One Salem High School qualifier for the Missouri Class 3 Track and Field State Championships is trying to find her way to the all-state podium for a third consecutive year.
The other wasn’t sure if he was going to give track a try until the day before season-opening practice.
Senior Savannah Manthey will be competing in the girls’ javelin competition while junior Bryson May is in the boys’ triple jump Saturday, May 27 in the Class 3 Track and Field Championships at Jefferson City High School’s Adkins Stadium.
The top four finishers in each event advanced from sectional competition to the state meet.
Manthey won the Sectional 3 Meet javelin competition with a throw of 128 feet, nine inches while May finished fourth at sectional in the triple jump with a leap of 41 feet, three and three-fourth inches.
Ironically, both Manthey and May compete in their respective state events at the same time, starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Manthey is hoping to complete her record-setting Salem High athletic career with a state championship. She earned all-state honors by placing seventh in the javelin as a sophomore. Her junior year she competed in two events at state – the javelin and pole vault. She upped her steps on the javelin all-state podium to fourth place. This season she dropped the pole vault to focus on her throws and ended up improving her school record javelin distance to 131 feet, seven and a half inches.
Now there is no question what the goal is at Jefferson City this time around.
“Her sophomore year she was seventh, last year fourth, this year the sequence says…” said Tiger track head coach Derek Freeman with a smile, hinting that a state championship is certainly a possibility.
“Those of us in the top four (state javelin rankings heading into state competition) are all close,” Manthey said. “We’re all 37 to 39, 40 (meters). We’re all there together. Just the (state) experience will help. I’ve thrown a lot. Coach Mac (former Salem head coach and throwing coach Brian McNamee) made a big impact, and Kolson (this season’s throwing coach Kolson Seay) did this year.
“I didn’t pole vault this year to focus on throws. I made it to sectionals in discus, but that is not really my thing.”
“She’s more consistent,” said Freeman, who has resigned his duties at Salem and will be moving to Collinsville, Ill. shortly after the state meet. “All the top throwers have about the same throws. But as far as the average of the top eight, Savannah has about the best median average. Changing throwing coaches is an adjustment. She had Mac as her coach her whole life. But I think she has adjusted well with Kolson.”
In basketball Manthey set Lady Tiger school records for three-pointers in a season (73 this past season), career three-pointers (250) and most three-pointers in a game (eight).
She will be competing in track at NCAA Division II program Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, concentrating on javelin and other throws while possibly being asked to try multi-event situations as well.
She would love to end her high school experience with a state title.
“That would be great,” she said. “But going to state – that’s a really big accomplishment.”
When May was asked when he decided to compete in track this year Seay shouted, “Tell the truth! It was the day before practice began!”
May smiled and admitted that was about right.
“Coach (Salem boys’ basketball head coach Jared) Patterson asked me and got me thinking about it,” he said.
Certainly, May flashed his jumping ability in basketball. And he has made a quick transition to his new spring sport.
He got his personal-record of 42 feet, four and a half inches at district.
“After the SCA Meet I thought I had a chance (at state),” May said. (Mountain View Liberty’s Drew) Ripko was No. 1 in district and I jumped right under him. And then I beat him at district.
“There will be some nerves (at state). I’ve never been out of district before in anything. I’ll just forget about it and jump.”
“He loved it,” Freeman said of May. “Bryson being in his first year, he realized the first day he tried triple jump that he really liked it. He surprised us. He tried the 4x400 (relay) races and ran good legs. His (triple jump) distance was surprising; he was just three, three and a fourth inches from tying the school record. We really didn’t know what he was capable of.”
Freeman is anxious to see what May does Saturday.
“The possibilities are unlimited,” Freeman said. “He was consistently going 12.2, 12.3 (meters) then popped a 12.48, then went to 12.91. I see 13 meters in his future. He’s super coachable and I see him placing very well.”
“Anywhere placing I’d be very happy with,” May said. “In the (pre-state rankings) I’m kind of down in the middle. It’s just concentrating between jumps. Just being able to run, jump and have three jumps.”