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Phillipsburg sweeps MCL track titles

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

HILL CITY ­-- Because of intermittent rain, the Mid-Continent League coaches decided to cancel preliminary heats for the league meet Thursday at Hill City. The change forced the MCL to do what other smaller meets normally do.

Based on season-best times, the slower runners run in the first heat(s) and then the faster runners compete in the final heat.

However, Phillipsburg High School senior Sean Newlan had to compete in the slow heat of the 300-meter hurdles despite being the defending state champion in the event.

Newlan hadn't competed since April 19 because of a groin injury and hadn't run the 300s all spring. Since he didn't have a time this year, Newlan had to compete in the slowest heat.

Still, Newlan ran 39.41, the second-fastest time in the state this year, according to Kansas historian Carol Swenson's statewide list. Only Liberal's Trenton Hammond's 37.47, the seventh-best time in state annals, is better.

Newlan also won the 110-meter hurdles (14.34), discus (153-6) and ran a leg on the 400-meter relay (43.05).

"I have practiced them once," Newlan said. "I am just glad I didn't fall down. Same with the 110s. It was pretty rusty, but I was pretty satisfied."

Overall, Phillipsburg won 12 boys' events and cruised to a league crown with 180 points, 90 more than runner-up Plainville.

The Panther girls won just two events, the 400- and 1,600-meter relays, but had enough depth to win with 101 points, four more than Norton.

"I think everybody performed pretty well," Newlan said. "It's nice to be back, speaking on my own behalf with that groin injury that I had and everything, it feels really good to get back in the swing of things. As a whole, I think our whole track team has performed pretty well."

Newlan, a four-time state track champion, called his groin injury "kind of a freak accident." Two weeks ago, Newlan was getting ready to go to weights class. He went to go play basketball for warm up.

Newlan checked the ball and then took it to the basket and "felt a pop." Because of the injury and some meets cancelled because of weather, Thursday marked Newlan's fourth meet of the year.

"Ever since then, I have been sitting out and icing it and resting it," Newlan said.

Newlan's teammate, senior Seth Derr, collected titles in the high jump (6-2) and javelin (179-10). Derr ranks No. 1 in Kansas and in the top 10 nationally in the javelin with a throw of 193-11.

"I just feel so much more confident when I am throwing this year," Derr said.

Princ bests loaded javelin field

Osborne junior Jessica Princ threw a career-best 133-1 in javelin to win the league crown by more than 16 feet. Princ and the rest of the competitors had to deal with the rain on a grassy surface. However, Princ's throw immediately puts her among the contenders for a Class 1A title. Princ's toss is the best in the classification and much farther than her former season best of 124-6.

As well, Princ defeated two of Class 2A's top throwers in Ellis senior Megan Honas and Hill City senior Shannon Toll. Honas finished second in 116-9, while Toll was third in 115-7.

"Could have thrown in warmer weather," Princ said. "I was kind of nervous to go up against them, because I knew they were pretty good throwers. I just did what I did best - technique is the best thing to do."

Friday also marked the last MCL competition for Osborne and WaKeeney-Trego Community. Osborne is leaving to join the Northern Plains League, and the Golden Eagles are headed to the Northwest Kansas League. Osborne coach Ken Ubelaker said the smaller enrollment for the Bulldogs makes it hard to compete against the larger MCL teams. However, both WaKeeney and Osborne have spent more than 30 years in the MCL.

"A lot of relationships," Ubelaker said.

The Bulldogs finished fifth on the girls' side with 69 points and sixth on the boys with 53 points. WaKeeney tied for sixth in the girls with 48 points. The Golden Eagle boys didn't score any points as junior Clayton Riedel sat out with a hip injury. Riedel is expected to compete at the Class 1A regional in Hays next week.

Other top performers

Ellis freshman Alexcia Deutscher collected titles in the 100 (12.78), 200 (27.65), long jump (16-7.75) and took second on misses in the high jump (5-2). ... Smith Center sophomore L.T. Meitler won the pole vault in 13-6. He narrowly missed setting a conference record at 14-2. ... Senior Dalton Werner, the defending Class 2A champion, again came up just short of 22 feet when he won the long jump is 21-11.75.