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story.lead_photo.caption Kiara Strayhorn of Capital City easily clears the bar during the high jump Thursday in the Class 5 state track and field championships at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.

Two out of three ain't bad. Right, Kiara Strayhorn?

"Not bad at all," she replied.

The Capital City junior won two state titles and added a runner-up finish Thursday in the Class 5 state track and field championships at Adkins Stadium.

"She's special, she works hard, she deserves every bit of it," Capital City coach Scott Gschwender said. "She was the leader of our girls team and she's the foundation, we're going to build off of her."

Strayhorn accounted for 28 of her team's 30 points, a total which placed Capital City eighth overall out of 58 teams in the final girls standings in the Lady Cavaliers' first state track appearance.

And everyone will be back next season, when Capital City will finally have its first senior class.

"They're tasting it, and we'll hopefully be back next year and get one of those plaques," Gschwender said.

Strayhorn began the day in the girls high jump, and after seven successful attempts, she broke the state meet record with a jump of 5 feet, 7.75 inches. All who remained in the event was Strayhorn and Webster Groves' Eliza Maupin.

But before her next attempt, Strayhorn had to take a break to run in the girls 100-meter hurdles.

"I was kind of nervous going into it, because I did not get to warm up because I was at high jump," Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn had the lead at the halfway point of the 100 hurdles, but Maya Anderson of MICDS battled back to make it a photo finish at the line. Strayhorn edged Anderson by three-hundredths of a second, clocking a season-best time of 13.99 seconds.

The win makes Strayhorn the first state champion in any sport in Capital City High School's brief two-year history.

"Not very many people get to do that," said Strayhorn, who admitted she was nervous about the close finish.

"But I feel like I'm always nervous though."

Strayhorn returned to the high jump and missed on all three attempts at 5-8.5, and so did Anderson. However, Anderson cleared 5-7.75 on her first try, while it took Strayhorn three tries, so Anderson won the high jump state title on that tiebreaker.

"I feel like I was loose, but I was definitely tired," Strayhorn said of her last three high-jump attempts. "I felt really rushed over there, because I also had to get to long jump. I was just trying to run around everywhere."

Strayhorn was in second place in the long jump after her second attempt, which was 19-0.5. Strayhorn's third jump went for 18-7.75, which still left her behind Branson's Cali Essick, who had already finished up at 19-2.5.

On her fourth and final attempt, Strayhorn found an extra gear on her takeoff, soaring through the air before landing at 19-10.5 to claim her second state championship of the day.

"I could definitely feel it," Strayhorn said. "At the end, I just felt like it was a good jump, I could definitely tell.

"But I wish I hadn't waited until the last jump to do it."

The long jump was Strayhorn's 44th win of the season in 49 events. The high jump was her fourth runner-up finish this season, with the other three coming last month at the Glendale Girls Night Out meet.

Strayhorn also earned two all-state medals as a freshman with the Jefferson City Lady Jays in 2019, giving her five state medals for her career.

"She deserved it and she did it," Gschwender said of Strayhorn's state titles. "I think that's really going to help her out in the future, because that burden of being a state champ is now completed. Now she can just relax and do nothing but get better."

Capital City had two other firsts Thursday.

Shayla Stewart became the first-ever state medalist for the Capital City girls, placing eighth in the discus with a throw of 127-10. However, Stewart had to wait until after a 2-hour, 15-minute lightning and weather delay to receive her medal.

"It was kind of long, but it is what it is," Stewart said. "We pretty much knew what the forecast was going to be."

For the Capital City boys, Connor Hull was the Cavaliers' first-ever state medalist. He finished eighth in the boys 400-meter dash with a time of 50.62 seconds.

"I was hoping to PR today," Hull said. "I'm happy I still got eighth, but I just wish I could have done better today."

The Capital City boys came to state in four events, and they medaled in three of them.

Keion Grieve finished his freshman season with a pair of state track medals, to go along with his cross country state medal from the fall.

Grieve's first medal came in the boys 800-meter run, where he finished third with a personal-best time of 1:55.60. He was toward the middle of the pack with about 250 meters to go, worked his way up to third place, then held on at the finish line to beat Staley's Kai White by two-hundredths of a second.

"Coming around the corner on the second lap, that's when I heard my coaches talk to me, saying, 'Keion, it's time to go, now!" Grieve said. "I passed one guy, then I passed another. I was gunning for second, and maybe with 100 more meters, I would have gotten him."

Grieve, Hull, Cameron Harrison and TJ Dyer finished the day for the Cavaliers by placing seventh in the boys 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:26.47.

The same four runners also competed in the 4x200-meter relay, finishing ninth with a time of 1:30.96. They were 0.13 seconds from getting the Capital City boys a 4-for-4 finish in state medals.

"I love our guys team, they are grinders, they are hard-workers," Gschwender said of the Cavaliers, who tied for 22nd with Carthage, Staley and Branson in the boys team standings with nine points. "We are young, but with the way our guys competed today, it was tremendous."

Rounding out the medalists for the Lady Cavaliers was Anastasia Koopman, who competed in the final event of the day, the girls pole vault. Koopman posted a personal-best height of 10-11 to finish in eighth place, winning a tiebreaker for the final all-state spot against Timberland's Claire Meara.

"Anastasia PR'd by almost a foot," Gschwender said. "There was a girl who almost jumped 11-foot and didn't place, and that's pretty rare."

As for the other state qualifiers for the Capital City girls, Kennedy Schanuth placed 13th in the javelin with a throw of 107-2, while Michelyn Appiah took 16th in the shot put with a throw of 32-0.

"It's totally different at state, when you have all these people sitting and watching, and the nerves come," Gschwender said. "They just have to relax, have fun and throw, and they're both going to learn from this experience. They'll be back next year."

Rock Bridge won the Class 5 boys title with 52 points. Francis Howell was second with 49.5, Lee's Summit was third with 49 and Hickman was fourth with 48.

On the girls side, Cardinal Ritter won a state title with 64 points, followed by Lee's Summit West (58), Blue Springs (43.5) and Rock Bridge (37). Capital City finished seven points shy of achieving the school's first-ever state trophy.

"They've experienced what the state meet is, and next year, it's going to be a little different story," Gschwender said.

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