The Capital City boys and girls track and field teams have had quite the impressive inaugural season, and their trophy case will show it.
"At the beginning of the season, our administration asked what my short-term goals were and what my long-term goals were, and I told them it was the same: win championships," Capital City coach Scott Gschwender said.
But during today's Class 5 state track and field championships at Adkins Stadium, will Capital City get its first state champion in school history?
"We were looking to do damage at the state meet, especially with the girls team, because we knew what we had," Gschwender said.
Junior Kiara Strayhorn has a chance not to win one state title for the Capital City girls, but three.
Strayhorn is seeded first out of 16 state qualifiers in the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump and the long jump, putting a large target on her back as one of the top individuals in the state.
"She knows that, and she's aware that when you're one of the best, the other bests are going to come at you," Gschweneder said. "She did experience getting beat a couple times this year, and it just made her work harder."
The first event of the day for Strayhorn is the high jump at 11 a.m. She cleared the bar at 5 feet, 7.75 inches last Saturday in the sectional meet at Carthage, which is two inches better than the rest of her competition. Her top height this season was 5-9.
"She's competed with some of the best," Gschwender said.
Up next for Strayhorn will be the 100 hurdles at 1 p.m. Her time of 14.08 seconds is a season-best, more than half a second faster than the other state qualifiers at sectionals.
"You know there are going to be two or three girls that will run in the 14s, she know that coming out of the blocks," Gschwender said. "But what I don't want her to do is to try and do anything differently. If she does what she's been doing all year, then she's going to be OK."
Strayhorn's final event will be the long jump at 3 p.m. Her jump of 19-11 is also a season-best, more than 8 inches better than the other 15 state qualifiers.
"With the 19-11, she knows she can jump over 21 feet, because she had a two-foot board, and she basically had a toenail on that two-foot board when she jumped 19-11," Gschwender said. "If she gets on the board, then watch out, it's coming."
Junior Kennedy Schanuth enters state as the No. 6 seed in the girls javelin for Capital City with a throw of 127-0 to make her a sectional champion. The javelin is set for 1 p.m.
Sophomore Michelyn Appiah is the No. 12 seed in the girls shot put, which starts at 3 p.m. Appiah threw 35-6.5 at sectionals, only a few inches off her personal best.
"If some of these girls can pop some good ones, then we might have a chance at getting something," Gschwender said, hinting about a top-four finish for a state trophy.
Junior Anastasia Koopman will be seeded 14th in the girls pole vault, which begins at 3 p.m. Koopman cleared 9-10.75 at sectionals, but she's not far behind the cut for all-state, which is the top eight.
Junior Shayla Stewart enters state at the No. 16 seed in the girls discus with a throw of 102-3 at sectionals, but her personal-best in the event — which starts at 11 a.m. — is 129-6.
"I know some of the marks weren't the best," Gschwender said. "Stewart made it through, but it wasn't one of her best throws. If she throws one of her best throws, then she's looking at scoring points."
For the Capital City boys, freshman Keion Grieve is seeded second in the 800-meter run after posting a personal-best time of 1:56.37 at sectionals, less than two-tenths of a second behind the top seed. Grieve will run the 800 at 4:50 p.m.
"He PR'd by about four seconds," Gschwender said. "That shows you he's a competitor. Can Keion make it to the top? We'll see, the dude can compete."
The Cavaliers' other individual qualifier, junior Connor Hull, is seeded 10th in the boys 400-meter dash, which starts at 3:50 p.m. He ran the 400 in 50.18 seconds at sectionals, a season-best.
Both Grieve and Hull will run in Capital City's 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays, along with junior TJ Dyer and sophomore Cameron Harrison.
"When we have those guys in the relays, we've run our best," Gschwender said. "We've switched them around a little bit, and it just seems like those are the guys that mesh the best when it comes to both relays."
Capital City is seeded eighth in the 4x400, the final race of the state meet at 6 p.m., after clocking a time of 3:24.29 at sectionals.
"That team has not lost so far this year," Gschwender said of the 4x400. "I'm anxious to see what they can do when there are some 3:19s and 3:20s going up against them."
In the 4x200, which is at 2:15 p.m., the Cavaliers are the No. 14 seed after posting a time of 1:31.40 last weekend.