After wrapping up her junior season with the Wellsville-Middletown track team at the Class 1 state meet on May 20 in Jefferson City, Bethany Slovensky had a chance to reflect on her squad’s …
After wrapping up her junior season with the Wellsville-Middletown track team at the Class 1 state meet on May 20 in Jefferson City, Bethany Slovensky had a chance to reflect on her squad’s outstanding season.
The Tigers had three all-state medalists, nine state qualifiers, a team district title in the boys division and numerous athletes who broke personal records in 2023.
“Nobody expected us to do good this year,” Slovensky said. “Everybody really stepped up. We were having PRs midway through the season. Everything was going perfect for us. Everybody was achieving great things. I’m really happy for everybody. They all did really good.”
Slovensky was one of the Tigers’ all-state medalists. She finished with all-state medals in the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and long jump, giving her a total of seven for her high school track career. She placed second in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the long jump and set personal-best and school records in all three events.
Slovensky began her junior season on March 21 with wins in both hurdles events and the triple jump at the Montgomery County Early Invite. She finished with nine wins in the 100-meter hurdles, four in the 300-meter hurdles, two in the long jump and one in the triple jump.
Senior Logan Pursifull and sophomore Gage Marshall were the other W-M all-state performers. Pursifull came in fifth in the shot put and Marshall finished in a tie for eighth with Osborn’s Braxton Gibson in the high jump.
Pursifull, who wrapped up his first and final season with the W-M track team, had first-place finishes in the shot put at the district and sectional meets. He also placed second in the event in three meets, including the Eastern Missouri Conference meet.
Marshall had victories in the high jump at the district meet and the Wright City JV Invitational. He jumped a personal-best 6-0.75 in his second-place finish at sectionals to qualify for state for the first time. Last year, he came up one place short of qualifying for sectionals in the high jump.
The other W-M state qualifiers were seniors Jacob Mandrell, Dylan Alsop, Lucas Moore and Kaleb Peak and sophomores Hunter Bickell and Jonah Slovensky.
After missing the first part of the season due to a hamstring injury, Mandrell bounced back to qualify for state for the third straight year. The William Woods-bound athlete won a district title in the 110-meter hurdles and advanced to state in that event by placing fourth.
Bickell was the Tigers’ top performer in the distance events for most of the season. He set personal-best marks in the 1,600 and 3,200. He also had wins in the 3,200 at the Central Methodist University Invitational and Wright City Invitational. Bickell competed at state in the 1,600 and the 1,600-meter relay.
Even though he didn’t qualify for state, sophomore Cooper Henderson enjoyed a strong season in the hurdle events. He ran a personal-best 18.75 seconds in his second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles in districts.
Sophomore Carson Huff scored big points for the Tigers in the javelin. He won the event at the Louisiana Invite and finished fifth in districts, coming up one place short of qualifying for sectionals.
The other members on the boys team included juniors AJ Sherwood and Kadyn Emily and freshman Zackery Vogel.
The boys team won its first district title in program history after winning the District 2 championship meet on May 6 in South Callaway. The Tigers placed first in five events and qualified nine athletes to sectionals.
“This was a moment that I thought we would never experience for our boys team,” W-M coach John Slovensky said. “Last year, we got second and we were excited. That was the first district trophy that we had a chance to win. We graduated some very talented people.”
The girls team had eight athletes. Besides Bethany Slovensky, the Tigers also had seniors Natalie Boeckelman, Kaylee Marshall and Molly Scott, juniors Jenelle Boeckelman and Meagan Cripe, sophomores Della Gosseen and freshman Brooke Stroup.
Natalie Boeckelman finished with a personal-best 12-10 in the long jump in the Louisiana Invite, Jenelle Boeckelman threw a school-record 78-1.5 in the javelin at the EMO meet, Cripe threw a personal-best 30-3.5 in the shot put at districts and Marshall threw a personal-best 79 feet in the Centralia Open.
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