Competing at the 13-team Osage Invitational on Tuesday of last week, the Houston High School boys and girls track and field teams got a sneak-peek at what they’ll deal with in the rapidly approaching postseason.

There were several teams in the meet that Houston will see again at the Class 3 District 5 championships May 14 at West Plains.

“This meet gave us a good opportunity to see how we stack up as we move forward with the season,” said HHS head coach Mike Tottingham.

Several Houston athletes finished in the top 8 in their respective events at the meet.


•Nate Garnica: First-place in the 400-meter dash, third in the 100m Dash

•PJ Mister: Second in triple jump, third in high jump, fifth in long jump and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

HHS senior P.J. Mister soars over the pit during jumping competition at last week’s Osage Invitational track meet.

•Noah Gulick: Fifth in the 400.

•Hunter McKinney: Fourth in the 1,600-meter run and seventh in the 800.

•Jordan Arthur: Seventh in the 110-meter hurdles.

•Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii: Second in javelin and eighth in triple jump.

•Harold Lassiter: Third in javelin and fourth in discus.


•Makenzi Arthur: First place in javelin (106′-10″)

and eighth in the 400-meter dash.

•Olivia Crites: Second in the 100 hurdles, second in the 300 hurdles, third in high jump, sixth in long jump.

•Kristen Ely: Eighth in the 1,600.


The Houston squads competed again Thursday at the annual Ava Relays, with the boys placing third in the 16-team meet and the girls finishing sixth. 

Several athletes who typically earn points for Houston were absent missing due to illness, a band trip to Nashville and other factors.   

“In fact, we had less than half of the boys that we would normally bring and just over half of our girls,” Tottingham said. 

Due to the lack of bodies, Houston had no relay teams running, except a 4×100 foursome made up entirely of throwers. 

“As much fun as it is to see shot put throwers run sprints,” Tottingham said, “it’s not an ideal place to be for earning points. That being said, both teams rose to the occasion and kept us competitive.” 

There were again several top-8 finishers for Houston.


•Kristen Ely – Fifth place in the 800-meter run and sixth in the 1,600.

•Makenzi Arthur – Second in javelin, fifth in the 400 and sixth in discus.

Arthur currently has the seventh-best throw in Class 3 so far this year. 

“It just so happens that Savannah Manthey from Salem is an absolute beast and is No. 2 on that list,” Tottingham said. “I keep telling Mak that luckily they are both juniors so she has another year to try and finally get a win against her.” 

•Sarah Purcell – Seventh in shot put.

•Olivia Crites – Second in high jump, third in the 300 hurdles, fourth in the 100 hurdles, fifth in long jump and sixth in the 1,600-meter run.

•Summer Bittle – Fourth in the 3,200-meter run.

•Allie Benoist – Fifth in the 3,200.


•Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii – Second in javelin, tied for second in triple jump, sixth in discus.

“This was Dmitrii’s second time triple jumping in a meet this year,” Tottingham said, “so this finish was a welcome surprise. His versatility and ability to pick up new skills quickly makes him really fun to coach.”  

HHS senior Nate Garnica starts down the runway during pole vaulting competition at last week’s Ava Invitational.

•Harold Lassitor – Seventh in javelin.

•Brady Brookshire – Tied for eighth in shot put.

•PJ Mister – First in triple jump (11.92 meters), second in long jump, third in high jump, fourth in the 300 hurdles.

•Nate Garnica – First in the 400 (53.41 sec.), second in the 100 and 200, eighth in pole vault.

•Noah Gulick – Fourth in the 400, seventh in the 200.

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