HOLLISTER -- Led by a district championship in one relay event and a record-setting effort in another, the McDonald County Mustangs qualified three relay teams and four individuals for Saturday's Class 4 Sectional 3 Track Meet while the Lady Mustangs advanced two individuals and two relay squads to the event to be held in West Plains.
The Mustangs finished fifth overall with 69 points. Webb City won the team title with 169 points ahead of Marshfield (144), Bolivar (80) and Hillcrest (70). The last four spots went to Monett (68), Logan-Rogersville (60), Reeds Spring (48) and Carl Junction (30).
"I keep saying all year how talented the boys' team is, and it is finally showing and proving to be true," said McDonald County coach Ashleigh Griffin, who coaches the Lady Mustangs but helps with the boys' team and has enjoyed watching the team improve over the spring. "They set a school record in one relay and were district champions in another and we got a thrower (qualified) with two events."
With the top four finishers in each event advancing to sectionals, the Mustangs blazed their way to a district championship in the 4x400-meter relay behind the team effort of Dominic Cervantes, Hunter Leach, Dalton McClain and Josh Pacheco, whose time of 3 minutes, 30.35 seconds bested Bolivar's 3:34.73 and Webb City's 3:34.79.
The quartet of Sam Barton, Esteban Martinez, Cervantes and Pacheco provided another highlight for the Mustangs in the 4x100-meter relay by setting a school record with a 44.52 finish, topping the former record of 45.09 set in 1982.
The record-setting, sectional-qualifying run was good for third place behind Webb City (43.24) and Marshfield (43.55).
Also qualifying for the Mustangs was the 4x800-meter foursome of Tyler Rothrock, Miguel Mora, Leach and McClain, which turned in a third-place finish of 8:46.49 behind Webb City's 8:26.14 and Bolivar's 8:37.21.
McDonald County's Toby Moore qualified in both the shot put and discus, finishing third in the shot with an effort of 14.50 meters behind Hillcrest's Tracen Tate (16.48m) and Reeds Spring's Caden Wiest (15.08m) and two spots ahead of teammate and fellow junior Jayce Hitt (13.91m).
In the discus, Moore finished fourth with a throw of 40.98m. Tate also won this event with a throw of 48.79m while Webb City's Nathaniel Miller came in second (44.29m) and Carl Junction's Donnie Keith third (41.42m).
McDonald County's Miguel Melendez Cassiano finished ninth in the discus (37.71m).
Pacheco qualified in the triple jump with a third place leap of 12.96m behind the Marshfield tandem of Bryant Bull (13.78m) and Brayden Hicks (13.09m).
Barton finished 13th (11.34m) in the triple jump.
Cervantes qualified in the 400-meter dash for the Mustangs by finishing fourth with a time of 53.64 behind Hillcrest's Gage Sisco (52.41), Marshfield's Marcus Gritts (53.41) and Webb City's Noah Moss (53.62).
Mora posted a 10th-place finish of 57.39 for the Mustangs.
Leach recorded a 2:04.63 in the 800-meter run to qualify in third place for the Mustangs behind Bolivar's Gavin Crawford-Yates (2:02.26) and Webb City's Mason Hedger (2:03.71).
Arthur Mead clocked a 2:18.33 to finish ninth for the Mustangs.
McDonald County's 4x200-meter relay team of Martinez, Cervantes, McClain and Pacheco finished fifth in that event with a time of 1:33.49, just behind the fourth-place qualifying time of 1:33.16 clocked by Reeds Spring.
In the 100-meter prelims, McDonald County's Filippo Pavignani ran a 12.19 to place 10th and teammate Antwone Dean Esiel ran a 12.50 to finish 15th.
Esteban Martinez-Olvera (23.49) and Barton (23.98) finished eighth and 11th, respectively, in the 200-meter dash prelims.
Mason Burton placed 14th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:52.26 and Caleb Garvin came in eighth in the 3,200-meter run in 11:49.96.
Michael Hackworth placed eighth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 19.41 after finishing seventh in the prelims in 19.40.
