Mexico can’t keep up with state track competition

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 5/31/23

The best athletes are always awaiting aspiring medalists at the state track and field meet.

Day 1 Mexico, Centralia State Track Photo Gallery

Day 2 Mexico, Centralia State Track Photo …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Mexico can’t keep up with state track competition


The best athletes are always awaiting aspiring medalists at the state track and field meet.

Day 1 Mexico, Centralia State Track Photo Gallery

Day 2 Mexico, Centralia State Track Photo Gallery

That was apparent for Mexico on Friday and Saturday in the Class 4 meet as the Bulldogs qualified for five events but didn’t earn a medal. Three were bounced out of contention with preliminary performances on Friday while sophomore Tyler Grimes and senior Morgan Grubb were close in the 800 and pole vault, respectively.

Head coach Bucky Green said his runners weren’t bad on Friday as they were having to compete against the best in the state. Case in point, the 4x100 relay team of Grubb, Grimes, Anthony Shivers and Alex Rowan finished 12th with a time of 43.53 — less than a second behind eighth’s 43.05 and also behind the school-record 43.29 they set at sectionals.

“We competed well, but you’re just here with the cream of the crop,” Green said. “The 4x100, we just don’t have the speed it took to get out. We had good handoffs, and we lived off good handoffs all year and not really speed in that 4x100. You get here, and there’s just too much speed.”

The Bulldogs medaled in the 4x800 relay last year with a seventh-place time of 3:30.68 but managed a 12th-place mark of 3:32.56 this year, which was about four seconds behind the eighth-place time. The team of Shivers, Grimes, Charlie Fisher and Davontae Frame had run a sectionals time of 3:29.74 before Grubb and his hamstring issues returned with Grimes and Shivers to form 75 percent of the all-state team from a year ago.

“The 4x400 was a little beat up,” Green said. “Morgan really hasn’t trained for the last three weeks. He competes and then we try to rest him to keep that hamstring stable. They were a little off their best time, but even if they ran their best time, it wouldn’t have been good enough to get out.”

Green said Grubb has dealt with hamstring injuries early in the year but has repeatedly been scratched from relay events to help him recover. He said Grubb felt a tweak at Mexico’s conference meet and needed some rest prior to districts. 

For state, Green said Grubb’s leg didn’t necessarily look to be 100 percent when he was on the runway, but Grubb looked better than the previous two weeks when Mexico even stopped his jumps as soon as he qualified. By Saturday morning in the pole vault, Grubb did give his best in two relay events on Friday.

“There are so many technical things that can go wrong in the vault,” Green said. “Staying inverted a little bit longer, a little more speed on the runway, standards in the right place and there’s so many places it could go wrong. You can’t necessarily blame it on something.”

Green said Grubb’s future looks bright when he competes in track and field at William Woods University in Fulton next year as a heptathlete, going beyond the running and pole vault events he’s done.

The same can be said for the graduating Shivers, who will run in college for Evangel University in Springfield. Shivers ran in the relay events but also competed in the 100-meter dash with a 14th-place time of 11.18, which was behind the eighth-place 10.99. His time was about even to his sectionals time but better than his 100 time of 11.70 at last year’s state meet.

“Ant ran as well as he usually runs in the 100,” Green said. “He had a good start, but there’s too much speed out there.”

Grubb and Shivers each depart Mexico as all-state athletes, and the sophomore Grimes was already one coming into Friday because of his role on last year’s 4x400. Grimes ran in the 4x400 again and the 4x100 and 800 for the first time at state.

At the start of the 800, Grimes was boxed in by the field at the start before leaking out to the outside soon after on the straightaway and eventually falling just short down the home stretch, finishing ninth with a personal-best time of 1:57.10, beating his 1:57.48 he set at the previous week at sectionals.

“You could look back on that and say, ‘Had he known the kid who was coming from 10th that passed up ninth and that passed up eighth, could he have found another five steps? But you can’t live in the world of if. That’s not reality. The reality is the kid popped him right at the end.”

Grimes has impressed in recent weeks when he as the anchor leg turned a sixth place in the 4x400 for Mexico at sectionals into a third-place finish. He leads the young group Mexico will bring back next year.

“You want him to get confidence without approaching arrogance,” Green said. “I think he is approaching that confidence to look at a record and say, ‘I’m two seconds off that record. That’s doable.’”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here