HHS senior Nate Garnica plants his pole during pole vaulting competition at last week's Salem Invitational. Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Both Houston High School track and field squads had a pair of good showings in big meets last week, as each placed second in the 12-team Salem Invitational on Tuesday and both finished seventh in the 20-team Zizzer Relays Thursday at West Plains.

Houston athletes produced several top performances at Salem, including two wins by the boys (P.J. Mister in the long jump and Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii in the javelin) and three by the girls (Olivia Crites in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4X400 and 4X800 relay teams).

The host Salem boys took first in the meet, while Mountain Grove won on the girls side. The top 8 finishers in each event earned points.



•Nathan Garnica – second in the 100 and 200-meter dashes; fourth in pole vault.   

No Houston athlete had competed in pole vault in the four years that Mike Tottingham has been the track and field program’s head coach.

“I would definitely say that Nate did his part to make our return to vaulting a success,” Tottingham said. 

•PJ Mister – first in long jump (19-feet, 5 ¾ inches) and second in triple jump.   

HHS senior P.J. Mister prepares to land during triple jump competition at last week’s Salem Invitational. Mister took second in the event and won the long jump.

“We took PJ out of the 400 meter dash and put him in long jump,” Tottingham said. “He made that decision look pretty intelligent by out- jumping second place by 7 inches.”  

•Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii – first in javelin (138’ 5”).

•Hunter McKinney – fourth in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs; fifth in high jump.

•Noah Gulick – third place in the 400-meter dash.

HHS senior Noah Gulick runs in the 400 meter dash at last week’s Salem Invitational.

•Davontae Mister – fifth in the 3,200-meter run.

•Harold Lassiter – sixth in javelin, eighth in discus.

•Jordan Arthur – seventh in both the 110-meter hurdles and long jump.

•Zander Scholz – seventh in the 800.

•Riley Talbott – seventh in the 3,200.

•4×100 relay – third (Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii, Harold Lassiter, Zander Scholz and Noah Gulick).

•4×200 relay – third (Harold Lassiter, Zander Scholz, Noah Gulick, PJ Mister).

•4×400 second (Hunter McKinney, Noah Gulick, PJ Mister, Nathan Garnica).

•4×800 relay – third (Alex Zamarron, Zack Sawyer, Alexander Bryson, Davontae Mister).


•Olivia Crites – first place in the 100-meter hurdles (19.19) and second in the 300 hurdles.

•Makenzi Arthur – second in javelin and fifth in both the 400-meter dash and discus.

•Allie Benoist – third in the 3,200-meter run; seventh in the 800.

•Addison Cook – third in shot put.

•Summer Bittle – fourth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 800.

•Kaitlynne Garnica – fifth in shot put.

•Kristen Ely – seventh in the 1,600.

•Morgan McKinney – fifth in javelin. 

•Miah Bressie – seventh in javelin.

•4×100 relay – third (Hannah Kinworthy, Morgan McKinney, Sarah Purcell, Jordyn Lay).

•4×200 relay – second (Hannah Kinworthy, Morgan McKinney, Sarah Purcell, Jordyn Lay).

•4×400 relay first (Makenzi Arthur, Morgan McKinney, Kristen Ely, Olivia Crites).

•4×800 relay – first (Allie Benoist, Summer Bittle, Miah Bressie, Kristen Ely).    

HHS freshman Kristen Ely runs a leg of the 4X800 relay at last week’s Salem Invitational. The Lady Tigers squad won the race.

“Our girls team isn’t very big, so we don’t actually compete in every event,” Tottingham said. “But they do a great job earning points where they can. We were battling for the team win with Mountain Grove for most of the day. They ended up pulling away from us late in the meet, but I’m still super-proud of the girls’ effort.”    


There were several bigger schools there,” Tottingham said, “so I was pretty happy with the results.” 


Patrick Mister – fourth place in long jump.

Harold Lassiter  – sixth in javelin.

•4x800m relay – eighth.

•Nathan Garnica –  second in 100 meter dash. 

“This was a very good group of sprinters and Nate ran an amazing race,” Tottingham said. 

•4x200m relay – fourth (Hunter McKinney, Noah Gulick, PJ Mister, Nate Garnica).

•Noah Gulick – sixth in the 400.

•4x400m relay – fourth (Hunter McKinney, Noah Gulick, PJ Mister, Nate Garnica).


•Olivia Crites – sixth in the 300-meter hurdles and seventh in both high jump and 100-meter hurdles.

•Makenzi Arthur – first place in javelin with a new personal record of 35.30 meters. She threw 5 meters farther than second place.

•4×800 relay – fifth.

•4×200 relay – seventh (Hannah Kinworthy, Kristen Ely, Morgan McKinney, and Makenzi Arthur).

•Kristen Ely – sixth in the 800. 

“Kristen was the highest finishing underclassman in the event and ran a great race start to finish,” Tottingham said. 

•4×400 relay – fifth (Olivia Crites, Kristen Ely, Morgan McKinney, Makenzi Arthur).

Athletes in the 2022 Houston High School track and field program. Front row, from left: Jordyn Lay, Morgan McKinney, Olivia Crites, Makenzi Arthur, Sarah Purcell, Miah Bressie, Kristen Ely and Summer Bittle. Middle row: Nick Washko, Dmitrii Zveniatckovskii, Nathan Garnica, Hunter McKinney, Patrick Mister, Harold Lassiter, Layne Seago, Zander Scholz, Nicholas Cope and Riley Talbott. Back row: Noah Gulick, Ezekiel Grange, Bryson Alexander, Jordan Arthur, Alex Zamarron, Davontae Mister, Maleki Morgan, Brady Brookshire, Zack Sawyer and Devin Shelton. Not pictured: Kaitlynne Garnica, Garrett Bieller, Austin Goetz, Trenton Shelton and Gage Walker. JOE WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

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