’s final time was 9:11.34 so he holds the new record.
Haines, a junior, won the 1,600. It was his first-ever win in the race.
Still, Warren said it was not unexpected or stunning for Haines to triumph.
“This was not a surprise based on how talented Alec is and how tough he trains,” Warren said. “It was his first win in a 1,600 race; and no better to win one than for the state championship.”
It was fun to watch, Warren said.
“The race itself was awesome,” Warren said. “(Lafayette junior) Dylan (Quisenberry) lead for about 2 ½ laps and then Alec surged only slip back a bit and then surge again in the end to win. It was a thrill to watch.
“His teammates were very excited for him.”
Hindman won the 3200 in 9:11.34, just ahead of Meyrer, who finished in 9:15.12. Haines followed in 9:19.85. All those Lancers running well was a sight to see, Warren said.
“This race was a massive highlight. Not only did Austin win, but Devin was second and Alec Haines was third,” Warren said. “It was quite an impressive performance for the Lancers.
“Austin is a rare talent and he has a chance to accomplish some big things in the next two years.”
The 4 X 800 relay state won in 7:50.09. Boys on the relay were senior Alvin Houston, Haines, Hindman and Quisenberry.
“This same group (minus Austin) was second by a couple tenths of a second last year, so they were on a mission this year,” Warren said. “It was neat to see Alvin Houston get on top of the podium as a senior.”
There were other highlights for Warren at state.
“As a team, we qualified 15 out of 18 events to the state meet and 11 of those events medaled and earned all-state honors,” Warren said. “I am very proud of these boys for performing big on the big stage.”
Lost to graduation were pole vaulter Bryce Tognozzi, who was sixth at state; and Houston.
“Alvin graduates having earned nine all-state medals in his illustrious career,” Warren said.
With everyone else back, Warren noted he is looking forward seeing what possibilities lie ahead in 2016 for the Lancers.
“We are excited and proud of the type of program we run at Lafayette, as well as the dedication and commitment of the athletes,” Warren said. “We have high expectations of character and work ethic for the student athletes we get to work with and it is rewarding to see them earn the type of success they have achieved. We look forward to continuing on that path.”