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Goodland's javelin family

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Jordan Teeter grew up in Lyons and likely would have played baseball with teammates who eventually won the 2004 Class 3A state tournament. When he was in sixth grade, Teeter and his family moved to Hays where his uncle, Kent, was the Hays High School football and track coach. Jordan's brothers competed in track, but Jordan didn't like running and decided to throw the javelin.

"Their family has always had good arms," Kent Teeter said.

Jordan eventually became the Indians' school record holder with a 207 feet, 8 inch throw, and twice finished third place at the national meet for Hutchinson Community College. When Jordan competed for Hays High, Kent's son, Trey, had a little turbo javelin and started to throw, too.

Five years ago, Kent Teeter took the football and track jobs at Goodland High School. He hired Mike Ruhs as his defensive coordinator. Mike's son, Dax, is two years older than Trey, but the two quickly became best friends.

"He is like a little brother to me," Ruhs said.

The family and friends connection has helped form one of the state's top-two javelin combinations with Ruhs, a senior and Fort Hays State University track signee, and Teeter, a sophomore.

Teeter's younger sister, a sixth-grader, also has started throwing the javelin.

"Trey has got a good arm," Coach Teeter said. "My wife has got a good arm. I don't have a good arm. I'm the oddball of the mix. ...It's been a neat family thing here in this generation. I am sure it will carry onto more generations, we hope."

Last year, Teeter and Ruhs finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in Class 4A.

This spring, Ruhs has a season-best throw of 183 feet, 1 inch and Teeter threw a season-high 176-1 to win the Goldsmith Relays at WaKeeney-Trego Community last Friday. Ruhs stands No. 12 in Kansas and Teeter is 21st for all classes, according to historian Carol Swenson.

Andale, with three top throwers above 176-2, is the lone school that can match Goodland's combination. Jordan Teeter lives in Sterling, but comes to watch Trey whenever he can, including at Goldsmith. Throughout the competition, Jordan passed along tips to Trey.

"It's fun to help Trey when I can," Jordan said. "It's fun to watch him throw. He was there when I was throwing."

Ruhs is calmer than Teeter, who is more energetic and talkative. Teeter and Ruhs have started at quarterback and running back the past two years and led Goodland to a playoff berth last fall, the third in four years.

"Dax has his moments," Coach Teeter said. "He is kind of squirrely sometimes, but Dax is kind of laid back, and he is really an older brother to Trey. It's been a good combination. He will put Trey in his spot, there is no doubt."

Both are similar sizes -- and shorter than most javelin throwers. Teeter is 5-10, 165 pounds, while Ruhs stands 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, but can clean 250 pounds, bench press 285 and squat 345-350.

He has triple jumped 42 feet and won the 100-meter dash at the Goldsmith Relays last week in WaKeeney. Asked how he throws so far, Ruhs mentioned speed down the runway. Teeter, standing a few feet away, smiled, reached out and touched Ruhs' bicep.

Two weeks ago, Ruhs signed with the Tigers to throw for coach Andreas Maheras, FHSU's acclaimed throwing coach.

"I really like what he is doing up there, and he seems like a really great guy, a great coach," Ruhs said. "So I wanted to go up there, and see if I could get any better."

After Goodland football games, people would come to the Teeter house for a get-together. Early on, Trey and Ruhs would play basketball outside or hang out in the basement during the get-togethers.

In football, Ruhs cleared 1,000 rushing yards as a junior and then led Goodland with 39 catches for 802 yards and 11 TDs for a 6-4 squad last fall. Trey Teeter threw for 957 yards and a 9/12 TD/INT ratio as a freshman and 1,981 yards with a 22/13 TD/INT ratio as a sophomore in the Cowboys' spread offense. Goodland enjoyed a three-win improvement last year.

"I am harder on him than anybody else, and most of the players would say that," Coach Teeter said. "But the good thing is, we can go home, talk about it, watch film, and so it's been a really neat thing."

Trey and Kent Teeter is one of the rare quarterback-coach combinations in Kansas, which had yielded some interesting moments for Trey.

"Most of the time, it goes really well," Trey said. "It's a little difficult for me to say, 'Hey Dad,' during practice or 'Hey, Coach Teeter,' so most of the time I try to get his attention by going 'Hey.'"

In track, Ruhs and Teeter have continually improved and pushed each other daily.

"I am always relaxed in practice," Ruhs said. "Trey is always wanting to compete."

"I've always got to be out in front," Trey added with a smile.

Ruhs set Goodland's freshman school record in the javelin and finished eighth in 3A as a sophomore with a 159-2 throw. Ruhs threw 162-10 last season at state, while Teeter went 165-5 at regionals and 164-8 at state.

Ruhs uncorked his career-best toss on his season-opening throw this year. Teeter was consistently around 162 feet before last Friday. Throughout the years, Trey likes to contact Jordan after meets.

"After every meet, Trey would say, 'Did you call Jordan?,' and if he throws well, (Trey says), 'Don't call him, I will call him,'" Coach Teeter said.

Last Friday, Jordan worked with Trey on making sure he was throwing high rather than down.

"He had the same problem I did," Jordan said. "We grew up playing baseball, and playing baseball, you drop your head, and you throw the ball at the catcher, and it's become a habit with him. I was able to overcome it about junior or senior year of high school, so I have been trying to help him with that."

Trey Teeter, who kept saying his mantra of a 180-foot throw throughout the competition, threw around 170 feet in warmups and then eventually won the meet over his teammate and Thomas More Prep-Marian's 6-foot, 190-pound Cameron Fouts, No. 13-ranked in Kansas.

"That's part of being short for both of us," Trey Teeter said.

"You see a lot of tall guys. They don't have to worry about their javelin hitting the ground or some things like that, so we really focus on keeping our eyes up, which allows you to use your back muscles a lot more."