THS boys squeak past Ottawa, Eudora for EHS invite victory
Full team equals invitational title.
With seniors Billy Baska and Travis Andrews competing Friday at the Eudora Invitational, the Tonganoxie boys track team was in business on a sunny but windy afternoon.
The Chieftains had just two first-place finishes, but Tonganoxie also accumulated six second-place medals on its way to a team title. THS scored 103 points and barely finished ahead of Ottawa, which tallied 98.5. Eudora finished third with 87.5.
Baska, who was hampered by injury last week, placed in two events -- second in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump.
And Andrews, who missed the Bobcat Relays on April 8 to attend his brother's graduation, placed second in the pole vault.
"It was the first time we've been full-strength or almost full-strength," Tonganoxie coach Phil Williams said. "Everyone's starting to come around too. We scored a little bit more in some events, so that was good."
Levi Huseman won Tonganoxie's lone individual medal. The junior won the 800 with a 2:06.9 time. The 4x800 relay also placed first. The team finished in 9:00.8.
Nick Stein continued his shot put success with a silver medal. Stein's best throw was 47-3.
Shane Howard, meanwhile, placed three times. He finished second in both the high jump (5-0) and the high hurdles (15.6). He also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.8).
Tonganoxie again on Friday will be in Eudora, although this time the competition will be different for the Eudora Relays.
Williams said last week's meet had some good individual results, but powerhouses such as Baldwin and Sabetha should pose a tougher task team-wise.
"This meet's been getting tougher every year," Williams said.
Tonganoxie track's most notable tradition in girls events has been the hurdles.
The Chieftains now are making noise in the 3,200 meters.
Elisa Sibinski and Elizabeth Smith finished second and third Friday at the Eudora Invitational, marking the third time in as many meets that the teammates both have placed.
The pair finished third and fourth respectively at both the Lansing Invitational and Bobcat Relays.
"The 3,200 meters has been very competitive all year," THS coach Bill Shaw said.
The newcomer Sibinski, a transfer from Wisconsin, complements Smith, a senior on this year's squad.
"Elizabeth Smith has done nothing but get better during her four-year career," Shaw said. "She's made tremendous progress in the last four years."
After finishing first at Lansing and second at Basehor, Tonganoxie added a third-place finish to the mix after scoring 73.5 points Friday, just two behind Osawatomie.
Eudora ran away with its own meet, scoring 119. The Cardinals also won the Bobcat Relays.
Rachel Weston scored Tonganoxie's only gold medal with a 16.9-second time in the high hurdles. She also scored points with fifth-place finishes in the pole vault and the triple jump.
Jennifer Wagner also was a top contributor. She placed second in the high hurdles and sixth in the pole vault.
"Rachel Weston and Jennifer Wagner are emerging as two of the premiere hurdlers in the area," Shaw said. "I also think in the intermediate hurdles, Rachel still does very well, but Jennifer's really coming on."
Tonganoxie claimed 16 medals at Eudora -- one gold, four silver, three bronze, six fifth-place and two sixth-place medals.
Ali Pistora contributed to the medal count with a second-place finish in the high jump. She faced off against basketball rival Lauren Kracl from Eudora. Both jumpers finished with 4-10 heights.
"Ali Pistora in the high jump is close to going 5 foot, if not beyond," Shaw said.
The Chieftains will head back Friday to Eudora for the Cardinal Relays, but THS doesn't have a meet in between, a welcome rest for four athletes looking to avoid further injuries.
Katie Jeannin and Madison Weller didn't compete in Eudora as Jeannin still is having knee troubles and Weller is dealing with an inflamed Achilles' tendon. Laura Jeannin was ill Friday and sat out the 800, while Kylie Ritchey came back from an injury and placed in the pole vault.
"Hopefully Friday everyone will be healthy," Shaw said. "Katie and Madison, if possible, are going to run in one event and we'll take it from there."