In the 300-meter hurdles, McDonald County's Aidrian Short placed fifth in 45.32 behind the fourth-place qualifying time of 45.10 by Carl junction's Dexter Merrell. Hackworth finished seventh in the race with a time of 46.13.
In the pole vault, Wyatt Wilkinson cleared the bar at 3.25m to finish 10th overall while Esiel (5.21m) and Barton (5.04) finished 12th and 13th, respectively.
McDonald County senior Andrew Moritz placed sixth in the javelin throw with a toss of 44.67m. Teammate Logan Myrick finished 16th with an effort of 34.04m.
The Lady Mustangs finished in a tie with Reeds Spring for seventh place in the girls' team standings with each scoring 41.5 points. Marshfield took top honors with 168 points, followed by Webb City (140), Bolivar (134.5), Carl Junction (79.5), Monett (55) and Logan-Rogersville (52). Hillcrest finished behind Reeds Spring and McDonald County with 25 points.
"The girls worked really hard to get to this point," said Griffin. "We were not supposed to qualify a 4x800 relay, but they ran their tails off and did. We got (qualified) in two relays and two individual events. The work isn't done yet, but it sure is nice to see their hard work pay off."
Lady Mustang junior Corina Holland led the qualifiers with a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash, running the race in 1:02.78 behind Monett's Vayla Smith (1:00.53) and Webb City's Essence Robinson (1:02.46).
Dallie Racher finished 11th for the Lady Mustangs in 1:08.33.
Holland and Racher were also members of McDonald County's two qualifying relay teams.
The school's 4x400-meter relay quartet of Kenzie Horton, Ireana Nirka, Anna Belle Price and Holland clocked a 4:17.03, placing second behind Webb City (4:14.92), while the 4x800-meter squad of Kate Cheney, Horton, Price and Racher turned in a fourth-place time of 10:59.25 behind Bolivar (10:19.89), Webb City (10:44.75) and Logan-Rogersville (10:55.28).
McDonald County sophomore pole vaulter Lacy Nix qualified for sectionals by finishing fourth in her event, clearing the bar at 2.60m behind Carl Junction's Acadia Badgley (3.05m), Webb City's Lily McCaw (2.75m) and Marshfield's Cathryn Winegard (2.60m).
Lady Mustang Kyla Moore finished in a tie for seventh with Bolivar's Darrah Rice, each clearing 2.15m.
In the prelims of the 100-meter dash, Nirka (13.97) and Kayana Fields (14.25) finished 13th and 16th, respectively, while in the prelims of the 200-meter dash it was Nirka coming in 13th in 29.11 and Fields 14th in 29.92.
In the 800-meter run it was Price finishing sixth (2:40.83) and Cheney 10th (2:54.29) for the Lady Mustangs while Burton placed ninth in the 1,600-meter run (6:42.48).
Jorja Westrick placed 10th in the 100-meter hurdles prelims, with a time of 19.86, and 11th in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 57.07.
McDonald County's Madison Burton finished sixth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 14:35.36.
In the javelin throw, sophomore Anissa Ramirez finished sixth with a throw of 31.92m while her sister, Analisa Ramirez, a senior, finished 10th with an effort of 26.45.
Lady Mustang Savannah Leib placed fifth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 1.52m, just behind the fourth-place qualifying mark of 1.55m by Logan-Rogersville's Leiah O'Neal and the 1.57m effort of Webb City's Chase Stilley.
Gia Coffel cleared 1.42m to claim 10th place for McDonald County.
McDonald County had two participants in the long jump. Carlie Martin finished 12th with a mark of 4.16m while Madison Burton came in 14th with a jump of 3.97m.
Martin also took sixth (9.86m) in the triple jump and Abigail Pagel 14th (8.62m)
In the shot put, Roslynn Huston and Malia Diaz placed 10th and 11th, respectively, with Huston posting a mark of 9.08m and Diaz an effort of 8.89m.
Martin turned in a throw of 24.32m in the discus to finish ninth while Alexcia Ramirez took 10th with a mark of 22.18m.
"All of these kiddos who qualified for sectional have a shot to qualify to state," said Griffin. "Some better than others, but it will be fun to watch the competition at this meet this weekend."