Prep Boys Track

Learning new tricks: All-star track meet allows athletes to try different events

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 1, 2019 12:40 am Updated: Jun. 1, 2019 1:11 am

KAHOKA, Mo. -- Even a three-time state track and field champion needs help once in a while.

Such was the case Friday night for Brock Wood.

The South Shelby senior, who won Class 1 state titles in both hurdles events and the long jump two weeks ago, needed instructions before the 4x100-meter relay race in Friday night's Illinois/Missouri all-star track meet.

Wood was the lead runner for Missouri, and he turned to Rushville-Inudstry's Gueriame Kabanga in the next lane to ask about his technique.

"How am I supposed to hold the baton?" Wood asked.

Kabanga smiled, and he held out his hand demonstrating the correct form.

"I was worried about holding it in the box (as he was taking his mark)," Wood said with a laugh. "I didn't want to have it over the line."

On a night where athletes tried new events and fought to get out of their comfort zone, the occasional helping hand was necessary.

Illini West throwers Jake Cole and Ty Jackson -- the latter won a state medal in discus last weekend -- gave javelin a try. Neither had ever thrown javelin since the event is not offered in Illinois.

"My javelin wasn't flying like I thought it would," Cole said. "It was flat, but it got better."

Cole's throws improved so much his final toss was 40 feet farther than his first.

"If we had it (in Illinois), I'd definitely do it," Cole said.

Both Jackson and Cole got help from Palmyra's Lexi Arch, who regularly competed in javelin during her career.

"(Arch) knew what she was doing and translated it for us," Jackson said. "She basically taught us how to throw the javelin."

Arch also tried a new event herself -- the shot put.

She practiced her form on Thursday and got a quick coaching lesson before the event started.

"It was something completely different," Arch said. "At first, I literally had no idea what I was doing. I really just kind of stood there and threw it."

Her shot didn't land nearly as far as the rest of the field, which included Pittsfield state medalist and University of Tennessee signee Chandler Hayden.

"That was kind of embarrassing," Arch said. "I was throwing like 20 feet, and they're throwing 30 and 40 feet."

Scotland County's Matthew Woods tried the high jump, going back-and-forth with Highland's Chance Newton at clearing the bar, but couldn't clear 5-8.

"I just wanted to have fun here," Woods said. "I just want to try stuff I've never had. I did a lot better than I thought I would."

The meet's atmosphere allowed for that.

"It's just a fun meet," Wood said. "I even thought about throwing the shot for fun. We just got to kick back, relax, run fast and jump."