RICK GRAEFE / JOURNAL Amos Bartelsmeyer of MICDSwon the 800 and 1600 meter runs at the Class 3, Sectional 2 track meet held at MICDS Saturday.

Rick Graefe

If you blinked, you missed it: Amos Bartelsmeyer opened the Class 3 Sectional 2 track and field meet at MICDS with a virtuoso performance in the 3,200 meter relay. The anchor leg for the Rams, Bartelsmeyer was handed the baton (by his freshman brother, Tilman) in third place and well behind first-place Clayton. Bartelsmeyer could have easily cruised around the track, qualified for this weekend’s state meet (top four sectional finishers advance) and saved his legs for his individual events (the open 800 and 1,600) on a day that felt more like July than May. It could have been so easy.

But Bartelsmeyer doesn’t like easy. He likes to win. So the 5-foot-11, 135-pound junior opened up the throttle in an effort to chase down Clayton’s Matt Millett who was, as they were nearing the end of the last lap, a full five seconds ahead. “I don’t like to settle for second. That wouldn’t be fair to the other legs on my team,” Bartelsmeyer says. “I just thought about trying to catch him.”

If the race had been two steps shorter, Bartelsmeyer wouldn’t have caught Millett. But he did. The 17-year-old junior crossed the finish line and gave the MICDS 4x800 team a time of 8 minutes and 3.92 seconds. Clayton finished in 8:03.95. “It was really satisfying to see MICDS with the No. 1 next to it (on the results board),” Bartelsmeyer says. “Maybe last year I’d have had a little less confidence. When I got the handoff, I never thought about not catching him.”

Confidence is something that Bartelsmeyer, 17, should have oozing from his every pore. After opening the meet with his thrilling victory and turning in the lightning-quick split of 1:51, he would go on to win the 800 and 1,600 races to advance to the state championships. He medaled in both the 800 and 1,600 with third-place finishes. MICDS’s 3,200 relay team, which Bartelsmeyer was a part of, took second.

His medal collection should only grow if all goes well at state. This is the end of Bartelsmeyer’s first year of complete dedication to running. A soccer player since he learned how to walk, he gave up his spot on the varsity team this fall to focus on running. He spent the summer putting in miles to be in the best shape for his first season on the cross country team. Running cross country for the first time in his life, Bartelsmeyer finished third at the state championships.

Combine those skills with his work ethic and his ever-growing understanding of the sport, the sky is the limit for Bartelsmeyer. “He’s a student of the sport,” MICDS coach Jim Lohr says. “He’s such a wonderful kid. He’s so humble and unassuming.”

Bartelsmeyer is quickly developing a tactical understanding of racing. While it might look like a bunch of guys running in a circle, there is all kinds of strategy that goes into the race. Whether it’s the pace of the race, the position or when to break away from the pack, a top-flight runner has to be able to decipher the cues and clues of every race. “My conscience understanding of race tactics have improved,” he says. “I’ve been an instinctual racer.”

His times continue to shine a light on his talents. Bartelsmeyer has broken school records this spring in the 800, 1,600 and the 400. His time of 49.85 in the 400 speaks to his natural speed, which is critical for college coaches chasing top-level talent.

As he heads into the state championships this weekend in Jefferson City, Bartelsmeyer is primed to put his talents on display for all to see. Just don’t blink. You won’t want to miss it.