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Boys' Track & Field Finish First at Missouri State Championships

The Upper School track & field team capped off a strong season with a remarkable showing at the Missouri State Championship Meet. The weekend was filled with expressions of endurance and strength, as well as notable joys and achievements. The boys’ team took first overall—the first boys’ team state-title win since 1990.

Issam Asinga receives a hug from his mother—Olympian and Principia alum Ngozi Asinga.

Issam Asinga, a junior at the time, won the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and broke the records for each during preliminaries. He ran the 100-meter dash in 10.41 seconds. In the 200-meter dash, he finished with a time of 21.25 seconds, breaking a 42-year-old state meet record.

The achievements were made even sweeter by the attendance of his mother—Olympian and Principia alum Ngozi Asinga. “It was her first time seeing me race,” Issam told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Special one for me, for sure.” As he reflected on the meet’s highlights, Issam named consistency and determination as two of the team’s most prominent qualities. Asinga is already looking forward to improving as an individual and a team next year. “I’m hoping that the younger underclassmen develop more and become key contributors next year.”

Other notable performances include Sam Omware’s second-place finish in the 800-meter race, and Rex Heath’s second-place finishes in the 1600m and 3200m. The boys’ relay teams for the 4x200-meter and 4x800-meter races also placed second, and the relay teams for the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter races placed third. Holding down the field events, Arphaxard Ouma completed a long jump of 6.17 meters for eighth place.

Coach Blair Lindsay notes that this year’s team is exceptionally well-rounded and capable of performing at a high level in sprinting, distance, and field events. In all activities, Coach Lindsay encourages winning the good and losing the bad. “We should be winning and losing every single day—every workout, every race, every meet,” he says. “We should be winning confidence, dominion, strength, and courage. We should be losing limitation, timidity, fear—that’s the perspective.”

The girls’ season culminated in impressive relays and an individual performance in the 800-meter race. The girls’ 4x100-meter, 4x200-meter, and 4x400-meter relays all made a showing at the state competition. The 4x200-meter relay placed fourth overall. In individual races, Lilly Dow finished seventh in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:25.12.

Underlying the accolades of the year is the spirit of support, which Heath notes is the team’s greatest strength: “[From] distance [events] to sprints, we all cheer and applaud each other, making it a really great team to be a part of—I’m super proud of us this year.”