Palmyra girls track team sets multiple school records, makes hay at Paris Sectional


Palmyra's Hailey Kroeger won the Class 3 sectional title in the javelin during Saturday's track and field meet in Paris, Mo. | Shane Hulsey photo

PARIS, Mo. — Palmyra senior Hailey Kroeger isn’t finished.

Finished setting school records in the javelin that is.

Kroeger’s new high mark of 38.95 meters at the Class 3 sectional at Paris High School on Saturday helped her win the event and qualify for the state track and field championships, which will be held May 17-18 at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

Kroeger’s throw broke her own record of 38.3 meters, which she set at the Clarence Cannon Conference championships April 29. 

Kroeger, the No. 1 seed entering the sectional, had a feeling from the moment she woke up Saturday morning it could be a special day.

“I knew that I was ranked first going into this meet, so I knew that I had to pursue what I had been throwing to stay on top,” Kroeger said.

Kroeger wasn’t the only Palmyra athlete to set a school record and qualify for state in one fell swoop on Saturday. The girls 4×100-meter relay team of Laurin Sheputis, Alaina Loman, Bella McBride and Taytum White — all seniors — broke a 17-year old record with a time of 50.77 to finish .74 seconds ahead of runner-up Macon. Loman said the group collectively have had their eyes on that record — 51.28 seconds set in 2007 — for some time.

“We’ve been itching at that all four years,” Loman said. “We’re just happy to finally see it happen.”

Loman also qualified for state in two other events. She finished first in the pole vault and ran the third leg of the 4×200 relay in which the Panthers finished third, just .12 seconds ahead of fifth-place Owensville. Loman had to pause her pole vault attempts twice, first to run the 4×200 and again to run the 4×100, all in the span of about an hour.

Loman said competing in events so close together is challenging as much mentally as it is physically.

“You just have to focus on what you’re doing right then and there,” she said. “Even if my next race is in two minutes, but I’m having to jump, I just have to focus on what’s now, then change my shoes and rush to my next event.”

Palmyra’s Alaina Loman finished first in the pole vault during Saturday’s Class 3 sectional track and field meet in Paris, Mo. | Shane Hulsey photo

Sydney Compton will put her sprinting on display in multiple events at the state championships. In addition to her spot in the 4×200 relay, the junior finished third in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.91 seconds, .27 seconds clear of Eleanor Samuels from Southern Boone. Compton finished fourth at state in the hurdles as a freshman.

“It feels amazing,” Compton said. “I’m just going to stay collected and pray that I do great.”

Candra King will defend her state titles in the shot put and discus. Her throw of 40.72 meters in the discus bested the field by 6.2 meters, and her 12.83-meter effort in the shot put was 2.28 meters longer than Montgomery County’s Samantha Turner in second. King said getting in the right headspace is essential for her to repeat as state champion in both events.

“Not only do you win state titles, but you have to have that mindset to go along with it to do it again,” King said. “I’m equipped with everything I need to win it again, but I think just being humble and going in there and doing my thing will be the key.”

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