JEFFERSON CITY -- senior Jovonte Suber was oh so close to pulling off the upset of the day in the boys 800-meter run at last Saturday’s MSHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium.
Suber came into Saturday’s final seeded fourth, behind favored gold medal contenders Kolton Sheldon of Lee’s Summit North, Spencer Haik of Springfield Glendale, and Jordan Cook of Columbia Rock Bridge, and wasn‘t really considered a favorite to win against such big name runners in the half-mile event.
But the Parkway North speedster, who finished in 10th place in the 800 last year, and starred on the Vikings varsity football and basketball teams this past fall and winter, had a gameplan that nearly worked to perfection.
“I just wanted to run my race,” Suber said, after solemnly accepting the silver medal for finishing second in the event. “My plan was to start to kick at the 200 meters, and just see if they could catch me.”
And it appeared no one would, as they crowd rose to its feet to watch Suber approach the finish line without anyone behind him seeming to gain any ground.
Then with about 50 meters left down the home stretch, Cook began his own final kick and managed to pass Suber on the inside just before the finish line.
Cook won the gold with a time of 1:55.85, while Suber took second in 1:56.49.
“I kind of thought I had it,” Suber said. “But he had a great final kick. I didn’t even see him, and I’m mad at myself that I let him pass me on the inside.”
Still, a silver medal in your final race is a pretty cool way to finish out a dynamite senior year for Suber, who led the North football team in rushing and touchdowns last fall, and was a key reserve off the bench for the Vikings basketball team that won the district championship for the first time in school history.
“It was a great year for all our teams this year,” Suber said. “Football did alright. We had to get through some things, but we had an OK season. And basketball was unbelievable with Darrell Johnson ”
Jovonte will play defensive back and run track at St. Cloud State, starting in the fall.
Jovonte wasn’t the only Suber to medal at the track championships either, as little sister Jasmyne Suber, a freshman at Parkway North this year, was part of the Vikings’ girls 4x100 meter relay team, which finished fifth in the championship race on Saturday.
Teammates Briana Holt, Diarra Newson, Amber Alexander, and Jasmyne Suber ran the quarter-mile relay in a sizzling 48.93 seconds, but no one could contend with Nerinx Hall’s winning time of 47.77, which was nearly a full second better than any other team this weekend.
Alexander also earned a fourth place individual medal on Friday, when she cleared 7 feet in the high jump.
The Parkway North boys also had a relay team that earned medals, as the 4x200 meter team of Duante Young, Johnathan Little, Chris Collins, and George Chisolm took eighth in that event.
Elsewhere, the De Smet squad, weakened by a hamstring injury to Durron Neal in the postseason which kept the Oklahoma-bound football speedster at home and a quad injury to KeVonn Mabon that nagged the whole track season, still came away with a fifth place finish in the 4x400 meter relay.