COLUMBIA — Eighty of Rock Bridge’s 120 track and field athletes had their seasons end Saturday at the Rock Bridge Invitational.
The meet ended the regular season for the Bruins, who will send their varsity team to a district meet next Saturday at Camdenton. But members of the junior varsity team will have to wait until next March to compete again.
Rock Bridge hosted Eldon, Jefferson City and Blair Oaks in a relaxed meet that didn't include team scores. Just a handful of spectators sat in the bleachers. With the Bruins' varsity focused on the postseason, coaches plugged in junior varsity athletes at new spots.
Alex Gompper was third and Hunter Bessey placed sixth in the 3200-meter run for the Bruins.
Even though Bessey, a slender freshman, finished last in the six-person race, a teammate waited for him for a high-five at the finish line.
“I was thinking the whole time this is the last thing I can do,” Bessey said. “I’ve got to do my best and just try to go out on a good note so I can do good next season.”
Gompper, a tall sophomore with a chiseled body who hopes to run varsity next season, also ran on the Bruins' 4 x 800-meter relay — a first for him. Coach Matt Prescott said Gompper will practice with the varsity this week, and be an alternate for several races at the district meet.
Gompper said that being a JV athlete can be tough. Praise comes, but often not immediately.
“We have a rough draft of who we might keep around through districts,” Prescott said. “Just to make sure that our top-tier athletes have a group to train with.”
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