TMP girls, boys claim MCAA titles
By KLINT SPILLER
Thomas More Prep-Marian senior Heather Ruder got her team up, and it came down to the 1,600-meter relay to hold Larned off.
The relay delivered, finishing two spots ahead of Larned in the final girls' event Thursday at the Mid-Central Activities Association championships at Lewis Field Stadium.
"We just really needed those points, and I think we all came through for each other," said junior Mikaela Flax, the opening leg of the 1,600 relay.
The TMP girls' track and field team trailed Larned for much of the night. With the four-team meet, Larned's depth gave its squad an advantage.
Prior to second-to-last event, the 3,200-meter run, TMP's girls were behind Larned 76 to 75.
Ruder put her squad up with a first-place finish in the 3,200, and the 1,600 relay got second behind Hoisington to lift TMP to the MCAA championship with 86 points. Larned was second with 80.
The TMP boys also won, but it wasn't as close, finishing first with 116.5. Ellinwood was second with 83.5.
"They definitely have a lot of talented athletes, but the competition is good," Flax said. "It's nice to be pushed."
TMP won four events on the girls' side -- all events Ruder won or was a part of winning. Ruder took first in the 1,600 (5 minutes, 28.90 seconds), 800 (2:30.26) and 3,200 (12:06.46), and she was a member of the first-place 3,200-meter relay (10:22.11).
Sophomore Kaylor Gottschalk had an impressive day, recording two top-three finishes. She placed third in the high jump at 4-8 and second in the long jump at 16-3.5.
Flax also was second in the 400 in 1:03.24 and third in the 300 hurdles in 55.10 seconds.
On the boys' side, TMP won seven events.
Junior Skyler Urban won the long jump and triple jump with marks of 18-11 and 41-2, respectively. Sophomore Cameron Fouts took first in the javelin with a mark of 155-9, and sophomore Sam Dreiling won the pole vault with a personal-best mark of 13-6.
On the track, TMP's boys dominated the sprinting events.
The 400-meter relay won in 45.50 seconds.
Senior Rodney Deus finished first in the 100 and 200 in 11.12 seconds and 23.00 seconds, respectively. Behind him, Carlos Duenes and Jeffery Richmeier took third and fourth in the 100, and Duenes and Nicholas Schmidt went 2-3 in the 200. Schmidt also took second in the 400 in 54.44 seconds.
TMP freshman Andrew Hess had two top-three finishes in the long distance races, taking third in the 1,600 in 5:03.66 and 3,200 in 11:08.01.
Pfeifer back from injury
Senior Allison Pfeifer might have had the most surprising performance of the night.
After wearing a boot on her left foot and sitting out of meets for the past three weeks, Pfeifer put together a strong performance at the MCAA championships -- her first meet back since experiencing tendonitis in her left Achilles.
While she sat out, she did mostly pool and biking workouts, but even while on the bike, she was forced to wear her boot.
Pfeifer didn't begin running until Monday.
"It was to the point it was even tender to touch, so we risked tearing it if I kept running on it, which means I would have been out for three months," Pfeifer said. "They just wanted to make sure before it got any worse that I rested it."
On Thursday, Pfeifer competed in three events: the 3,200 relay, 1,600 run and 1,600 relay.
Pfeifer, who ran with tape on her Achilles, looked strong in all three despite the time away from practice, taking first or second in all three.
"With the tape, I really don't feel it that much," Pfeifer said. "The only thing I can feel is some stiffness."
She even ran 5:42 in the 1,600 -- six seconds away from her personal best.
"I was pretty pleased with it," she said.
The plan was for Pfeifer to just run two events, but Pfeifer actually thought she could run another so she pressured her coaches to let her run the 3,200 relay.
Pfeifer, an important piece of TMP's state contender track and field squad, said it was tough being cooped up for so long.
"They actually made me stay in the boot longer than they told me I would, and I was getting antsy," she said. "I'm just glad to be back now."