From Last to Best: Boys Turn It Around

Kaylon Jenkins (right middle) and his teammate Jacob Clay place first and second in their heat of the 100-meter dash on Monday at the Brentwood Invitational. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Kaylon Jenkins (right middle) and his teammate Jacob Clay place first and third in their heat of the 100-meter dash on Monday at the Brentwood Invitational. They ended up taking second and fourth overall in the event. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Rivera leads quartet of girls to 2nd place

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

It took only one year for the Brentwood High School boys track and field team to move from last place to first in its own invitational meet. It beat five teams to win the Brentwood Invitational on Monday.

The Eagles scored 170.5 points, more than 40 ahead of second-place Trinity and third-place Principia, the top two finishers last year.

Brentwood took second place among girls teams despite having only four athletes. Of course, one of them was Sophia Rivera, who scored 30 points with wins in the shot put, discus throw and javelin throw.

Assistant track and field coach Robert Findley.
Assistant track and field coach Robert Findley.

Boys more versatile

Credit at least some of the Brentwood boys’ turnaround to new head coach Scott Long, who has grown the team from 15 last year to 23. And they’re more balanced. On Monday they scored in every category: 46 points in sprints, 44.5 in throws, 41 in jumps, 32 in relays and seven in distance running.

Scott Long is Brentwood's new head track and field coach this season.
Scott Long is Brentwood’s new head track and field coach this season.

Sprinters and jumpers still carried the day. Leading point-winners were Kaylon Jenkins (20.5), Jordon Tate (20), Justice Harris (18.5), Deshaun Johnson (15.5) and Joe Clay (14). Jenkins won the 200-meter dash, took second in the 100 and was on the winning 400 relay team. The relay, which also includes Jacob Clay, Justice Harris and Deshaun Johnson, hopes to improve on its fifth-place finish at state last year.

“Our goal is to get first place at state,” said Jenkins, who added that they’re working mostly on their handoffs. “The thing 2A teams struggle with the most is handoffs. We already have the speed to get first place, but if we get crisp handoffs all the way through, we can win state.”

DeAndre Boykin runs the 100-meter dash.
DeAndre Boykin runs the 100-meter dash.
Courtland Hill in the long jump.
Courtland Hill takes seventh place in the triple jump.
Joe Clay runs the 100-meter dash.
Joe Clay on the way to winning the 400-meter dash.
Deshaun Johnson lands in the long jump pit.
Sand flies as Deshaun Johnson lands after a long-jump attempt. He took second place.
Corey Carroll p;aces sixth in the 200.
Corey Carroll runs to a fifth place in the 400.
Brandon Gordon takes 8th in the 400.
Brandon Gordon takes sixth in the 200.
Billy Flynn runs in the 3,200-meter relay.
Billy Flynn helps the 3,200-meter relay team to a third place.
Jackson Neely in the 3,200 relay.
Jackson Neely in the 3,200 relay.
John Waltham takes the baton from Jackson Neely in the 3,200 relay.
John Waltham takes the baton from Jackson Neely in the 3,200 relay.
Joe Dreyer feels no pain as he runs the mile.
Joe Dreyer feels no pain as he runs the mile.

But on Monday the big difference from last year was in throwing events. Mike “Big Cat” Doebber won the shot put and outscored all Brentwood boys with 23 points. Tayveon Brown’s win in the javelin throw helped him contribute 18.5. Both are sophomores.

Note: In the individuals’ point contributions listed here, a relay team member receives one-fourth of the team’s points.

Mike Doebber in the shot put.
Mike Doebber on the way to a fourth place in the shot put.
Tayveon Brown in the javelin throw.
Tayveon Brown in the javelin throw.
Tayveon Brown laughs about beating teammate Michael Doebber's (right) previous javelin throw. The two took turns holding the lead until Brown finally won the event.
Tayveon Brown smiles about beating teammate Michael Doebber’s (right) previous javelin throw. The two took turns holding the lead until Brown finally won the event.

4-girl team takes 2nd place

With only four on the team, two throwers and two sprinters, the BHS girls finished a distant second to Principia, which scored half its points in distance running. Rivera racked up 30 points in sweeping the throwing events. Nyiah Thompson scored 17, including a win in a triple jump. Thrower Jill Yancey scored 15 and sprinter Oni Wright seven.

