Competition close at 1A regional
By CONOR NICHOLL
Almena-Northern Valley sophomore Kortney Cunningham had a personal best of 32 feet, 6 inches in the triple jump before Friday's Class 1A regional at Fort Hays State University. So Cunningham, who qualified third in the high jump, didn't have high expectations in the triple jump.
Bird-City Cheylin sophomore Allie Frisbie never had cleared 32-4.5 in the triple jump prior to Friday.
Winona-Triplains sophomore Shayna Rogge collected a fifth-place finish in the triple jump and also placed third in the 100-meter hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles at the state meet last year. Rogge entered with a season-best jump of 34-5.5 and wanted to qualify in all three events again.
WaKeeney-Trego Community senior Jerris Reeder had reached state in the triple jump all three years previous and earned back-to-back state medals.
However, those four jumpers engaged in a great battle for the third and fourth qualifying spots. Rogge eventually went from sixth to third when she jumped 34-4.75 on her final leap.
"I told myself, I just have to get myself psyched up, so I can jump further, and luckily it worked," Rogge said. "I felt like I jumped higher than what I had been."
Cunningham set personal bests on her final two attempts and broke the school record with a leap of 33-9.75 on her last jump to take fourth.
"I am probably about ready to cry right now, to be honest," a shocked Cunningham said. "I wasn't expecting to make in triple jump. So it kind of surprised me. Making it in both, it's pretty cool. Amazing."
Frisbie lept 33-6, a personal record by nearly 18 inches, to take fifth. Reeder finished in sixth in 33-5. Hoxie sophomore Carly Heim won in 36-2.25, while Dighton junior Leslie Speer, the defending state champion, was second in 34-6.
"The wind was good, of course, but then I finally hit the board," Heim said of her big mark on her third attempt.
After the three preliminary jumps, Heim and Speer had the top two marks, followed by Frisbie, Reeder, Rogge and Cunningham. Rogge's best prelim jump was 32-11, while Cunningham went 32-7.25.
"I have been beating her most meets," Rogge said of Frisbie. "When I saw she was ranked third and I was fifth, I was like, 'Got to step it up.' "
However, Rogge and Cunningham each had an injury. On Thursday, Rogge hurt her left ankle when she was swinging it and accidentally slammed it on the cement floor. Rogge felt soreness, but she put an insert inside her cleat and took some ibuprofen.
Cunningham had her left quad wrapped after she hurt it about two and a half weeks ago. The injury had improved, but the finals of triple jump ended a long day for Cunningham, the only one in high jump and long jump.
No changes occurred after the fourth jumps. Then, on the fifth leap, Cunningham went 33-4 to move into fourth. She displayed a big smile and exuded excitement after the attempt.
Two jumps later, Reeder went 33-5 to move into fourth, push Cunningham to fifth and Rogge sixth.
Then on the final attempt, Cunningham went farther again with her leap of 33-9.75 to move into third. That jump pushed Frisbie to fourth and Reeder to fifth.
Rogge was the next jumper. She went 34-4.75 to take third place. When she got out of the pit, Rogge momentarily stood next to the sand with a look of relief. Neither Reeder nor Frisbie could crack the top four on their final attempts.
"I haven't jumped very good this year, so just really exciting," Rogge said.
Afterward, a beaming Cunningham spent some time near the runway with family, still surprised at the turn of events. Cunningham said she had "no clue" she could ever jump that far.
"I just had to remember to keep running straight up and bring my knees up to reach further," she said. "I worked all week trying to get that figured out, and I finally got it.
Logan sprinters involved in two photo finishes
Logan sophomore Justice Bonner and junior Michaela Girard consistently had finished 1-2 in the 100-meter dash this year. Bonner took fourth at state in the event last year when she ran 13.03. However, Girard never had qualified in the 100.
Girard suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in junior high, and then came back to qualify for state in long jump and 400 relay as a freshman. Last year, Girard tore her left knee in basketball and missed all of track.
"I'm not supposed to be at this speed, but I have been working pretty hard," Girard said. " ...I missed a lot of sports. That's like my life, so it was hard."
Bonner and Girard were involved in photo finishes in the 100 dash and 400 relay. In the 400 relay, Logan ran 53.19 and narrowly edged WaKeeney-Trego, which posted the same time.
"We didn't think that we were going to make it, so making it is pretty big," Girard said. "We were hoping."
In the 100, Atwood senior Taylor Leitner, ranked fourth after prelims, won in 13.42.
"I have never taken the 100 to state before, so got a good start and just kicked it," she said. "It was exciting."
Then Atwood sophomore Rohey Singhateh took second in 13.48. Girard was third in 13.54, Atwood sophomore Lexy Leitner was fourth in 13.55 and Bonner was fifth in 13.55.
The Atwood and Logan girls were uncertain who qualified. Girard and Bonner walked to the middle of the infield, turned and raised their arms in uncertainty to people in the stands.
"We were all nervous," Girard said. "We didn't know who made it."
"I just waited for their expressions," Lexy Leitner added. "I thought they made it."
After Bonner just missed out, she fell into tears.
"I think she took it pretty hard, but we made in the 4x1, so she still gets to go, so that will be OK," Girard said.
Then Girard qualified in the 200 when she finished third in 28.19.
"I didn't really expect to make it in the 100," Girard said. "I was more focused on the 200. It's been pretty cool."