Boys track team practicing
The sport looks deceptively simple.
The equipment is minimal a black, oval track, 400 meters long with six lanes painted in white, a couple of runways with sand pits, an open field for throwing events, and some giant red mats for jumping.
The contests are basic running, jumping and throwing.
Track, however, has all the thrills, suspense, surprise and excitement of more popular team sports.
Phil Williams, in his sixth year as the head coach of the Tonganoxie boys track team, has 48 athletes practicing on the team.
He'll find out Friday at Baldwin whether his athletes can compete in contests that test the strengths of the human body.
"We just don't get a lot of accurate results in practice," Williams said.
His best returners include Jacob Hoffhines, a junior who runs the 400 meters and 800 meters. Seniors Andy Snapp and Jordan Smith are also strong competitors in the 800 meters.
The three runners were on last year's 4 by 800 meter relay team that qualified for state.
In field events, senior Tyler Wise and sophomore Dustin Schultz return as state qualifiers in the pole vault.
Among the newcomers, Williams said he expects Kyle Norris, a freshman, to compete in middle distances.
Juniors Scott Breuer and Joey Holek should add some field event punch to the team in the long and triple jumps. Breuer also will high jump.
Two juniors could be the team's top throwers. Bryan Breshears throws the shot put. Tony Miller throws the javelin.
Freshman Andrew Miller might add some depth in the throwing events.
More than 10 teams will be at the Baldwin meet, providing a tough test for the Chieftains. Tonganoxie finished second in the Kaw Valley League last season.
Williams said he hoped this year's team would be one of the top two or three teams in the league. He said Perry-Lecompton, with its strong core of sprinters, is the favorite to win the league this year.
Meets generally begin at 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. with field events and preliminaries, if necessary, in the sprints and hurdles.
As the field events wind down, the finals for the various running events begin, interspersed with longer distance races and relays. The day usually culminates with one of the exciting relays such as the 4 by 100 meter relay or the 4 by 400 meter relay.
Team scores are determined by points awarded to each participant who places.