Chieftains jumping over the competition
Basehor Entering the 2008 season, the Chieftains felt as though they were going to be good.
How good? It was hard to say, but the Tonganoxie High coaches thought this year's group had potential.
That potential jumped, sprinted and threw itself ahead of all the competition on Friday at the Bobcat Relays at Basehor-Linwood High when the Chieftains girls and boys teams both took home team titles.
Tonganoxie at Bobcat Relays
The Tonganoxie High boys and girls took home team titles at the Bobcat Relays at Basehor-Linwood High on Friday.
Impressively, Chieftains finished first in 12 events at the Bobcat Relays: (girls) Roni Grizzle won the discus and shot put events; Roxi Grizzle won the javelin; Christy Weller won the 800-meter dash; Katie Chenoweth, Weller, Andie Jeannin and Megan Puhr won the 4x400 relay; Tracie Hileman won the high jump, 100-meter hurdles and long jump; (boys) Gabe Belobrajdic won the javelin; Ian McClellan won the pole vault; Jeremy Carlisle won the 800-meter dash; and Bret Koch, Wesley Armstrong, Chris Jordan and Carlisle won the 4x400 relay.
The THS girls won hands-down, scoring 189 points to runner-up Sumner Academy's 90, and the boys edged second-place Bonner Springs in points, 131-127, which left their coach Phil Williams both happy and surprised.
"Bonner Springs is probably the favorite to win the Kaw Valley League championship this year," Williams opined. "To beat them by four (points), I was very excited about that."
The outright team victory on Friday for the boys followed up a tie with Lansing for first place at the Lansing Invitational earlier in the week. Williams said impressive performances by THS sprinters have helped the team to get off to a great start.
"Sprinters are scoring more than they have for probably 15 years," the veteran coach said, pointing to underclassmen D.J. Lindsay, Koch and Carlisle as key catalysts.
Everything seems to be going right for the Chieftains. Even McLellan, who had never pole vaulted before a few weeks ago, took home gold at the Bobcat Relays. Now, Williams said, the team has to stay confident without getting cocky.
"A big thing in any sport is the confidence, we can't get overconfident," the coach warned, adding that the team's goals should now include league and regional victories.
With its victory at Basehor-Linwood, the girls team also captured its second team title in as many tries. The Chieftains dominated at both events and girls coach Chris Weller couldn't help but marvel at the start.
"We're having an unbelievable season right now.
If you look at last year's stats versus this year about 70 percent of the team is having better marks and times," he noted.
The Chieftains are strong in all events and placed in every one at the Bobcat Relays. Whether it is relays, sprints, jumps or throwing, the girls have it covered.
"Roxi (Grizzle) broke the school record for the umpteenth time," Weller said of the senior's throw in the javelin.
On Friday the Grizzle sisters held a family party in the shot put. Junior Roni won the event and senior Roxi and freshman Domino finished second and third respectively.
"We figure if we could've got the little one that's in grade school to throw, somehow she would've taken fourth," Weller quipped.
Perhaps the most impressive Chieftains performance came from Hileman, who not only won three events but also accounted for 36 of her team's 189 total points.
"When you walk in to pick up your medals and your trophies and you see the results, some of these teams are scoring 20 points and I've got a student who's scoring almost 40 every track meet," Weller said of the senior.
Hileman said she was impressed with her team because of the effort the Chieftains have shown so far this season.
"Just from the first track meet to the second track meet, everyone's improved," she said, adding that she expects that trend to continue. "I don't see why we wouldn't improve because we work hard at practice. We're determined."
The girls and boys of the THS track team seem to be embracing that attitude and their coaches have been impressed with the talent they have displayed at their two meets this season. Weller said the coaching staff often discusses how special this year's team looks.
"We talk about it all the time," he said, before smiling as he pondered this season's prospects. "It's just a blast."
The Chieftains will look to continue their dominance when they play host to the Tonganoxie Invitational at 3:30 p.m. Friday.