Chieftains battle for third place at Gardner Invitational
Though injuries continue to plague the Tonganoxie High School boys track team, it put up a strong fight Friday at the Gardner Invitational, finishing third in team points.
Louisburg won the meet with 118 points. Tonganoxie scored 76.
"I was real pleased with our effort," said Coach Phil Williams. "This was the toughest meet of the year. We're still fighting a few injuries and so forth, but our kids did well."
Jacob Sledd, who competes in the 1600- and 400-meter relays, tore his left hamstring during the 100-meter dash and he may be out for the rest of the year, Williams said.
"He couldn't even walk," Williams said. "We had to carry him and help him up and down the stairs. He was hurt pretty bad."
Karl Cleavenger and Jacob Hoffhines, who suffered from minor injuries the week before, have nearly recovered.
Illness has also dealt a blow to the team.
Kyle Norris, one of the team's top distance runners, has been kept from top form by sickness.
"He had been feeling bad all week," Williams said. " He wasn't able to run much at all."
Despite the injuries and illness, Williams said he was optimistic about the future.
"I hate to keep making excuses," Williams said, "but I really think we'll get better here in the next couple weeks as soon as everybody gets healed up."
At Friday's meet, the Chieftains faced league opponent Mill Valley for the first time this season.
Tonganoxie had competed against and beaten every other team in the Kaw Valley League this year, but the depleted team couldn't handle Mill Valley on Friday.
The Jags beat the Chieftains by 25 points.
"It's going to be a good contest in league between us and Mill Valley," Williams said, "and maybe Lansing will sneak up there and be close, too.
Williams has reason to be optimistic, as several Chieftains turned in top performances at Gardner.
Joey Holek won the long jump, going 21 feet, 3 inches, which set a new meet record. Tonganoxie's school record is 21 feet, 71/2 inches.
Tonganoxie's pole vaulters also continued their strong seasons, with Sheldon Trieb and Dustin Schultz both setting season bests of 12 feet, 6 inches.
Trieb and Shultz finished in third and fourth behind two Louisburg vaulters who cleared 14 feet.
Cleavenger, who is still adjusting to a bigger pole, cleared 11 feet, 6 inches.
"He was injured a week or so ago, but I think he's okay now," Williams said. "It takes more force, different timing."
Cleavenger cleared 11 feet, 6 inches, which would earn him a medal at most meets.
Matt Medeira was another strong performer for the Chieftains. He ran 53.20 in the 400 meters, which was more than a second faster than he's run all season.
Williams said he was impressed by Roger Robinson's performance in the shot put. He took second place with a throw of more than 45 feet.