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story.lead_photo.caption Participants in the boys 3,200-meter run round the corner of Licklider Track at the Class 3 state track and field championships last month at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

The state track and field championships were back in all their glory during the last two weeks of May.

There was the expected rain followed by the inevitable mugginess, and that late spring sunshine made the skin a bit toasty as we transition to summer.

And of course there was the traditional severe weather day, but luckily it only turned into a two-hour lightning delay.

The action rolled right along for the state's track community that converged on Adkins Stadium for the first time in two years.

A tornado blew the meet in all different directions in 2019, leading to a perseverance from the athletes, family members and workers who made sure the show went on.

And when the pandemic slammed the gates in 2020, everyone pushed through and waited for the return to the track, throwing areas and jumping pits.

What those two weeks brought us was the return of the precious moments that are cherished and celebrated at the state competition.

A pair of girls from Belle, Susan Moman and Gracie Schultz, who make up the entire varsity track and field team, wrapped each other in their arms at the top of the podium after they each claimed a Class 2 individual state title as seniors.

Calvary Lutheran's Kyle Hagemeyer, who didn't have the opportunity to be a state qualifier as a freshman, crossed the finish line in the Class 1 boys 1,600-meter run with both fists pumping along with a victorious yell as the work ethic his family instilled in him made for a triumphant win.

The next week, Jefferson City senior Dijonay Dawson had her work during the empty year pay off with three Class 5 state medals in her final high school meet.

Oh, and former Lady Jay and current Capital City Lady Cavalier Kiara Strayhorn won the 100-meter hurdles and long jump to become the school's first state champion. She added a runner-up finish in the high jump, just missing a third state championship by a tiebreaker.

Helias' Dominic Crisostomo met his high expectations with a Class 4 state title in the pole vault in his last high school competition before heading to TCU for pre-med and biomechanics.

On the same day, Helias' Mikah Edwards made her first state meet memorable by winning a medal in all four events she competed in as a sophomore.

To finish it all off, Emily Sporleder became the first Blair Oaks Lady Falcon to win three state titles in a season to lead the team to a runner-up finish in Class 3.

These moments and many others made the long-awaited return of the state track and field championships to Jefferson City worth waiting for.

For the athletes that were a part of those moments and witnessed them, the preparation for making more of those memories has probably already begun.

In less than a year, we'll enjoy this Jefferson City tradition all over again.

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