Jefferson City sophomore Stevenette Samuels is on quite the trajectory for her throwing career with the Lady Jays.
After finishing fourth in the Class 4 girls discus throw as a freshman, Samuels tossed the disc 137 feet to finish second during Day 1 of the Class 4 track and field state championships at Adkins Stadium.
The second-place finish totaled eight points for the Lady Jays, who sit in fifth after Day 1 with 12 points.
“It feels good, I was expecting it,” Samuels said. “I was expecting to place high, at least top three. I wanted first but I’m good with second.
And it only seems like a matter of time until Samuels can call herself a state champion. Her throw of 137-0 was only behind Pleasant Hill senior Reagan Kimrey’s of 148-0 and was almost 12 feet farther than the third-place throw of 125-4.
Samuels set the mark on her final attempt. After Kimrey set the high mark of the event in her fifth throw, Samuels knew she was going to go for it all in her final try.
“I was thinking at that point I was already ranked second and I have nothing to lose,” she said. “So I was just like, ‘We are going to go for it.’”
Samuels kept it short and sweet on what she wants to accomplish in her final two seasons.
“I’m going to be a state champion real soon,” she said.
Emmarie Graham picked up the other four points Friday for the Lady Jays, adding her third state medal in her career with a fifth-place finish in the triple jump.
Graham made her way onto the podium in the triple jump for the second straight year, setting her high mark of 35-3 in her third attempt Friday.
“It feels great, especially with it being my senior year and coming off two other sports already this year,” she said. “So yeah, I love it.”
Graham is set up to grab her fourth all-state honor of her career today, as she was on the 4x200-meter relay team with Seleena Morris, Emerald Okpodighe and Cheria Galbreath that qualified fourth for today’s finals with a time of 1:44.36.
The finals for the Class 4 girls 4x200 is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
“I feel like it went great,” Graham said. “We had to switch up our order, this week actually, so I was a little nervous. But it showed off well. Hoping for another podium.”
Jefferson City advanced out of the preliminary round in three other events on the girls side, as Morris and Galbreath each moved on as individuals while also being on the 4x400 team that advanced.
Morris was first to punch her ticket to today’s final round in the open 400, as her time of 57.75 was good enough to grab the No. 2 qualifying spot.
The finals for the Class 4 girls 400 are scheduled for 1:40 p.m. today.
Galbreath also finished with a second-place qualifying time in the 300 hurdles, as she ran the event in 44.98 seconds to win the second heat.
Jefferson City’s 4x400 relay team finished Day 1 with the final event of the day.
Galbreath, Morris, Schonhardt and Okpodighe won Heat 1 in 3:58.41 and grabbed the top qualifying spot by more than two seconds for today’s finals at 4:15 p.m.
Kearney and Cor Jesu Academy are tied atop the girls standings with 22 points after Day 1, Washington is in third with 18 and Pleasant Hill sits in fourth with 15.
The Jefferson City Jays competed in three events Friday on the boys side and were able to advance a relay team through to today’s finals.
The Jays 4x100-meter team of Rodney Wilson, Josh Wilson, Jacob Wilson and Demario Wright entered the preliminary round as the No. 8 seed but well out-preformed expectations, running a time of 42.77 to qualify second.
The Class 4 4x100 relay finals are scheduled for 1:25 p.m. today.
Charles Burns was unable to qualify for the boys 110-meter hurdles finals for Jefferson City, as his time of 16.05 put him in ninth and close behind the eighth-place time of 15.65.
Seth Stumbaugh ran the boys 1,600 for the Jays’ other event Friday.
In the finals-only event, Stumbaugh missed out on his first career podium and settled for a 14th-place finish after his time of 4:37.95.
The Jays failed to register any points on Day 1, as Festus leads the boys standings with 30 points, Hillsboro is in second with 29 and Grandview sits in third with 25 points.