Ellis freshman wins first state title
By CONOR NICHOLL
WICHITA -- A leg injury. Nerves at the state meet. Jumping in the morning.
Ellis High School freshman Ashley Mattheyer faced multiple obstacles entering the Class 2A state high jump Saturday morning, her lone event at Wichita State University's Cessna Stadium.
"I was pretty much scared out of my mind," Mattheyer said.
Mattheyer overcame the issues and won the state title with a leap of 5-4.
"There's pretty much no words," said Mattheyer, wearing a big smile.
Mattheyer was expected to qualify in multiple events after a strong year, but a leg injury kept her out of the league meet two weeks ago and curtailed her performance at regionals. Mattheyer was scheduled to jump at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
During state week preparation, Ellis traditionally tries to practice as closely to when its events occur on state weekend. Mattheyer normally practiced around 10 a.m., but didn't jump well.
"Early mornings don't really go with me," Mattheyer said.
On Thursday, WSU opens the stadium for practice. Mattheyer didn't want to practice at the high jump pit by herself, so she asked sophomore teammate Alexcia Deutscher to come with her. Deutscher, a two-time state qualifier in the event, eventually finished seventh, one of three state medals.
"I was intimidated definitely by other people, but it definitely helped that she was over there with me and getting my mark and telling me that I was on or not," Mattheyer said. "She was a really big help."
Mattheyer couldn't put pressure on the leg like she wanted to, and had to stretch out at the hotel before the competition. The early heights hurt her leg, and she felt more pain when she applied greater impact to her leg at higher heights. Mattheyer and Sterling sophomore Sydney Wilson were the lone jumpers to clear 5-0. Wilson went 5-2, and Mattheyer tied her season best at 5-4.
"I am just glad that I am a state champ as a freshman, and hopefully I can keep that title three more years," Mattheyer said.
Plainville boys take second straight 400 relay
On May 2, Plainville had a disqualification in the boys' 400 relay at the Goldsmith Relays at WaKeeney-Trego Community.
Afterward, coach Norma Finnesy was displeased and said the Cardinals would compete for relay spots the next week at practice.
Plainville put freshman Samuel Kaup and junior Travis Leikam on the relay to join freshman Hayden Friend, the anchor, and senior Trevor Desaire. None of the four had ever run at the state meet before, but Plainville won its second straight title in the event at 44.92 after a third-place finish in 2012. Friend also anchored the 1,600 relay to a runner-up finish.
"We are all pretty close and we work hard in practice," Friend said. "We do run throughs every single day. We know we have got to win it again, make it three straight now."
Desaire was in first year out for track. He and seniors Dylan Wiesner (javelin, 1,600 relay) and Hadley Gillum (discus) all came out for track together this year and helped Plainville to a solid showing. The two-time defending state champions finished sixth with 33 points. Smith Center tied for fourth with 35.
"It means a lot that these guys worked extremely hard to get to this point," Desaire said. "We've had our ups and downs, but we came through and pulled away."
The first three legs gave Friend a big lead for the final leg. The gap of .49 seconds between Plainville and runner-up Elbing-Berean Academy was nearly as big as second to seventh.
Murray earns second and third
Oberlin senior Demi Murray set a career best and furthered her own school record when she threw 146-1 in the Class 2A javelin, just off the classification mark of 147-5 set in 2005 by Sublette standout Shalee Lehning.
But Murray took second in the event for the second straight year when Mission Valley senior Allison Zerbe broke the state record at 151-1. Murray finished in third place in the discus at 110-7 after she threw out of bounds on her three throws at the 2013 state meet.
"I wish I could have won, that was my goal this year," Murray said. "But she pulled out a good throw. I just wish I could have got it. I am proud I did my all-time best, but not as good as I wanted."
Murray had thrown 139-2 two weeks ago, and then went 137-1 at regional to earn the No. 1 seed. Zerbe was seeded second and uncorked her big throw on her fifth attempt. Murray threw her best on her sixth and final throw. In the last two years, Murray's only losses have come at state in javelin.
Ness City's Hahn not healthy
Last Friday, Ness City senior Emily Hahn, the defending Class 2A 800 champion and a Wichita State University signee, severely hurt her hamstring in the 400 relay. Previously in the meet, Hahn qualified for state in the 1,600 run. Last Saturday, Ness City coach Patrick Younger gave Hahn a 50 percent chance of running in the 1,600 at state.
Senior Jessie Rubottom, who finished second to Hahn in the 800 last year, said Hahn was "really tight" all week. On Friday, Hahn tried jogging, but couldn't compete. Rubottom, a Fort Hays State University signee, finished third in the 3,200, seventh in the 1,600, fifth in the 800 and helped the 1,600 relay to seventh place in her final high school race.
"She just decided to wait, because she has a college career ahead of her," Rubottom said. "It is tough knowing the potential that we had, and then even though Emily and I are really competitive against each other, I would do anything to compete with her here. It really (stinks), because she pushes me."
4A: McKee fifth in tough field
Class 4A was easily the toughest classification for the girls' 400-meter dash. The class had four of the top-nine runners, three of the top five and the top two in Baldwin's Morgan Lober and Winfield's Courtney Griffiths, according to historian Carol Swenson. Colby sophomore Brielle McKee knew she couldn't win, but finished fifth behind the four standouts in a career-best 59.30. She took eighth as a freshman. Lober won in 56.82, and Scott City senior Kelly Wycoff, who McKee often runs against, took second in 56.98.
"I was just hoping to place well," McKee said. "I had Kelly Wycoff with me, and I talk to her a lot. I have always competed against her, so it's just kind of natural to go against somebody so good."