Aiming for new heights
THS track completes busy, successful week
Tonganoxie High School's track team was busy last week.
It competed in two meets in two days, and the boys and girls combined to bring home three team golds and one team silver.
In Tonganoxie's first action of the week, a Thursday make-up meet at Lansing, both the girls and the boys teams edged Lansing to bring home two first-place team medals.
The Chieftains then turned around and traveled to Eudora, where they nearly did the same. In fact, the girls team won the six-team invitational 17 points ahead of second-place Eudora.
The boys team, depleted by fatigue from the Lansing meet, had to settle for silver while two of its top runners sat the meet out.
"I do think all the kids were pretty tired after Lansing," said Coach Phil Williams. "We had a couple boys that didn't even compete."
Middle distance runner Jacob Hoffhines was one of those two. The other, Kyle Norris, did run the mile at Eudora, but his time was 20 seconds off his early season pace.
Although both teams were a bit worn out by Friday, both teams still turned in solid performances at Eudora.
The Lady Chieftains hit the opposition from all fronts with a balanced attack to take their second team gold in as many days at Eudora.
"We have a lot of people who can place in a lot of different events," Coach Bill Shaw said. "They're a pretty unselfish group of kids."
But several girls performed at champion levels. After winning double gold in the 1,600 and 800 meters Thursday at Lansing, Erin Seymour poured it on at Eudora, where she won her second gold in a row in the 1,600 and took third in the 800.
"Erin Seymour is really coming around as a distance runner," Shaw said. "She's had a really outstanding early season."
Another girl who is having a strong early season for the Chieftains is Erin O'Brien. At Lansing she took first in the discus and first in the pole vault. She also earned a silver medal in the shot put.
After expending a huge amount of energy to earn three medals at Lansing, she still had enough left to pick up second-place medals in the discus and pole vault, and she took sixth in the shot put at Eudora.
Two other girls have combined to help Tonganoxie dominate the hurdles this season.
Aimee Eisman and Jennifer Rieschman usually can be found on the medal podium of either hurdle event.
Last week the two combined to win two golds, two silvers and two bronzes in hurdle events.
At Lansing, Rieschman took home the gold in the intermediate hurdles and second in the high hurdles. She was narrowly edged by Eisman, who won the gold.
At Eudora, Reischman took third in the highs and fifth in the intermediates. Eisman took second in the highs and third in the intermediates.
Kelly Breuer and Brittany Jerome also are regularly in the top six in both hurdle events.
"We are fortunate to have four pretty good hurdlers," Shaw said.
The girls team has gotten first place in each of its first three meets. Shaw said he was pleased with his team's early season performances, but he also warned that things are about to get tougher.
"It's been a great way to start the year, but we've got two pretty tough meets coming up," Shaw said.
The Cardinal Relays Friday at Eudora will be the biggest meet the team has been to so far, and Shaw said that several of the 12 teams at the meet are strong schools that will be hard to beat.
He said that the team's April 27 meet at Gardner-Edgerton should feature some stiff competition.
"But I think the kids will step up to the challenge," Shaw said. "I'm real excited about it."
Though the boys team ended up missing gold by 32 points at Eudora on Friday, Tonganoxie's field event unit continued its early season dominance, with 17 of the team's 30 medals coming before any runner had set foot on the track for finals.
"So far this year, the field events have gotten half, or more than half, of our points," Williams said.
Thursday at Lansing, Tonganoxie dominated the field events, including a first-second-third finish in the pole vault and a first-second finish by Tony and Andrew Miller in the Javelin.
And the field events continued that domination Friday at Eudora, earning at least one medal in each of the seven field events.
The boys captured three medals in the shot put, including a second-place finish by Tony Miller. Miller also took second in the discus and again earned a gold in the javelin with a toss of 155 feet, nine inches.
Brother Andrew took third in the javelin with a throw of 147 feet, 6 inches.
Williams said that having two brothers in the same event helps them push each other, but that the two spend more time helping each other than they do trying to beat the other.
"They get along pretty well, so there's no a huge amount of competition between them," Williams said.
The two have combined for three firsts, a second and two thirds in the javelin so far this year.
The pole vault continued to be a strong event for the Chieftains at Eudora: They placed four vaulters in the top six. Karl Cleavinger led the squad, taking second place.
Tonganoxie also earned three golds in the running events.
Shane Howard won the 110-meter hurdles, running the distance in 16.67 seconds. Tommy Powell took first in the 3,200 meters, with a time of 11 minutes, 14 seconds. Ben Brest came in third with a time of 11 minutes 46 seconds.
Rodney Lobb won the 100 meters with a time of 11:8 seconds. Joey Holek took fourth with a time of 11:95 seconds.
Holek also took fifth in the triple jump and second in the long jump.