Nyiah Thompson stays just ahead of a Bayless runner in the 200.
Nyiah Thompson stays just ahead of a Bayless runner in the 200.
Jill Yancey throws the shot. She placed third.
Jill Yancey throws the shot. She placed sixth.
Oni Wright runs the 200.
Oni Wright runs to a seventh place in the 200.
Student manager Olivia Wagner and her fellow seniors receive flowers during a senior night ceremony midway through the meet.
Student manager Olivia Wagner and her fellow seniors receive flowers during a senior night ceremony midway through the meet.

Rivera’s winning javelin throw of 180 feet 4 inches qualified her for the U.S. Olympic trials in July. It exceeded the qualifying distance of 177-2 by 3 feet 2 inches and was a personal record by 4 feet 1 inch. The distance was first measured at just over 179 feet. Because it exceeded the qualifying distance for the trials, judges running the javelin summoned an official from the Missouri High School Activities Association to verify the distance. That official, who was working at another event in the meet, arrived within several minutes. After remeasuring the throw with a steel tape measure he announced that it was 180-4.

“A 179 would have qualified me for the trials as well, but 180 is, the more the merrier, right?” said Rivera with a smile. “It’s a feeling you can’t really describe, to know that one of your dreams, one of your goals is coming true.”

Rivera had thrown a 176-3 at the Affton Invitational on April 13. It was not only a personal best but one of the 20 farthest throws by an American this season. Though it was short of the qualifying distance of 177-2, it might have been long enough for her to receive an invitation to the Olympic trials in early July.

“I have a decision to make,” she said last week, before the Brentwood Invitational. “There’s a javelin camp over in Finland [in June]. But I would get back from it a day or so before the javelin trials for women. That would be cutting it close. I would probably do either or. And as of now I would probably still go to the Finland trip. But if I hit that 177 and consistently throw it farther than that, then I’ll probably go to the trials, just to get that experience under my belt.”

Several days after the quote above, she threw the 180-4. Asked if it would make her cancel the trip to Finland, she replied, “It’s looking more like I’ll probably go and come back early or just not go,” she said. “But again, it’s super early in the season so I don’t know exactly. I had a really good series for myself [today]. I threw 174, 172 and then the big one, 180, so it’s looking really really good so I don’t know, anything could happen.”

This photo and the seven below it show Sophia Rivera's third attempt in the javelin throw, which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic trials this summer.
This photo and the seven below it show Sophia Rivera’s third attempt in the javelin throw, which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic trials this summer.

SJB_2265 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2267 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2268 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2271 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2272 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2273 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

SJB_2274 Sophia Rivera, javelin, 3rd throw

After hearing that she had qualified for the Olympic trials, Sophia Rivera hugs her mother, Michelle Hassemer.
After hearing that she had qualified for the Olympic trials, Sophia Rivera hugs her mother, Michelle Hassemer.
Rivera hugs an emotional Ron Eichaker, her throwing coach since she was 12.
Rivera hugs an emotional Ron Eichaker, her throwing coach since she was 12.
A steel tape measure gauges Rivera's record javelin throw. Javelin officials had it ready as they waited for a MSHSAA judge to arrive to verify Rivera's record throw.
A steel tape measure gauges Rivera’s record javelin throw. Javelin officials had it ready as they waited for a MSHSAA judge to arrive to verify Rivera’s record throw.
Chris Jones, who helped run the javelin throw, shows the plastic tape measure that broke as he and others tried to measure Rivera's third throw.
Chris Jones, who helped run the javelin throw, shows the plastic tape measure that broke as he and others tried to measure Rivera’s third throw.
MSHSAA official Jon Doe (left) signs a sheet held by Sophia's father, Edwin Rivera, verifying that she had thrown 180 feet 4 inches.
MSHSAA official Frank Greco (left) signs a sheet held by Sophia’s father, Edwin Rivera, verifying that she had thrown 180 feet 4 inches.
After the Brentwood Invitational Rivera poses with her javelin, javelin shoes and the broken tape measure.
After the Brentwood Invitational Rivera poses with her javelin, javelin shoes and the broken tape measure.

