Five Wildcats advance to state meet

By Theo Tate
Posted 5/25/23

Tyler Erwin will be doing plenty of jumping at this weekend’s Class 3 state meet at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

The Montgomery County sophomore qualified for state in all three …

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Five Wildcats advance to state meet


Tyler Erwin will be doing plenty of jumping at this weekend’s Class 3 state meet at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

The Montgomery County sophomore qualified for state in all three jumping events – high jump, long jump and triple jump. At the Class 3, Sectional 2 championship meet on May 20 at Mexico High School, Erwin won the long jump and placed fourth in the high jump and triple jump to earn his second straight trip to Jefferson City.

Last year, Erwin competed in only the high jump at the state meet and placed eighth. Now, he is hoping to earn medals in all three events at the state meet, which starts on Friday and ends on Saturday.

“I would love to have four all-state medals hanging on my wall,” Erwin said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. I always wanted to be a good athlete and I think it’s showing now.”

Erwin will join senior Lyric Ford and juniors El Reagan, Malia Rodgers and Jacer Brower as the Wildcats’ only representatives in Jefferson City. Ford qualified in the 800 and 1,600 after winning sectional titles in both events. Reagan placed second in the pole vault at sectionals and is looking to win a second straight state title in the event.

Rodgers came in second in the 3,200 to clinch her third straight state appearance. Brower finished third in the 400 to qualify for state for the second year in a row.

Ford won the 1,600 in 5:14 and the 800 in a season-best 2:22 to win her first sectional titles. She won district championships in both events the week before at North Point High School in Wentzville.

“For me, it was knowing that it is my last sectional meet,” Ford said. “If I give it my all, what’s the worst that could happen? The sun will still rise tomorrow. Coach (Chasity) Rodgers and I talked. She told me, ‘OK, during your race, you should do this.’ We came up with a plan. Having that plan and sticking to it is what really helped me.”

Ford was happy that she won two sectional titles a day after she graduated from MCHS.

“It’s crazy considering the fact that it still hasn’t set in that I’m no longer a student at Montgomery County,” Ford said. “But I’m still an athlete.”

Now, Ford is looking to add to her medal collection at state. The Maryville University-bound runner earned all-state honors in the 1,600 in each of the last two years.

Ford will run both of her races on Saturday. The 1,600 is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. and the 800 will run at 2:40 p.m.

Reagan will compete in the pole vault at 10 a.m. Friday. The junior vaulted a personal-best 10-8.75 at sectionals, surpassing the previous mark of 10-8 she set in her first-place finish in the 2022 state meet.

Rodgers’ 3200-meter race at state is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Friday. She came in ninth in the event at state last year after finishing seventh as a freshman.

Rodgers finished with an 11:54.77 at sectionals. She was in first place after the first seven laps until Visitation’s Jessica Bader surpassed her in the final lap to pick up the victory.

Brower will run in the 400 preliminaries at 1:55 p.m. Friday. He finished in a personal-best 50.77 seconds at sectionals, qualifying for state in the 400 for the second straight year.

Erwin won the long jump in 21-8.75 at sectionals for his second victory in the event this year. He finished with a school-record jump of 44-4.75 in the triple jump, surpassing the old mark of 43-8 that was set by Chris Harrison in 2018. He finished with a 6-0.50 in the high jump.

Erwin also competed in the 1,600-meter relay at sectionals, but the team – which also included Brower, Dominic Luttrell and Jadrian Thurmon – didn’t qualify for state as it finished eighth. Erwin ran the second leg.

Erwin credits coaches Stephanie Finke and Chasity Rodgers for his strong performance at sectionals.

“I couldn’t thank them enough,” the sophomore said. “I’m glad they put me in all of the events, even the 4x400. I’m not a 4x400 runner, but I’ll happily run it.”


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