Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Norris snags gold medal at national juco track meet

March 30, 2005

Kyle Norris couldn't quite attain a gold medal at the State Track and Field Championships in Wichita when he ran for Tonganoxie High.

He now has a gold medal at the collegiate level.

Norris, a 2003 THS graduate, was part of the Butler County Community College medley relay team that won this year's National Junior College Athletic Association race. The national championships were held March 5 in Lantz Fieldhouse on the Eastern Illinois University campus in Charleston, Ill.

A medley relay, which strictly is an indoor season event, consists of four runners combining to run a 1,200, 400, 800 and 3,200-meter intervals -- in that order.

Norris ran the first leg of the event.

"My coach told me to run 3:08 and that should do it," Norris "I ended up running a 3:06."

Norris set the tone for the Grizzlies. Ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA throughout the season, Butler County received a challenge. Rend Lake, an Illinois community college, actually led Butler County through some of the race.

That changed in the final push.

"Rend Lake put together what they could to try to beat us," Norris said. "We had a PR (personal record) that beat them."

Butler County finished the race with a time of about 10 minutes, 10 seconds.

Norris also competed in the 1,000 meters for the Grizzlies. He finished in sixth in that event, good enough for a medal and status as all-American.

Ironically, the former Chieftain cross country and track standout actually ran a better 1,000 meter time in his medley than he did in the individual race.

"I was disappointed but I was happy to win the national championship," Norris said.

Another Kansas school also shined at the meet. The Barton County men won their eighth consecutive national indoor team title. Barton County scored 108, just nudging out Rend Lake, which scored 107.5. If Norris and the rest of the Butler medley team wouldn't have won the medley against Rend Lake, RLCC likely would have won the team title. Butler County, meanwhile, wasn't far behind in fourth place.

Although Barton County has put together a streak of national team titles, Butler County hasn't been too far behind.

"We were pretty good last year, but this year we have more people who are apt to win the races so we have more chances to win," Norris said.

The indoor season started in mid-December. Norris competed at Kansas State, Emporia State and Oklahoma State.

During the middle of the season, Norris had the opportunity to run at Arkansas, arguably one of the top collegiate programs in the nation.

Butler County placed fifth in their medley relay. Arkansas, which Norris said was the No. 1 team in the world, won the race.

"We got to see all the world-class runners," Norris said. "It's inspirational."

Norris isn't satisfied with finishing his career at Butler. He's been looking at four-year colleges, including Pittsburg State, Wichita State, Texas-San Antonio and a California school.

Norris said that indoor meet in Fayetteville, Ark., in the middle of Razorback country pushed him to work even harder toward that goal of competing after he finishes at Butler County.

"A lot of motivation kicked in at Arkansas," Norris said. "I don't like to get beat. I want to be the best I can be."

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