Hurdling over the competition
Girls track wins Lansing Invitational, takes second at Bobcat Relays; boys second at Lansing
With 28 medals and eight events with multiple placings, Tonganoxie roared to a team title in its season-opening meet April 6 at the Lansing Invitational.
Led by six gold medals, the Chieftains mustered 190 points, which was 21 points ahead of second-place Lansing.
THS and Lansing scooped up most of the points.
Pleasant Ridge finished third with 86, Atchison scored 35, Piper tallied 20, Immaculata eight and Basehor-Linwood scored one.
Picking up gold medals were Jennifer Wagner (intermediate hurdles), Laura Jeannin (1,600), Madison Weller (800), Rebekah Mages (high jump) and the 4x800 and 4x400 teams.
Although she didn't score a gold medal, Rachel Weston led the team in points, taking second in the high hurdles, the intermediate hurdles and the pole vault and third in the high jump.
"Rachel Weston's been real consistent for us, just like last year," Tonganoxie coach Bill Shaw said.
At the Bobcat Relays, the Chieftains couldn't claim a first-place finish, but grabbed enough lower medals for a second-place finish behind Eudora.
"Once again we performed well because we're able to score in a lot of events," THS coach Bill Shaw said. "That's something a lot of teams can't do."
Top finishers at Basehor were Weston in the high hurdles and high jump, Wagner in the intermediate hurdles, Kelly Breuer in the javelin and Sarah Hartshorn in the discus. All these athletes placed second in their events.
"Sarah Hartshorn really has come on in the field event," Shaw said. "She won a medal for first time in her track career at Lansing and I think she threw extremely well in discus at Lansing."
Freshmen such as Rachel Bogard, Tana Lloyd and Wagner also provided points in the clutch for Tonganoxie, Shaw said.
The Chieftains are off until Friday, a blessing for a team that has a handful of injuries.
Katie Jeannin has been out because of a pulled muscle behind her knee. Madison Weller ran just one race at Basehor because of a strained Achilles' heel. Kylie Ritchey also has been sidelined because of a partially torn hamstring.
"There's three pretty key figures that have been sitting for us," Shaw said.
THS coach Phil Williams knew Lansing would be a heavy favorite at its own invitational April 6, but he wasn't sure where his team would land behind the Lions.
Tonganoxie finished the day nipping at Lansing's feet.
After losing plenty of point production to graduation, the Chieftains returned to the track this season just five points behind Lansing for second place. Lansing finished with 157 points.
Pleasant Ridge, meanwhile, placed third with 103.
"I felt fairly good," Williams said. "I wasn't surprised at taking second at Lansing. After Lansing, there were not a lot of teams there."
Shane Howard earned a gold medal in the 110 hurdles, while fellow seniors Billy Baska and Travis Andrews finished first in the long jump and pole vault respectively.
Andy Kolman, meanwhile, helped the Chieftains in distance running with a gold medal in the 3,200.
"Shane Howard's been our leading scorer by quite a ways," Williams said.
The senior also placed second in the high jump and the 300 meter hurdles.
Overall, Tonganoxie had 19 medals at Lansing.
"I thought we could be in the top three or four and so I thought that was good," Williams said. "This time of year you don't know what to expect from the other teams as well as your own."
At the Bobcat Relays on Thursday in Basehor, Tonganoxie finished third with 83 points. Eudora placed first with 101 and Sumner scored 100.
Howard led the team with first-place medals in the 110 and 300 hurdles. He also finished in a tie for second in the high jump. Also earning a gold medal was Matt Madeira in the 400.
In the field events, Kent Fleming placed third in the shot, as did Chris Clark in the javelin.
"I think our field events our coming around," Williams said. "I think we'll score some more."
The Chieftains were without pole vaulter Travis Andrews, who was at a brother's graduation. Baska was slated for the triple jump and 100 meters, but only competed in the long jump because he was nursing a hamstring.
"We're missing some points we should be getting when everybody's healthy and everybody's there," Williams said.
The Chieftains again will compete Friday at the Eudora Invitational.
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