Dreiling second to Hager in pole vault
By AUSTIN COLBERT
WICHITA -- After last year, Thomas More Prep-Marian junior Sam Dreiling would have settled for just about anything. At the 2013 state track and field meet, Dreiling's first trip to state, he no-heighted in the pole vault when he let the pressure of the situation get to him.
But on Friday at the 2014 state meet, he was able to step up and find solace in a runner-up finish to Norton's Austin Hager in Class 3A.
"I'm a lot happier this year. I'm kind of relieved I got that out of my system," Dreiling said. "I was wanting to be the champion, but I'm pleased that the person I competed against -- we fought back and forth all year ---- he got it. He hit a good height and I hit a good height and he just came out on top."
Hager, Dreiling and Rock Creek's Jackson Meyer, the third-place finisher, all hit 14 feet in the pole vault at state. The 14-0 mark wasn't new to either Hager or Dreiling by any means, having hit both it this year on numerous occasions.
Meyer, however, had cleared 14-3 earlier this year, second in 3A to Hoisington's Brandon Ball (15-0), who did not qualify. Hager took third at state in the pole vault last year, hitting 13-0, but had cleared a personal best of 14-6 earlier in the 2013 track season.
"I was feeling pretty good. I was a little nervous. I woke up this morning a little nervous, because it's the last time I'll be here," said Hager, a senior.
"When we went up at 14, I jumped it consecutive a couple of times at practice and I was ready for it. It's what we've been working on all week is 14 feet, and I made it."
They all tried their luck at 14-6, with Dreiling having the best go at it. But his effort grazed enough of the bar to knock it down, leaving him with a second-place finish at state, something he said he can live with.
"I was pleased with what I did today," Dreiling said. "The third attempt (at 14-6) I went up and barely brushed it with my hip. It was just enough to knock the bar off. I thought I was going to make it, but unfortunately I didn't. It could have gone either way."
Fouts second in javelin
TMP junior Cameron Fouts hit his career best mark in the javelin on April 15 at the Ellsworth Invitational at 182 feet, 1 inch. And he's been waiting a long time to have a throw like that again.
After more than a month of mediocre marks, often in the 160s, Fouts was finally able to consistently get his distances back into the 170s, including a throw of 173-7 at the 3A regional in Phillipsburg last week.
Then came a throw of 180-2 at state on Friday in Wichita, only the second time Fouts has ever reached the 180-feet mark, good for a second-place finish behind the 182-1 of Garden Plain senior Mitch Hilger.
"You can't get mad at almost throwing your best at the state meet," Fouts said. "Especially after the first time I threw 180, I kind of dipped down and got in a slump. I'm just happy I did my best at the right time."
Fouts didn't have a good start Friday. His first two throws only went 160-0 and 165-9, while Hilger hit his best mark of 182-1 on his first throw. Hilger's best mark after that was 165-07, coming on his sixth and final throw and three consecutive fouls.
"Oh, I was mad (after the first two throws). I've seen many people do that before, to do completely terrible because of all the nerves," Fouts said. "It made me focus a little more. But really, I just tried to stay focused. But it gave me a little extra boost."
Fouts entered state seeded fourth, Hilger sixth. Fredonia's Codi Martin had the best regional mark at 185-7, but had to settle for third at state with 178-0. Fouts' mark of 182-1 was fourth in 3A entering the state meet, Hilger's 188-5 the season's best.
More importantly for Fouts is the fact he still has another year and another chance at the state title. And considering he came up three inches short of qualifying for state in the javelin last year, he his hoping to make even more progress before the 2015 state meet.
"I've worked pretty hard, especially after the disappointment in not making it last year. I think that, because of the anger of not making it, it just helped fuel my work ethic," Fouts said. " I can't miss (state) again. It's a good atmosphere here and I'm pretty happy to be here."
in high jump
Many times this season TMP senior Ryan Mayorga has found himself in a jump-off with Norton junior Deon Lyle in the high jump, with both getting his fair share of wins. But on Friday at the state track meet, the two found they had a third in Caney Valley's Nic Camper.
The threesome were the only ones to hit the 6-4 mark in the high jump, with Camper reaching 6-6 on his second attempt to win the event, his third straight 3A state title. Because of having less failed attempts, Mayorga took second and Lyle third.
"I think me and Lyle put in a good fight against him. Lyle and I battle each other every meet, basically," Mayorga said. "It felt pretty good. And this is a nice place to be for the first time and taking second. Nothing much better."
Mayorga, competing his in first state meet, made it look easy, even hitting 6-4 on his first attempt, a mark he didn't reach until the 3A regional in Phillipsburg last week. Lyle, on the other hand, looked like he had hit a brick wall at 6-4, needing a desperate third attempt to advance.
All three failed at 6-6 on their first try, with Camper clearing it on his second attempt. Mayorga and Lyle made a good effort after that, but found beating a now three-time state champion isn't an easy task.
"He kind of gave me hope when he missed it the first time. I was like, 'OK, no pressure.' Then he makes it the second time and you're like, 'Ah, great,'" Mayorga said. "I just couldn't bring my legs over it. I didn't snap soon enough. All that plays a big factor as you go up."
Lyle, who will have another chance next season as a senior, has high hopes for 2015, especially with Mayorga and Camper having graduated.
"I'm trying to tie the record and break it eventually," Lyle said. "Oh, I'm happy. I would have been better if I would have got it ... but it's fun. It's a fun competition and it's always fun to come out here. It was a good year."
On Saturday, the TMP boys' 3,200-meter relay team took 15th with a time of 9 minutes, 21.3 seconds, while senior Aaron Moore took 14th in the discus with a distance of 123-6.
Pfeifer sixth in 800
Sophomore Melissa Pfeifer, the only girl to qualify for the Monarchs, finished sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:27.34 on Saturday, edging her personal best of 2:27.55 set last week at regionals in Phillipsburg. Atchinson County's Madison Bissell won the race in 2:24.68.