Expectations high again for THS track
It might be a tall order for Tonganoxie to duplicate last year's girls track season.
The Chieftains' set a new record in the 4x800 (Katie Jeannin, Madison Weller, Laura Jeannin and Heather Helm) with a sixth-place finish at state, and Heather Helm broke the 300-meter hurdles record in the regular season.
The team also took second in the league meet at Santa Fe Trail.
Then again, this year could be as strong as last season.
THS lost Keri Walker, Erin O'Brien, Alicia Stauch and Erin Seymour to graduation, but only Seymour advanced to state.
The record-breaking relay team is made of two juniors and two sophomores, while senior Jennifer Reischman also returns as a state qualifier in the high hurdles.
"I don't know that we can be as strong as last year, but I think we have the potential," coach Bill Shaw said.
The hurdles will be the team's strong point.
Along with Helm and Reischman, Rachel Weston will be back.
Laura Jeannin plans to do both the mile and two-mile, which should complement two-miler Elizabeth Smith.
Katie Jeannin will be back in the 800, while Sarah Bradley and Heather Deaver should be the team's top shot put and discus throwers. Kelly Breuer should lead the Chieftains in javelin and pole vault, while Lansing transfer Kylie Ritchey could contribute in long jump and triple jump, traditionally weaker events for THS, Shaw said.
The girls will begin their season Tuesday in the Lansing Invitational.
Tonganoxie won its first league crown in five years last season.
Chieftain coach Phil Williams said this year's team quite possibly could be even better.
"On paper we should have one of our better teams in years," Williams said.
Dustin Schultz was last year's lone senior to advance to state in Wichita.
Alan Davis and Nathan Bailey also contributed points, but neither made state.
Tonganoxie's biggest hope at state likely will come from current senior Kyle Norris. A major performance last season gave Tonganoxie its only team points as Norris took third in the 800. With Baldwin's top runners Eric Black and Matt Noonan lost from last year, Norris now becomes the frontrunner heading into this season.
Jacob Walker and Joe Calovich return with state experience in the triple jump, while Calovich and Shane Howard return for the high jump.
Matt Madeira was a state qualifier in the 400 last season, while Clayton McDaniel and Andrew Miller should be the team's top throwers.
"We have experience in most events except the 100 meters," Williams said. "I don't know what we're going to do about that."
The longtime Tonganoxie coach will have to decide in about a week.
The Chieftains open the season Tuesday at the Lansing Invitational.