Back-to-Back: Republic Lady Tigers Claim 2nd straight COC title

Republic won the COC girls track championship for the second year in a row at Joplin on Friday. Two Republic school records fell, including the 4x200m relay. Runners (left to right) Reese Finley, Gracie Woods, Jenna Belcher, and Brooklyn Douglas finished in 1:45.36, beating their own previous mark by .29 seconds. Belcher also broke her own long jump record in winning that event. (Photo by David Brazeal)

The Republic girls track team waited 30 years between Central Ozark Conference championships before winning it last year. They weren’t about to let that happen again.
The Lady Tigers stormed to their second straight conference title at Joplin Friday, racking up 139.5 points to out-distance Nixa (121) and Ozark (85.5). Republic’s boys finished fifth. Nixa dominated the boys events, followed by Webb City, Neosho, and Branson ahead of Republic.
Three different Lady Tigers won two individual events. Gracie Troester ran to gold in the 1600 meter (5:11.77) and the 3200 meter runs (11:34.64). Alaina Norman powered her way to victory in the shot put (11.41m) and javelin (41.68m). Jenna Belcher soared to the top of the podium in the long jump (5.60m) and triple jump (11.26m). Belcher broke the previous school long jump record of 5.44m, which she had set last season.
Two relay teams also finished first. Reese Finley, Kristin Probst, Gracie Woods and Troester combined to cruise past the competition in the 4×800 meter relay (9:46.92). The 4×400 meter relay squad of Finley, Probst, Woods and Norman clocked a time of 4:07.76 in winning gold.
The 4×200 meter team finished second, narrowly losing to Ozark, but broke its own school record in the process. Finley, Woods, Belcher, and Brooklyn Douglas finished in 1:45.36. That was .23 seconds faster than the old school record, but .29 seconds behind Ozark.
Republic’s best event was the long jump. In addition to Belcher’s gold, Republic got sixth- and seventh-place finishes from Norman and Gracie Woods, respectively.
Troester finished second and Probst finished third in the 800m run, and Probst was fourth in the 1600m run. Chloe McCann was 5th in the 300m hurdles, and Rilynn Finley finished 8th in that event. Belcher tied for 4th in the 200m dash. Avery Rossow finished fourth in the discus throw and Ali Poulson was fifth. Rossow also finished eighth in the shot put. Sienna Blankenship was eighth in the pole vault.
Zion Allen was Republic’s top finisher on the boys side, taking second in both the high jump and the long jump. James Rexroat finished second in the javelin, followed by Izaiah Hull in seventh and Kaleb Norman in eighth. Kendell Curbow was also a second-place finisher in the pole vault, with Daniel Fair taking sixth in that event.
William Ladd was a fourth-place finisher in the 300m hurdles. Brady Purcell finished seventh in the 3200m run. Keiran Govan was sixth in the triple jump.


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