July 27, 2019

Photo by Liz Parke

By Fred Liggett

Following a high school athletic career that was filled with championships thanks to many record breaking feats and honors like the Missouri Gatorade Track Male Athlete of the Year, Lee’s Summit native KC Lightfoot entered college life last fall with plenty to be happy about. The transition to being a freshman at a university out of state and competing in the rugged Big 12 conference did little to slow down this 2018 Lee’s Summit High grad.

Photo by Liz Parke

Lightfoot had a banner freshman campaign at Baylor University where he received All-America honors in the pole vault at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships. Kellen Coleman, Associate Director for Communications at Baylor, “Enjoyed watching” KC’s efforts at those two meets where he finished fourth at the outdoor championships and eighth at the indoor event. Lightfoot continued to pile on the awards thanks to completing a Big 12 double by winning the pole vault title at both the indoor and outdoor meets. KC heard his name again when he set the indoor school record at Baylor with a jump of 18-7.5 which surpassed Bill Payne’s mark that stood for 28 years.

Hearing of Lightfoot’s success on the college level is no surprise to Lee’s Summit track and field coach Craig Heeney. Heeney says, “It’s pretty neat to win the Big 12 and break Baylor records.” As Lightfoot continues his college track career Heeney states he is “wishing for and expecting the best for him.” Coach Heeney isn’t the only one back home here in Lee’s Summit cheering KC on and admiring his many accomplishments. A sister, Carli DiMarco, says she “is proud of KC and happy to see him exceed expectations.” DiMarco does what she can to help him despite living so far away from Baylor based in Waco, Texas. Evidence of this was when Carli “helped him move into Baylor his freshman year.” DiMarco thanks technology for helping stay in touch with KC throughout the school year. Carli has been known to face time KC during pre-meet hours where the two “keep things light with a lot of humor.” Carli isn’t the only family member staying busy supporting KC as his mom and stepdad travel as much as they can to see him perform. Sometimes that travel means driving 10-15 hours. DiMarco says the family “makes it work” and feels “lucky that he vaults in the area” at different times.

An example of KC competing close to home takes place this weekend where he will be joined by five former Bears track athletes to compete at the 2019 USATF Outdoor championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The four day event will be held at Drake Stadium at Drake University. Lightfoot will compete in the pole vault competition set for 2 p.m. central time on Saturday, July 27. To find out how KC finished his family and friends are invited to log onto http://www.usatf.org/events.

No matter where Lightfoot finishes this weekend one can bet KC will continue to win meets and break school records as he enters his sophomore season in college. As every meet result is posted and each record is broken his family and former coach will continue to celebrate right here in Lee’s Summit.