TMP's Dreiling sets meet record in WaKeeney
By CONOR NICHOLL
WaKEENEY -- Sam Dreiling was entering sixth grade when his dad, Mark, brought home some older pole vaulting mats for Sam and his older brother, Zach. Mark purchased poles, and the two started to practice. At that time, Sam couldn't even clear five feet.
In middle school, Sam started to win meets and enjoyed the adrenaline rush of beating opponents. The Dreilings later built a pole vaulting box and laid down an old conveyer belt for a runway. The brothers eventually outgrew the poles they had at home, but still use the makeshift equipment to hone certain technique.
"They work good enough for what we work on them for," Dreiling said.
Helped by Mark, Sam's passion has continually grown. Dreiling, a Thomas More Prep-Marian junior, vaults nearly all year round, including club, indoor and during the spring high school season. Mark is at virtually every competition.
"He has been the main drive in my pole vaulting," Dreiling said. "If it wasn't for him, I don't think I would be where I am today because he got me started on it, he let me find out what a passion it was."
Dreiling had a solid season last year and qualified for the Class 3A meet, but no-heighted. Zach, a senior last spring, narrowly missed state qualification out of a tough regional. Norton's Austin Hager took third at 13 feet after he placed eighth in 2012 at state.
On Friday, Dreiling and Hager continued their friendly rivalry, and Goodland senior Holton Witman also was in the field at the Goldsmith Relays at WaKeeney-Trego Community High School. Witman ranked sixth in Kansas with a mark of 14-2.75, while Hager and Dreiling were tied for 14th with a 13-6 clearance, according to historian Carol Swenson's statewide honor roll.
Dreiling won the meet and set a meet record with a 14-0 vault, and Hager, a senior, took second at 13-6. Witman struggled and finished third at 12 feet. Norton senior Bailey Ambrosier, a two-time Class 3A state champion, tied the meet record with a 10-foot clearance to win the girls' competition. Norton won the girls' crown with 87 points, three over Colby.
On the boys' side, Goodland led the 12-team meet with 125 points, and TMP was second at 101 points.
Dreiling, who faces Hager at multiple meets, including last week at Phillipsburg and at upcoming league and regionals, called the competition a "nice battle." Both competitors shook hands after Dreiling cleared 14 feet on his third and final attempt, and Hager missed.
"Whenever I could vault because of the wind, it's been good," Dreiling said. "Things were feeling right, and I knew I was going to get these heights I was wanting. I was confident that I could outvault them and make my best vault, and I would have been satisfied even if they would have beat me, and I would have made my best vault."
Ryan, Mark and Monarch pole vaulting coach Luke Lubbers helped and encouraged Sam throughout the event. Sam remained light-hearted for the competition, that including girls, lasted well over five hours.
"I try more or less to have fun, because if I am putting pressure on myself, I just do worse," Dreiling said. "But if I laugh and joke around with my brother, and my dad or my coach, I am pretty confident that will calm me down, and I can make a vault that I am capable of making."
Hager cleared 13 feet on his third attempt, while Dreiling made it on his first to take the lead. At 13-6, Hager cleared on his second, Dreiling on his third and Hager moved into first. At 14-0, Dreiling first made an approach, but was uncomfortable and held up in in the box. He quickly reset himself and then cleared 14 feet for the first time in high school competition this year. Dreiling got inverted a little quicker, an area he has worked on throughout the season.
"I just pulled them out of nowhere really," he said. "Everything just kind of worked a little bit better."
Teeter wins strong javelin field
Goldsmith Relays also brought together arguably the best javelin field of any Kansas meet this year with La Crosse senior Lucas Moeder, Goodland senior Dax Ruhs and sophomore Trey Teeter and TMP junior Cameron Fouts.
Moeder, Ruhs and Fouts had each delivered a top-10 throw in Kansas and had tossed between 181-8 and 183-1 this season. Teeter had a season-best of 162-7 entering the competition, but was eighth in Class 4A last season. Moeder didn't compete because many Leopard athletes overscheduled by one meet this year and had to sit out a competition.
Ruhs, Teeter and Fouts all were supposed to throw in the fourth and final heat, but because of conflicts with running events, Ruhs and Fouts moved up to the third heat. Fouts threw 169-3, while Ruhs was second at 166-1.5 after their heats.
Then, Teeter uncorked a 176-1 to win the competition. Throughout his throws, Teeter kept saying he was going to throw 180 feet.
"That's been my thought process all year, hit 180," Teeter said. "Now that I have had over the hump of 170, I guess that's the next goal, 180."
Ruhs also won the 100-meter dash in 11.53 seconds, took third in the triple jump with a leap of 39-4 and helped the Cowboys' 400-meter relay win in 44.95 seconds.
"I have ran the 100 since I was in seventh grade," Ruhs said. "This year, I started out the year with jav, long jump and triple jump and the 4x1. Last week, I didn't long jump as well, so decided to drop that and run the 100."