Boys team scores
1st: Brentwood, 170.5 points
2nd: Trinity, 129.5
3rd: Principia, 107
4th: Bayless, 64
5th: Valley Park, 58
6th: Crossroads, 22

Girls team scores
1st: Principia, 111 points
2nd: Brentwood, 69 (tie)
2nd: Bayless, 69 (tie)
4th: Trinity, 58
5th: Crossroads, 30
6th: Valley Park, 27

Brentwood boys results

100-meter dash: 2nd, Kaylon Jenkins, 11.3 seconds, 8 points; 4th, Jacob Clay, 11.6, 5 points; 9th, DeAndre Boykin, 12.3.

200-meter dash: 1st, Kaylon Jenkins, 22.9 seconds, 10 points; 3rd, Justice Harris, 23.9, 6 points; 6th, Brandon Gordon, 24.7, 3 points.

400-meter dash: 1st, Joe Clay, 54.5 seconds, 10 points; 5th, Corey Carroll, 58.3, 4 points;

800-meter run: 6th, Billy Flynn, 2 minutes 38.4 seconds, 3 points.

One-mile run: 10th, Joe Dreyer, 6 minutes 40.3 seconds; 11th, Jackson Neely, 6:41.18.

3,200-meter run: 5th, Josh Walthall, 12 minutes 20 seconds, 4 points.

400-meter relay: 1st, Kaylon Jenkins, Jacob Clay, Justice Harris, Deshaun Johnson, 44.69 seconds, 10 points.

800-meter relay: 2nd, Corey Carroll, Justice Harris, Joe Clay, Jacob Clay, 1 minute 36.7 seconds, 8 points.

1,600-meter relay: 2nd, Joe Clay, Corey Carroll, Justin Harris, Jordon Tate, 3 minutes 48.8 seconds, 8 points.

3,200-meter relay: 3rd, Joe Dreyer, John Walthall, Jackson Neely, Billy Flynn, 11 minutes 7 seconds, 6 points.

High jump: 2nd, Justice Harris, 5 feet 10 inches, 8 points.

Long jump: 1st, Jordon Tate, 20 feet 3.5 inches, 10 points; 2nd, Deshaun Johnson, 19-2, 8 points; 12th, Billy Flynn, 11-5.

Triple Jump: 2nd, Jordon Tate, 37 feet 11 inches, 8 points; 4th, Deshaun Johnson, 37-4.75, 5 points; 7th, Courtland Hill, 31-9.25, 2 points.

Shot put: 4th, Michael Doebber, 33 feet 7 inches, 5 points; 5th, Tayveon Brown, 32-10, 4 points; 6th, Jacob Clay, 31-8, 3 points.

Discus throw: 1st, Michael Doebber, 101 feet 3 inches, 10 points; 4th, Tayveon Brown, 80-7, 4.5 points.

Javelin throw: 1st, Tayveon Brown, 97 feet 10 inches, 10 points; 2nd, Michael Doebber, 86-1, 8 points.

This and the following four photos show Justice Harris clearing 5 feet 8 inches in the high jump. He ended up taking second place after clearing 5 feet 10.
This and the following four photos show Justice Harris clearing 5 feet 8 inches in the high jump. He ended up taking second place after clearing 5 feet 10.

SJB_2022 Justice Harris

SJB_2023 Justice Harris

SJB_2024 Justice Harris

SJB_2026 Justice Harris

Brentwood girls results

100-meter dash: 4th, Oni Wright, 14.3 seconds, 5 points; 9th, Nyiah Thompson, 16.5.

200-meter dash: 6th, Nyiah Thompson, 31.34 seconds, 3 points; 7th, Oni Wright, 31.44, 2 points.

Long jump: 5th, Nyiah Thompson, 11 feet 6.5 inches, 4 points.

Triple jump: 1st, Nyiah Thompson, 28 feet, 10 points.

Shot put: 1st, Sophia Rivera, 51 feet 5 inches, 10 points; 6th, Jill Yancey, 25-2, 3 points.

Discus throw: 1st, Sophia Rivera, 151 feet 5 inches, 10 points; 3rd, Jill Yancey, 84-3, 6 points.

Javelin throw: 1st, Sophia Rivera, 180 feet 4 inches, 10 points; 3rd, Jill Yancey, 54-0, 6 points.

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