Ozark County track athletes rack up three state championships, other medals
Ozark County was well-represented by athletes from Dora and Gainesville who qualified to compete at the class 1 and 2 state track and field meets held in Jefferson City May 19-20. Nine Falcons and two Bulldogs earned the right to make the trip.
It’s been a successful season for the athletes and coaches at both schools with many school records haven been broken and personal goals surpassed. Two of the Ozark County athletes who competed took coveted top spots on the podium at the state meets.
Dora High School
The Dora High School track and field team made their mark in school history after nine student athletes earned the right to compete at the class 1 state track and field meet.
Two of those athletes won first place in their events. Siblings Cade Nold and Autumn Nold had their hearts focused on specific goals all season – to hit the top of the podium in their favorite races, said Dora Coach Sheree Nold, who is also the mother of the duo.
Cade Nold, a sophomore, ran his personal best in the 800m with a 1:57.53, winning his first number one spot of the series on Friday. On Saturday, he had a follow-up first-place run in the 400m dash with a 49:63. Cade is the first Dora High School state champion boy in that school’s history.
Autumn, a senior, had her heart set on winning the 400m dash since the races in 2022, Coach Nold said. This desire was fulfilled on Saturday afternoon with an amazing 57:97 time in the quarter-mile race.
Autumn will join the history books with her predecessor Ashlynn Vanatter whose last state championship titles were in 2017. Autumn also ran the 800m run, placing second overall and setting a new record time of 2:23.93. She also was an all-state 200m contender.
The girls 4X400m relay team was the first-ever Dora girls relay team to advance to the state track meet. Team members Chesney Luna, Emma Martin, Cally DePriest and Chloe Barton competed with grit and took 15th place.
“This team was created late in our track season after several of them had run in the open 400m dash with strong times,” Nold said. “These girls worked well together and performed well all the way through the State Track and Field series beginning at districts which was held in Mountain Grove on May 6.”
The Dora 4X400m boys relay team is another history-making quartet for school.
“[The] boys relay team... all season has been coined the Dora ‘Dream Team.’ These boys began the season working on this relay with a 4:50 race time for their first race. They finished their season at the state finals race on Saturday running a 4:36 time. This was our first-ever 4X400 boys relay team to attend the state meet and the first Dora relay team to ever qualify for the finals and all-state awards.”
Boys relay team members James Barton, Kendall Lovan, Joshua Nold and Cade Nold took fifth place at the event with an excellent run at the finale of the state meet on Saturday, May, 20.
“Goals were met throughout this season by so many of our track athletes, it was a phenomenal year for our team. This season was filled with fulfilled accomplishments that I hope will fuel their passions for next year’s track season,” Coach Nold said. “It has been a delight to see each and every one of our track athletes grow and develope this year. Several of them trained all through cross-country season on purpose to gain advantages on the track. Our school has some determined, goal-oriented students who work hard to achieve their goals. It has been my pleasure to coach them all this season.”
Gainesville High School
Two Gainesville High School seniors wrapped up their high school athletic careers at the Class 2 MSHSAA Track and Field State Championships. “They both competed with the honor, class and sportsmanship that we have grown to expect from them,” said GHS Coach Gary Emrick. “Along the way they have each set all time school records in their individual events, collected many medals and have shown great leadership to the entire team.”
Maliki Sherry placed 12th in high jump and Colton Lawson placed 12th in Javelin. “This means they are at the top of the list and the best of the best in Class 2,” Emrick said. “The Bulldogs coaching staff, all of Gainesville High School and the community are proud of these two and their accomplishments.”