Neither Jaree Bennett nor Drew Bodicky left school satisfied Tuesday.

Sure, both Central athletes swept their respective competitions at the City Track Meet, but with the wide range of skill levels present at an event featuring a member of every Missouri classification, it's just as much about self-policing as placement for all parties involved.

"I'm trying to work my way up," said Bennett, who won both girls throwing events — shot put for the second year in a row with a put of 29 feet, 8.75 inches and an 80-10 discus throw. "Because we're all, like, rivals even though we're all in the same little city, (a city title) makes you feel good, but I know today ... it's not my best."

Said Bodicky, now a three-time 110- and 300-meter boys hurdles city champ: "It's just hard, because my whole mental aspect gets thrown off. I want to do so well, but I don't want to psych myself out and accidentally fall or something. I guess it has its pros and cons, and I definitely saw the con part of it today."

Of 35 events to take place Tuesday, host school Central claimed first in 22 — a typical day for St. Joseph's largest and only Class 4 school at the town's annual track and field exclusive, where no team scores are kept.

Generally, standings aren't necessary.

Just moments after making the short walk from her final class of the day to Noyes Field, junior sprinter Brady Rodney claimed the most city championships of any athlete. The 2012 Missouri State Track and Field Championships qualifier took first in both the 200-meter dash (25.69 seconds) and 400 (58.97) and anchored 4x200 and 4x400 relay victories.

Rodney's 4x400 teammate Paityn Howat, a freshman, set a school record in the 800, beating the next-closest runner by about 20 seconds for a 2:18.72 finish. Howat also snagged top honors in the 1,600 (5:36.16).

Central's boys were equally strong in the long-distance races with Jeff Bachman and Zac Miller winning the 1,600 and 3,200, respectively.

"Even though it's City, where I know we can do better than all the other schools, I don't think we can think of it as, 'Oh, this meet we're gonna win' versus a Kansas City meet where we're going against the best in the state," said Bodicky, who showed displeasure toward his times of 14.4 in the 110 hurdles and 40.96 in the 300 despite winning both races by at least a full second.

But it wasn't all Central on Tuesday.

Bishop LeBlond freshman Laura Robertson earned the first gold medal of her career with a 15-4 1/2 long jump, and teammate Elisha Waller edged Benton's Madison Reynolds by 0.12 of a second in the girls 300 hurdles.

Robertson said competing against top-level talent brought out her best in a young but promising career.

"I think it's a good accomplishment, especially going against Central athletes that LeBlond doesn't go against normally," Robertson said.

On the boys side, Benton senior Kain Ellis spearheaded a strong middle-distance performance for the Cardinals. He beat out three Central runners for a victory in the 800 (2:00.06) and ran a dominant anchor leg for Benton's first-place 4x400 (3:35.03).

Longtime adversaries Bachman and Bodicky ran in that race for second-place Central, a team Ellis always has relished facing in his dwindling career.

"We're not the biggest town in the world, but we have a lot of great competition here," said the senior, who placed second in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800 at last year's Class 3 state meet. "It's nice to have someone to compete against."

Lafayette speedster Jurell Green had a productive day in the sprints category, squeezing past St. Joseph Christian's Justin Mays by 0.01 of a second for gold in the 200 and taking care of a leg in the Fighting Irish's first-place 4x100.

It's been an interesting spring for Green, a senior who's still in conversations with potential college football destinations.

In the meantime, Green's been suiting up for Lafayette's baseball team as a pinch runner and having the best track and field season of his career.

"Since it's my last year," Green said, "I might as well go out with a bang."

Green also appeared to help Lafayette win the 4x200, too, but the Irish were later disqualified. That gave Central and anchor man Tyrell Reed yet another city championship on the day. Reed also won the long jump and triple jump.

Phil Ervin can be reached at phil.ervin@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPPhilErvin.







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