CHESTERFIELD • There are two approaches coaches take to the conference championship meets.
With the all-encompassing district meets in seven days, some coaches opt to rest their standouts. Others look at conference as the perfect tune-up for the postseason.
Saturday’s Suburban South Conference girls track and field championships had a little of both philosophies.
Even shorthanded, Kirkwood pulled together to win the meet. The Pioneers won with 140 points, followed by Parkway Central (119) and University City (111).
“We had injuries, illnesses, we pieced together relay teams, we took people out of events, the heat, and the strain of this time of year,” Kirkwood coach Roberta McWoods said. “This is the time of year to rest them. At conference, everybody is cautious. The heat kind of threw everybody into turmoil. But this might be what it is the rest of the season.”
The Pioneers limited the action of standouts Hannah Richardson, Bria McWoods, Amber Solomon and Lianna Doty.
“It was nothing major enough to end their season, but it could if we’re not cautious and we don’t listen to them, it could,” McWoods said. “The ones you throw out there, you ask them to compete, and for the others, you ask them to hold back until next week.”
Kirkwood’s Elisa Steele won the 400 with a time of 1:00.56. Kayla Gutierrez won the shot put (40-2½) and Dajae Williams the discus (115-2) to give the Pioneers two more firsts.
Afterwards, Parkway Central coach Ryan Banta was giving out high-fives galore to the Colts.
“It was a much better day this week than last week,” Banta said. “Last week we had our worse meet of the year and they responded nicely. We had a number of PRs.”
Parkway Central got a 1-2 finish in the 3,200 with Kayla Friesen winning in 11:58.79 and teammate Clare Roberts finishing second in 12:16.38.
Friesen’s win bettered her PR by over 10 seconds.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Kayla to run that time and be a conference champion,” Banta said. “To run that time in 90-degree weather when we haven’t had it all year is really something.”
Parkway Central also got a first from Tasha Frazier in the long jump with a mark of 16 feet, 9 inches.
“This sets us up for districts,” Banta said. “We have to know what our kids can do. We’re trying to figure out what would be the best strategy with our best people. Most of the kids we ran were our top kids.”
Webster Groves’ Sharae Bates won the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.83, and Bates also won the 100 with a time of 12.55. Teammate Brianna Hickey won the 1,600 with a time of 5:13.13. Parkway North’s Amber Alexander won the high jump by clearing 5-foot-6.
Seckman’s Miranda Akers won the pole vault by clearing 10-0. Parkway West won the 3,200 relay in 9:53.6.
University City looked strong in the relays, winning the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.
“Our plan wasn’t to come to win but just do what we’ve been doing in practice,” U. City coach Danielle Oliver said. “Everybody knew what they were supposed to do. It took a lot of hard work.”
The Lions finished 1-2 in the 300 hurdles. Amani Borders won with a time of 45.72 followed by Quindara Jackson in 46.24. Chantel Bethune gave the Lions another first by winning the 200 in 26.03, and Taylor Gibson won the triple jump with a mark of 34-9.
“They needed that,” Oliver said. “Now the team feels it, and they’re ready for state. It was good preparation.”