Chieftain teams rely on relays
Miller, Norris earn state medals also
Apparently one blonde had a little more fun Saturday at the State Track and Field Championships in Wichita.
Tonganoxie High senior Andrew Miller donned the blonde for his Class 4A javelin competition.
Traditionally, Chieftain wrestlers dye their hair before heading to the state tournament each year, but Miller and another thrower were inspired to let a different hair color saturate their scalps.
"I think I like it better as a blonde anyway," Miller said.
Junior shot putter Nick Stein also dyed his hair for the occasion, which didn't seem to hinder his nor Miller's performances.
With first state appearances for both Chieftains, Miller took third in the javelin, while Stein missed the shot put finals by about five inches.
Miller, who came into state with the No. 2 throw, had to settle for a notch lower. After throwing a personal best 179-9 at regionals, Miller flung a 176 foot, 2-inch throw at the state meet.
"At state, if you don't man up to the spot, you ain't gonna get it," Miller said.
The senior did go out with a bronze finish, as did the Tonganoxie girls' 4x800 relay.
The Chieftains were as far back as eighth early in the race, but Tonganoxie climbed back into the front of the pack later in the event.
That first leg of the relay usually seems to be the most difficult. At state, 16 runners must jockey for position on the eight lane track, as Tonganoxie sophomore Laura Jeannin knows first-hand.
"I tried not to get boxed in," Jeannin said. I ended up running in the second lane."
After taking sixth at state a year ago, the team improved to third this season with a 10 minute, 5.15 second time. Last year's race was faster, as Tonganoxie broke the school record with a 9:59.93 time despite the lower finish.
The team could improve in placing next season again. No seniors were on this year's team of Laura Jeannin, Katie Jeannin, Tori King, Madison Weller and Heather Helm. Although Helm was lost earlier in the season because of a bad ankle sprain, she'll be back for next season.
The Tonganoxie boys 4x800 team made its way to the awards stand as well with a fourth-place finish. THS finished fourth with a time of 8:16.28, just under a second behind Mulvane (8:15.42). The team graduates seniors Kyle Norris, Jacob Walker and Tony Aligo, but returns Levi Huseman and alternate Corey Brest.
Although he didn't compete in the 800 after taking third in the event last season, he did manage a fourth-place finish in the 1,600 with a 4:30.85 time. Mill Valley standout Jay Matlack only finished in 10th with a 4:40.09 time.
In the only other distance event, Katie Jeannin finished in ninth place with a 2:30.26 time. She finished eighth at state last season.
Senior Jennifer Reischman, who medaled with a seventh-place finish in the 100 meter high hurdles last season, had a disappointing day Friday. Reischman couldn't advance out of the prelims, taking sixth in her heat.
Still, Reischman was upbeat Saturday about making state a second straight year.
"My times improved a lot from last year," she said. "It's been a good career, if you can call it that."
Reischman won't continue on in track at Kansas State, but she's not quite ready to end her competitive days. Reischman said she would like to join the K-State rowing team when she begins classes in Manhattan in the fall.
Other state competitors were Rebecca Mages and Mark O'Brien.
Mages, a junior, couldn't make the opening height in the high jump, while O'Brien was 15th in the pole vault with an 11-6 height. The senior cleared 12-6 a week before at regionals in Louisburg. Regional champ Zach Madden of Osawatomie finished second with a 14-6 height, compared to Chanute's Jacob Williams winning the event with a 14-9 height.
The boys team finished the meet in seventh with 24 points. The girls, meanwhile, tied for 29th with 6. KVL boys champion Lansing placed third with 37 behind Clay Center (45) and Scott City (40). Mill Valley, the league's three-time defending champion, was the top conference school at state on the girls side. The Jaguars placed ninth with 23. El Dorado claimed the state title with 57 points.