Golden moments

Allie Heckemeyer of St. Elizabeth competes in the Class 1 girls triple jump.

WHEN BASKETBALL SEASON ended, Alison Mehmert took a break.

You can understand.

One possession, one point, one second .... that was all that separated Mehmert and Chamois Lady Pirates from winning a state basketball championship on Saturday, March 9.

"That Sunday was a tough day," Mehmert said. "You had to deal with the emotional impact of the season being over. You give so much of your life and then afterwards, it's like ... 'now what?'

So, Mehmert took Sunday off. Why? There was no practice for the next season, the track and field season.

But she was there Monday.

"I just went straight into the next sport," she said. "I never even thought about it (taking a day off). I wanted a break, but I just thought it would be better for my track career to get an early start."

One day off. You can understand.
The basketball dream ended by one --- possession, point and second --- but the track and field dream came true.

By one inch.

Mehmert, a junior, cleared 5 feet, 3 inches to win the Class 1 high jump state title during this weekend's Class 1-2 State Track and Field Championships that concluded Saturday at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

"They're both great, on different levels," Mehmert said. "I would have rather had the entire team win first in basketball instead of just me in track.

"But they're both amazing."

When track practice was held March 11 and Mehmert was there, Joe Halbert was not surprised.

"She basically went straight from basketball to track," Chamois coach Joe Halbert said. "She's such a great girl, very dedicated and passionate about everything she does."

Then came Friday.

"I knew she could do it," Halbert said, "she just had to convince herself that she could."

Mehmert was the favorite going in.

"I was definitely nervous," she said. "I had prepared for it, but I hadn't prepared for the nerves. I just got out there and I did what I did --- I jumped. Afterwards, it was one of the greatest feelings in the world.

"I was astounded."


similar story to that of Mehmert --- her basketball season just ended a little earlier.

But she also made the jump with ease --- and also won a state championship.

The hoop season for the St. Elizabeth Lady Hornets ended in the sectionals, after the team had won a district championship. Heckemeyer turned in her basketball shoes for track and field cleats, and just over two months later won the Class 1 state championship in the triple jump.

"I'm glad I did the triple jump first, because I had all my energy," she said. "And that's the one I really wanted --- I've been chasing that since freshman year.

"I was soooo happy to get first. I loved it."

She went 34 feet, 7 3/4-inches --- her third jump in the prelims --- and then held on.

"I knew how close people were too me, just a couple of inches," Heckemeyer said. "I started getting a little nervous, because I should have been ahead of them by a foot.

"When I finally won, I could breathe. I just started smiling and I was just very happy and relieved."

Heckemeyer finished second in the 400-meter dash in a personal-best time of 59.50 on Saturday, then had to go straight to the long jump.

With little time in between the events, two things hurt her --- her legs. While she was seeded second, she finished fifth.

"I did the best I could," she said with a smile. "How many people can say they got three medals at state? Not many, so I'm very happy with my weekend."

She should be very happy.

By herself, Heckemeyer was a top-10 track program --- she scored 19 points as the Lady Hornets finished tied for eighth.


HECKEMEYER'S WEEKEND WAS TRUMPED, however, by the weekend of Nick Jones.

Jones --- a junior at the Missouri School for the Deaf --- was a one-man team. And this one-man team won a team trophy by scoring 34 points to finish fourth in the Class 1 boys team race..

Jones won state championships in the 100-meter dash (11.22) and 200-meter dash (22.41), he was second in the 400-meter dash (51.36), and third in the long jump (21 feet).

More on Nick Jones in the coming days.

There were other Golden Moments for area athletes this weekend.

In Class 2 Boys, Linn's Tyler Rush won the 3200-meter run (9:30.82) to help the Wildcats finish ninth in the team race with 20 points; South Callaway's Garner Rudroff won the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 11 1/2 inches.

In Class 2 Girls, South Callaway was sixth with 28 points, while Iberia junior Becca Buechter won the high jump by clearing 5-4.