The Darwin Rold Invitational track meet started humbly, much like its namesake. And if the track coaches at the three Lee’s Summit high schools have their way, it will also have his longevity as well.
The first Darwin Rold Invitational took place April 18 at Lee’s Summit North, with seven varsity and junior varsity teams in attendance. The plan is to have each school play host and to eventually grow it into one of the bigger boys meets in the area.
And who better to name the meet after than Rold, who will retire soon after 24 years as the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s activities director?
“The three coaches wanted to put together a meet that would rotate among the schools, and we felt it was appropriate to name it after Darwin,” said Lee’s Summit North athletic director Mike McGurk. “He’s put a lot of time in and he’s always been an advocate for track and field, so they felt the best way to honor him was to name the meet after him.”
Rold said he was honored when the coaches approached him with the idea.
“They do such a great job of working with our kids,” Rold said. “It was really humbling to have my name put on it. Hopefully it will grow.”
Rold said the meet will replace a boys meet that Lee’s Summit High hosted the first weekend of May. Moving it to the third weekend in April puts it the same weekend as the Kansas Relays, but Rold said that shouldn’t be an issue because the Relays is only for the elite high school competitors.
“This gives the rest of the kids a chance to run that week,” Rold said. “And the way it works out, a team can be here on Friday and still compete at KU on Saturday.”
The first Darwin Rold Invitational team title went to Lee’s Summit West, which scored 128 points. Staley was second with 121.5 points, followed by Lee’s Summit (101.5) and Lee’s Summit North (89). Raytown, Liberty and Blue Springs South rounded out the field.
Avery Carter was a double winner for West with first-place finishes in the shot put and discus. The Titans went one-two in the shot with Evan Martin in second and had three of the top five finishers in the discus. The Titans also had firsts from Max Lyons in the 5,000 meters and their 3,200 relay team.
Lee’s Summit scored big in the pole vault with Brady Daniels and A.J. Cott finishing first and second. Both cleared 13-feet but Daniels had fewer misses. The Tigers’ Julian Moreno won the 400 and their 1,600 relay team was also victorious.
Lee’s Summit North won the 800 sprint and distance medley relays and also had the first-place high jumper in Jalen Ford.