Pistora takes bronze; 4x800 boys finish fourth
Ali Pistora started in good shape in the Class 4A javelin throw Friday at the state track meet in Wichita.
Pistora's first throw measured 137 feet, 8 inches, a decent first mark, considering she broke her own school record a week before with a 145-1 throw at regionals.
That throw was the top regional throw in the state, but Pistora couldn't match it at state.
Her first throw was her best. And during her flight's second attempt, Labette County's Katelyne Penner erupted with a throw of 149-even.
Towanda-Circle's Kelsey Loop broke the 140 plateau with a 141-5 throw, but Penner eventually captured the gold medal.
Pistora, after taking fourth place as a freshman last year, finished third this season.
"I'm movin' up," Pistora said.
The sophomore was in third place entering finals and was optimistic she could once again set a personal best and overtake Penner.
After all, Pistora hadn't broken into her full approach when Penner launched her best throw. Pistora's early attempts came with a shorter approach, but that was with no wind. When finals started, a cross wind from the south developed, affecting many of the participants' throws.
"The second to last one I thought I had a good one," Pistora said.
The wind, however, caught Pistora's javelin and her throw came in at 127-7.
After taking her place at the medals stand for javelin, Pistora grabbed her warm-up clothes and headed to the high jump pit.
Pistora hurried to her next event, but there was plenty of waiting at high jump.
With a 5-2 height, Pistora again scored points for Tonganoxie. She placed fifth in the event after taking 12th a year ago. Pistora scored all of Tonganoxie's points at state with nine, placing the Chieftains 23rd as a team.
On the boys side, Tonganoxie's 4x800 team scored the Chieftains' only points in Wichita.
The team of Matt Chenoweth, Andy Kolman, John Davis and Levi Huseman finished with a time of 8 minutes, 15.34 seconds. Baldwin won the event with an 8:01.91 time. Last season, Tonganoxie's 4x800 team placed 12th at state with an 8:37.45 time. Kolman and Huseman also competed on that team.
The last time Tonganoxie placed in the 4x800 was 2003 when the Chieftain boys also finished fourth.
In other girls events, Jennifer Wagner barely missed out on a medal in the 300 hurdles. Wagner finished fifth in her heat with a 48.65 time. The sophomore was two-tenths of a second behind fourth place in her heat and actually had the eighth-best time overall, but the top four hurdlers in each heat advance.
Wagner also competed in the pole vault. She finished the day with an 8-0 height. Andale's Leah Eck won the event with a 10-6 vault.
Rachel Weston competed in her final state track meet Friday. The senior finished the event at 16.66 seconds in the prelims, but did not advance to the finals. Weston, who was in the top 10 all-time in scoring for the Tonganoxie girls, will continue her career next spring at Highland Community College.
Running in the 800, Christy Weller held the third-place spot through the first 500 meters, but the freshman ran out of gas in the final 300 and finished at 2:30.32, good for ninth place.
In other girls events, Amber Sanborn finished 15th in the long jump with a 15-1 jump and Sarah Hartshorn finished 11th with a 35-11.75 throw.
Travis Guthrie made his first appearance at state in the javelin, but the sophomore couldn't match his performance a week before at regionals. The sophomore had a 162-9 throw at regionals, but finished at state at 145-10. That put Guthrie in 15th place. Chanute's Austin Braman won the event with a 192-0 throw.
During the regular season, Guthrie usually threw on a grass runway, but at state, the field event had a rubberized runway.
"I hate the runway," Guthrie said. "When you plant (your feet), it springs you back up."
Tonganoxie's 4x400 relay team of Robert Kirch, Levi Huseman, Kaleb Lawrence and Travis Schultz also competed, but the squad didn't advance to finals. They finished at 3:37.03 in prelims.
Tonganoxie finished the state meet with four points in 32nd place.
Although the Tonganoxie boys didn't win a second consecutive Kaw Valley League title, the Chieftains finished in the top three in many of their meets this year.
"I thought we had a real good year," Lawrence said. "We achieved what we wanted to, I guess."
Although both Tonganoxie teams graduate several seniors, the Chieftains return plenty of youth -- a few of whom competed at the state meet.