Finke wins second state title in high jump

Theo Tate

Montgomery County senior Renee Finke poses with her Class 3 state championship medal in the high jump on Saturday in Jefferson City. THEO TATE PHOTO

Renee Finke loved her new white Montgomery County track uniform she wore at the Class 3 state meet on May 29 at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

“These are the best things ever,” the senior said.

The new uniform, which was made by One Stop Custom in Auxvasse, helped Finke turn in an outstanding performance at the state meet. She earned medals in three events, including a first-place finish in the high jump.

Finke captured her second state high jump championship in 5 feet, 6 inches. She also won the event in her sophomore year.

“This was the best way to go out,” Finke said.

Finke also finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.28 seconds, which broke her school-record mark of 15.42 seconds she set at the Class 3 sectional meet on May 22. She earned a seventh-place medal in the triple jump by jumping 34 feet in her fourth and final attempt.

Finke ended her high school track career at MCHS with five all-state medals. When she was a freshman, she placed seventh in the high jump for her first all-state medal.

“We’re going to miss Renee,” MCHS freshman El Reagan said. “She’s a big part of what we are.”

Finke helped the MCHS girls turn in a strong effort at the state meet. The Wildcats finished in a tie for eighth with Osage with 28 points. They came up just four points shy of a state trophy.

Ste. Genevieve won the state title with 38 points. Blair Oaks (37 points), Southern Boone (33) and Pleasant Hill (32) rounded out the top four.

Besides Finke, four other athletes from the MCHS girls track team also earned medals. Sophomore Lyric Ford finished fifth with a 5:23.92 in the 1,600, freshman Olivia Shaw placed sixth in 59.72 seconds in the 400, freshman Malia Rodgers came in seventh in 11:48.99 in the 3,200 and Reagan placed eighth in the pole vault in 10-0.75.

“The girls did really good today,” Finke said. “I was super proud of them.”

But Finke was upset that she didn’t get a medal in her fourth event, the 1,600-meter relay. The squad of Finke, Ford, senior Anna Shaw and sophomore Carson Flake finished 13th.

“The 4x400 was a little bit of a letdown,” Finke said.

Also for the Wildcats, junior Dawson McCown earned all-state honors in the boys division, placing sixth with a 4:29 in the 1,600. He came up one place short of getting a medal in the 3,200 as he finished ninth in 10 minutes.

“I’m really proud of Dawson because he’s been wanting a medal forever,” Ford said.

The 400-meter relay team of seniors Aidan Hall and Alec Johnson, junior Gavin Mendoza and sophomore Adam Czerniewski also came close to receiving all-state notice, placing ninth in 44.14 seconds.

Junior Thomas Klekamp also competed at state for the Wildcats. He finished 12th in the javelin in 149-7.

Grace O’Reilly of Springfield Catholic placed second to Finke in the high jump in 5-4.5. Finke clinched the high jump state title after O’Reilly missed on her third and last attempt at the 5-5.25 mark. 

Finke, who plans to continue her track career at Central Methodist University, cleared the 5-5.25 mark on her first attempt, then cleared 5-6 on her third attempt.

The win helped Finke complete an undefeated season in the high jump. She won the event nine times this season.

“I came out and did the high jump way better than I expected,” Finke said. “I was having a super good day. I was very on.”

Ford said she was excited to get a medal in the 1,600. She was in first place after the first three laps.

“My goal was to come out as one of the top five,” Ford said. “It’s really an honor.”

Rodgers was in first place after the first three laps of the 3,200 before dropping to seventh with two laps remaining.

“I came out and I wanted to win,” Rodgers said. “It didn’t end up that way, but I was glad that I gave myself the opportunity in the beginning.”

In the pole vault, Reagan broke the school-record mark of 10 feet that was set by Paige Oden in 2017.

“I was hungry for the win,” Reagan said. “But as a freshman placing eighth, I don’t think it’s too bad.”

Shaw ran a personal-best mark in the 400. She won the first heat.

“Honestly, that shocked me,” said Shaw, who also competed in the 200, but didn’t place. “I didn’t think I was going to get there. I was ranked ninth and I was the fastest one in my heat. I was like, ‘I’m not going to have anybody to chase. But you have to give it your all. You have to go.’ And I did.”



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