Houston High School’s track and field teams had fine outings on Tuesday of last week at the 16-team at the Salem Invitational. 

Especially the girls, as the Lady Tigers topped the team standings with 149 points, while the HHS boys finished third.

Houston athletes turned in several top-3 performances at the big meet.   


•Olivia Crites: 1st High Jump, 1st 300m Hurdles, 1st 100m Hurdles, 3rd Long Jump.

•Kayla Wagner: 1st 400m Dash, 1st Triple Jump, 2nd 200m Dash, 3rd High Jump.

•Makenzi Arthur: 2nd Javelin.

•Kristen Ely: 3rd 3200m Run.

•4x800m Relay: 1st (Kristen Ely, Miah Bressie, Korina Gutknecht, Allie Benoist).

•4x200m Relay: 2nd (Kynlee Weaver, Honey Hickman, Elysia Graciano, Carli Cummins-Drake).

•4x100m Relay: 3rd (Kynlee Weaver, Honey Hickman, Elysia Graciano, Carli Cummins-Drake).

Also noteworthy was Loran Drake placing fourth in the pole vault. Her height of 7-feet tied the school record set in 2016.


•Harold Lassiter: 2nd Shot Put, 2nd Discus.

•Brady Brookshire: 3rd Javelin.

The Lady Tigers’ meet victory was the first in head coach Mike Tottingham’s five-year tenure at the helm of HHS track.

“I would like to congratulate the girls on being first overall in the team standings,” Tottingham said. “They all did a great job.”

Crites’ winning high jump leap of 5-feet-1-inch tied her school record, and her winning time of 52.08 in the 300 hurdles was close to the school record. 

Sand flies as HHS freshman Gavyn Daily lands in the pit during long jump competition at last week’s Salem Invitational.

“She has had a great start this season and I look forward to watching how she finishes a very impressive athletic career for Houston,” Tottingham said.

Tottingham expects Wagner – who’s only a freshman – to threaten school records in both the 400 and triple jump this season.

“I knew she was going to be a good athlete for us,” he said, “but I would never have dreamed she would be this good this fast.”

The HHS boys squad consists almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores. 

“Finishing third overall is pretty impressive,” Tottingham said.

Lassiter’s shot put effort of 46-feet put him in an elite group of throwers to wear an HHS uniform.

“He threw an absolute monster, which is probably the best throw for a Houston athlete in the last 20 years,” Tottingham said. 


The two HHS squads were back in action last Thursday at the 28-team Zizzer Relays at West Plains.

“It was definitely what they sometimes refer to as a ‘deep water meet,’” Tottingham said, “where smaller schools come out of the shallow end and do some swimming with the big fish. I like to go to a couple of meets like this every year to challenge our athletes and hopefully get a bunch of personal records for our troubles and bruised egos. 

“This year the boys and girls set 25 PRs, so I’m extremely proud of their effort.”  


•Olivia Crites: 5th 300m Hurdles, 6th High Jump, 6th Long Jump. Crites set a school record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 51.36, beating the previous mark set in 2013. 

•Makenzi Arthur: 3rd Javelin.

•Kayla Wagner: 4th High Jump, 5th 400m Dash. Wagner was just a couple of tenths away from setting a new school record in the 400.

“Hopefully she can reach that goal soon,” Tottingham said. 

•Kristen Ely: 6th 800m Run.

This week, the HHS track teams compete Tuesday at the Osage Invitational and Friday at the Waynesville Invitational.

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