Jaguars hinder Chieftains’ shot at gold
Girls take third; boys secure second
The Mill Valley Jaguars stole the show Thursday in Tonganoxie, taking home Kaw Valley League championships on both the girls and the boys sides.
The Chieftains performed strongly at the meet, though, with the girls taking third and the boys finishing runners up.
The girls team finished with 73 points, 20 points behind second-place Perry-Lecompton.
The Chieftains had already beaten the Kaws twice this season, but the dominating Jaguars from Mill Valley performed particularly well in Tonganoxie's big-point events, which sucked away points that the Chieftains usually count on.
The Chieftains earned no golds at the meet.
"We performed fairly well," said Coach Bill Shaw. "But Mill Valley was strong where we were strong they got several key wins."
In fact, Mill Valley earned 10 of them, which is why the team won the league championship by more than 70 points.
Although Tonganoxie fell short of league gold this year, Shaw said he's sure all that glitters is not gold.
In fact, silver medals glitter almost as brightly especially if a person wins three of them.
Aimee Eisman, one of the top hurdlers in the league last year and this year, did just that.
Eisman took second in the triple jump and the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, but she was close to gold in all three.
She finished 4 1/2 inches out of first in the triple jump, 0.8 of a second back in the 100-meter hurdles and one second back in the 300-meter hurdles.
Katie Jeannin earned the Chieftains' only other top-two finish, taking second in the 400 meters 0.4 of a second out of first.
Other top performers for the Chieftains were Erin Seymour, who took third in the 1,600; Erin O'Brien, who took fourth in the pole vault and discus; Kelly Breuer, who took fourth in the javelin; and Jennifer Reischman, who took fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.
But finishing third best in the league means the Chieftains still beat six other schools, and that's not bad, Shaw said.
"We were pleasantly surprised," Shaw said. "This year most thought we'd be mediocre at best."
The Chieftains proved that wasn't true early in the season, winning its first two meets.
He said he expected his team to make a strong showing at Thursday's Class 4A Regional Track Meet in Tonganoxie.
The Tonganoxie High School boys track team is league runner-up.
It was a battle to the end, but the team finished 13 points behind champion Mill Valley, despite posting several strong or season-best performances.
No other team even came close to the Jaguars. Third-place Lansing finished a distant 37 points back.
The meet was a battle between the Chieftains and the Jaguars from the start, and the two teams combined for 46 percent of the 558 points awarded at the meet. All nine league schools participated in the meet.
Either a Mill Valley or a Tonganoxie athlete took first in eight of the 18 events.
The two schools were represented in the top three in 15 of the events. In two of the events, the shot put and the 800-meter run, the two teams claimed all three podium positions.
At the end of the field event stage of the meet, the Chieftains had taken the early advantage. They took eight top-three places, compared to Mill Valley's four.
Joey Holek took the silver in the long jump and Aaron Knipp took third in the discus, but the Chieftains dominated in the pole vault, shot put and javelin events as they have all season.
Tonganoxie's Dustin Shultz and Karl Cleavinger took first and third, respectively, in the pole vault.
Tony Miller took first in the shot put. Kent Clubine took third. Miller also took second in the javelin. He was followed by his brother Andrew, who took third.
Although Tonganoxie had the advantage through the field events, Mill Valley proved too tough for the Chieftains on the track, and it won league championships in the 110-meter hurdles, and in the 800-, 1,600- and the 3,200-meter runs.
In the 800, Chieftain runners Kyle Norris and Matt Needham both broke 2:10, but the winning Mill Valley runner broke 2:09. Norris and Needham had to settle for second and third.
Norris and Needham, along with Tony Aligo and Jacob Hoffhines, did win a gold medal at the meet as part of the 4x800-meter relay team.
The team beat second-place Santa Fe Trail by six seconds and completed the two miles in 8:36.81.
The Tonganoxie Invitational was two weeks ago. The Kaw Valley track meet was last week. And for the third week in a row, there will be a high school track meet in Tonganoxie.
This Friday, 16 teams will gather in Tonganoxie for the Class 4A Regional Track Meet.
Although Coach Phil Williams has to get facilities ready for a meet for the third straight week, he said he didn't mind.
The league meet rotates school to school each year, but the regional meet doesn't.
He said that since Tonganoxie was such a good host for the regional track meet last year, it had been selected to run it again this year.
"They thought we did a good job last year, and we said well we'll do it again. And they said OK," Williams said.
"The stands were full and we had a lot of people standing along the fences. It was a beautiful day."
This is the most important meet of the year for all of the competing athletes. They either finish in the top three places in their events or their seasons are over.
The 16 schools that will be attending the meet are: Baldwin, Basehor-Linwood, Santa Fe Trail, Eudora, De Soto, Piper, Sumner Academy, Bishop Ward, Lansing, Louisburg, Ottawa, Osawatomie, Perry-Lecompton, Mill Valley, Spring Hill and Tonganoxie.
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