Battle, Rock Bridge track teams enjoy day at Missouri Relays

Friday, April 11, 2014 | 9:43 p.m. CDT; updated 4:44 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Rock Bridge High School competed at the Missouri Relays Friday at the the Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia. Rock Bridge girls broke the meet record for the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 9:37.16. Rock Bridge boys won the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 8:20.46

COLUMBIA — The sun was beginning to set on Audrey J. Walton Track, as Battle High School's Nash Sutherlin passed by Rock Bridge's Clayton Baumgartner for a .05-second Spartan victory in the 4x100-meter relay at the Missouri Relays.

"Knowing it's Rock Bridge, we knew we had to beat them," Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin and Baumgartner had each already run multiple races, and Sutherlin's teammate Ben Brooks was apparently too tired to realize his team had won.

"We won?" Brooks said. "Well that's exciting."

Brooks was competing for the first time since straining his hamstring three weeks ago.

In his first event of the day, the 100 meters, he set a personal record of 10.96 seconds.

"It was a pleasant surprise," Brooks said.

Brooks also won the 200 meters in 22.46 seconds. He knows that he and his teammates have an opportunity to start filling Battle High School's mostly empty trophy case.

"It's something that we see coming into school everyday," Brooks said. "It's something that drives all of our athletes."

Brooks and Sutherlin certainly had reason to be excited with their victory over the Bruins in the 4x100, as they just lost to them in the 4x200, where 1.99 seconds separated the squads.

Baumgartner put the Bruins in a position to win with a strong third leg.

Baumgartner and teammates Elisha Peet and Brendan McGlaughlin all finished within 0.3 seconds of each other in the 200-meter dash. Baumgartner took third in 23.44 seconds. He was followed by Peet in fourth and McGlaughlin in sixth.

But there were no sore losers in the bunch. 

"There's not very much of a rivalry," Rock Bridge coach Neal Blackburn said. "They're friends first."

Their friendship showed throughout the meet as they walked together to each event, joking along the way.

A team with less of a bond was Rock Bridge's 4x800 girl's relay team. The relay of Margie Crosby, Sam Farmer, Rebecca Rubinstein, and Kayla Funkenbusch set a new meet record despite running together for the first time. They broke a 7-year-old Missouri Relays record by running their race in 9 minutes, 37.16 seconds.

Rock Bridge senior sprinter and jumper Maddie Wipfler hopes to break some records herself this year.

"She did a lot of work this year to make sure there's no doubt (she'll be in the finals)," Blackburn said.

Her sophomore year, Wipfler was the top athlete not to make it to the state meet. Her junior year, she barely missed making finals at the state meet.

On Friday, Wipfler triple jumped 38 feet, 7 inches, which topped her personal record by 10 inches.

"It's cause it's such a nice day," Wipfler said.

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.

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