Girls track opens Friday in Baldwin
Tonganoxie should have one of the top girls track teams in the Kaw Valley League.
Bill Shaw, who has coached the girls since a team was started in 1973, is confident he has a strong mix of new and returning athletes. The biggest challenge of practice so far, in fact, has been the weather.
"Unfortunately we've been indoors the last several days," Shaw said.
The biggest challenge in the league probably will come from DeSoto. DeSoto outscored Tonganoxie 35-0 in the triple and long jumps, probably winning the league meet right there last season, Shaw said.
"Of course our goal is always to win the league," he said.
The Chieftains have 28 girls out for practice right now.
Among the Chieftains' leaders will be two returning state placers, Arrika Reeder and Bryce Downey.
Reeder placed sixth at state in the 100 meters, and was on the state fifth-place 4 by 100 meter relay team. This season, she is practicing the 300 meter hurdles.
Downey placed third at state in the high jump and was on the 4 by 100 meter relay team.
Other runners who can score for the team include sophomore Aimee Eisman and freshman Laura Korb.
Eisman should compete at both the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles.
Korb will probably add some distance punch to the team. Korb finished fifth last fall at the state cross country meet.
Sophomore Andrea Korb adds some scoring potential in the field events. She set the school record in the pole vault and placed at the league meet in the javelin. Pole vault will be an official event at the league and state meets. Last season, it was an exhibition event at state.
Wendy Altman placed second in the league in the javelin.
"Our track kids are traditionally self-motivated and hard workers," Shaw said.
He said the team has looked good in practice. However, he and the other coaches will have a better idea where the team stands after the first meet of the season at Baldwin.
"We're still getting into shape," Shaw said.
He is pleased that Tonganoxie will be the host of regionals this year.
"That's a real incentive for us," Shaw said.
Not only does the regional give the team a home crowd, it also eliminates a long bus ride.
Shaw is the girls head coach and Phil Williams is the boys head coach. In practice and at meets, however, they and several other coaches share responsibility for individual events.
Shaw coaches the sprinters and hurdlers. Williams coaches the distance runners. Chris Weller works with the jumpers long jump, triple jump and high jump. Bill DeWitt coaches the pole vaulters. Matt Bond works with the throwers discus, shotput and javelin.