Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pistora, Grizzle finish in top 5 at KU Relays

Tonganoxie teams also sweep Bobca Relays during action last week at Basehor-Linwood

April 25, 2007

— Ali Pistora had an unusual game plan for her first event Friday at the Kansas Relays.

During the three hours it took to complete the girls high school javelin, the Tonganoxie High senior paid zero attention -- not only to what her competitors were doing, but to her own results as well.

Call it the ignorance-is-bliss approach.

"I just really didn't know what was going on," Pistora said. "I can't do the math (converting meters into feet) and I never really look at the (scoreboard).

"I was just making sure each throw was a good one."

From a personal standpoint, the philosophy paid off. Pistora's best throw of 146 feet, 6 inches -- coming on her second toss of the preliminaries -- was better than any of her tosses at last year's Relays, when she finished third overall. In fact, it would have been good enough to take last year's gold medal away from Tonganoxie teammate Roxie Grizzle.

However, Pistora was forced to settle for silver this year when Clinton (Mo.) senior Hope Harris uncorked a throw of 150-4 on the next-to-last throw of the event, claiming the top spot on the medals stand.

Grizzle settled for fourth with a throw of 144-10, making it the third straight high-profile meet -- including last year's Class 4A state meet in Wichita -- that both Tonganoxie throwers found a home in the top five.

"They came out and competed really well," said Tonganoxie throws coach David St. Cyr. "We basically put in our whole approach for the first time today.

"We didn't really worry about the throws, since it's early in the season. Our goal today was to have six solid throws from a full approach of 125 feet. We hit that goal today."

Because of the inclement weather that plagued northeast Kansas in late March and the first two weeks of April, both Pistora and Grizzle were taking part in just their third meet of the 2007 season. So, while the final results were impressive, they know there are still plenty of kinks to work out during the next five weeks while making the run up to this year's state meet.

"Of course, there's a lot of room for improvement. You always have to keep growing over the season," Pistora said. "Maybe run a little faster, get a little stronger. I think that helps everybody out."

"All I'm trying for this year is to stay consistent. That's my goal for this year," added Grizzle, who has her own list of items to work on to make sure it happens. "Mostly my technique and keeping my arm back. That's the biggest thing -- and staying relaxed."

While Pistora and Grizzle were the only Tonganoxie athletes to place at this year's Relays, they weren't the only ones allowed to show their wares to the fans who visited Memorial Stadium this spring.

Grizzle's younger sister, sophomore Roni Grizzle, narrowly missed out on her own hardware in Friday's girls shot put, advancing to the finals and finishing ninth with a best effort of 39-11 1/2. Just three days before, at the Bobcat Relays, Roni broke the school record with a throw of 41-3 1/2.

Junior Tracie Hileman joined Pistora in Friday night's girls high jump, as both cleared 5-1. Hileman finished in a tie for 10th while Pistora tied for 15th, the difference coming in the number of attempts each needed to clear her final height.

Like Roni Grizzle, Hileman broke a school record at the Bobcat Relays. She earned a school record in the long jump with a distance of 16-5 3/4.

Also competing at the Relays was junior Christy Weller, who finished 26th in Friday night's girls 800 meters with a time of 2 minutes, 27.81 seconds, and senior Jennifer Wagner took 28th in Friday afternoon's girls 300 hurdles with a time of 50.97.

The shuttle hurdle relay team of Abby Eisman, Rachel Bogard, Hileman and Wagner made its mark as well. The squad finished fourth with a 1:08.56 time.

"It's an honor," THS girls coach Chris Weller said. "Not many 4A schools can have four outstanding hurdlers."

THS defeated a slew of 6A schools, including Lawrence High. Concordia, another 4A team, won the event with a 1:04.17 time.

No Tonganoxie boys competed in this year's Relays.

Next up for the Chieftains is Friday's meet at Gardner-Edgerton.

THS boys, girls sweep Bobcat Relays

The THS girls roared to first-place finish last week at the Bobcat Relays, scoring 207 points. Perry-Lecompton placed a distant second with 106.

The Tonganoxie boys also won the team title, scoring 159.5. Arch-rival Lansing placed second with 100.

Tonganoxie sent a split-squad on the girls side to Thursday's Cardinal Relays, while the boys sent a full squad.

For more on that meet, plus action from Friday's Gardner meet, see next week's edition of The Mirror.

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