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STEAM Academy rolls to girls championship; Asinga shines for Principia boys

STEAM Academy rolls to girls championship; Asinga shines for Principia boys

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Melvin twins helped STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley add to the championship history of the school — albeit under a new name.

The Bulldogs won the Class 2 championship rather easily on Friday, locking up the title well before the final event at Adkins Stadium was over on the first day of the Missouri Track and Field Championships.

Chelby and Cheyenne Melvin, both seniors, played a big part in the Bulldogs finishing with 80 points by winning four first-place medals. The school won eight of the nine events it competed in, the exception was the 4x100-meter relay when the team held a substantial lead on the final turn, but an exchange outside of the zone led to a disqualification.

That was the only blemish on the day for the Bulldogs, who won their 11th state title overall and the first in Class 2 since 2002.

“We joked early in the year, "what if we win the state?" and then it was like ‘oh shoot, we could win it,’” Chelby Melvin said. “We knew we could do it if we just do what we have been doing all year - leave it all out on the track. We actually did it. It is a reality. It is kind of bittersweet, but it is very exciting.”

Chelby and Cheyenne Melvin, Myah Coleman and Safiyah Reed put a punctuation mark on the title by winning the 4x400-meter relay in 4:00.76. The Melvins, Reed and Leah Thames helped the Bulldogs win the 4x200-meet in a new Class 2 state record time of 1:41.18.

The previous mark came in 1998 in 1:43.69 by McCluer South.

Each one of the Melvins wins also set a new class record.

Chelby Melvin broke the record in the 300-meter hurdles in 43.23 seconds, a short-lived record set in 2019 by Principia’s Busiwa Asinga (43.31). Chelby Melvin swept the hurdle titles, winning the 100 in 14.49.

Cheyenne Melvin reset the class record in the 400 in 56.17, besting Blair Oaks' Monica Joannes’ time of 56.61 in 1999. Cheyenne Melvin added a fourth gold in the 800, winning in 2:20.42.

Leah Thames added two other firsts for the Bulldogs, winning the 100 (12.45) and 200 (24.56).

“It feels good to have a trophy,” McCluer South coach Wasim Walker said. “It means a lot, it is a symbolism of the resiliency in our community. We feel really good to represent McCluer South. We have done this before and they did what they needed to do.”

Outside of McCluer South, high finishes on the podium were scarce. 

Jefferson senior Laney Smith took third in the high jump, matching the same height as the champion and runner-up — 5 foot, 3.25 inches — before losing on tiebreakers. Teammate Kyla Allen was fifth in the same event.

Catryn Cattoor was third in the discus and added a sixth in the shot put for Jefferson. 

Duchesne's Heidi Hartwig placed fifth in the pole vault in her state debut. O'Fallon Christian's Mercedes Schroer was fifth in the 400.

Missouri Class 2 track and field championships

Principia's Issam Asinga pulls away from the field as he wins the 200-meter dash on Friday, May 21, 2021 at the Missouri Class 2 track and field championships in Jefferson City, Mo. Cody Thorn | Special to STLhighschoolsports.com

PRINCIPIA MAKES NOISE ON BOYS SIDE

Issam Asinga’s debut at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships is one that will be hard to match.

The Principia sophomore won three state titles and set three Class 2 records in the process on Friday.

Seeded first in his three events, he didn’t let the pressure bother him.

“I can’t expect to win on paper by what I’m seeded,” he said. “I can’t let it affect my race. It is won on the track and not on paper. It was about staying humble and staying in my moment and focus on the now like my coach said.”

He won the 100-meter dash in 10.63 seconds, besting a class superlative that stood since 1992. In the 400, he won in 48.17 – two spots ahead of Lutheran North’s Jordynn Parker. Asinga’s time broke the mark set by Priory’s Tony Hillard 40 years ago. He capped his day with a win in the 200 (21.64) and topped Cleveland NJROTC’s Michael Wells’ mark in 2014.

“My parents and sister (Buiswa Asinga) were watching so I had to show out for them,” he said. “She won state and it is cool to see me, three years later, to see what it is like at the top of the podium. It is a really cool feeling. I look forward to next year and to up my performance. It is all about going up from here.”

Principia took sixth place with 32 points – all but two from Asinga.

Lutheran North scored 39 points and took fourth place to bring home the school’s tenth top-four finish and first since 2008.

“We don’t have a superstar, the closest is Jordynn Parker,” Lutheran North coach Jim Prahlow said. “I think we are learning. We basically have two classes of freshmen and two classes of juniors. It gives us something to work for and we are excited.”

Parker ran the first leg of the 4x200 – followed by Jonathan Van Hook, Ali Wells and Brian Brown – that won the title in 1:30.40.

Brown, Wells, Nicholas Ballenger and Parker capped the day by taking second in the 4x400. Van Hook, Wells, Jordan Carter and Kevon Jacobs were third in the 4x100 for the Crusaders.

“It is nice to be on top of that podium after all these years,” said Parker, who also placed fifth in the 200.

St. Pius X’s Cole Seek won the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet and added a fifth-place medal in the long jump.

Bishop DuBourg’s George Blanco was the runner-up in the 1,600-meter run and Christian’s Austin Ball took second in the 110-meter hurdles.

Duchesne’s Michael Pilla was third in the pole vault.

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