Great long jump competition at 1A regional
By CONOR NICHOLL
The Class 1A girls' long jump featured several of the classification's best, including Hoxie's Carly Heim, the defending state champion, Quinter freshman standout Sarah Bird, Logan's Kayla Hofaker and Wilson's Shania Steinike. All four had jumped at least 15 feet, 10 inches, while Heim and Bird had cleared 16-8.
Plus, Otis-Bison freshman Taylor Regan had jumped 15 feet, 9.5 inches. Victoria sophomore Jayden Newbold was a returning state qualifier, but hadn't gone longer than 15-8 all season and had thought she wouldn't make state.
In a surprising event, Heim scratched on all three of her attempts and was out of the competition. Bird scratched on her first two, made finals and then won the event at 16-7.75, part of her four regional titles. As a team, Quinter finished second with 52 points, 17 behind Wheatland-Grinnell on Friday at Fort Hays State University.
"I was just upset because I couldn't get my step," Bird said. "Then I was behind, and then I was in front, and then I just couldn't get it, and then I got a good jump in the finals."
Newbold uncorked a season-best 15-10.5 on her first leap and took the early lead. She eventually finished second behind Bird when she hit 16-3, a quarter of an inch away from her personal record set at last year's regional. Hofaker took third, and Regan finished fourth. When officials announced Newbold's mark, her mom let out a big scream.
"It was so awesome," Newbold said. "There is not just enough words to describe what I was feeling."
Heim jumped from well in front of the board all three attempts, a problem that Hoxie track coach Marlin Beougher said has happened all year. During the competition, Heim had to go and run the 200-meter dash prelims.
"We thought we had it figured out, and I think we did have it figured out, but then she went and ran that 200 and that girl can just get loosened up so quickly," Beougher said.
Beougher told Heim to move back two feet on the runway each time, but it didn't work. Heim helped the 400 relay take second, took second in the 200 and finished third in the triple jump. Hoxie tied with Rexford-Golden Plains for third place with 44 points.
"I told her on the third jump, look at the board and stutter if you have to to just get a jump," Beougher said. "I think it was already in her mind. She was really disappointed, because I think she really wanted to go in long jump probably more than the rest of them."
Bird recovered for her third jump. After her second scratch, Bird wore a look of near-tears and frustration. Quinter coach John Crist walked with Bird back to the runway and helped her move back the mark.
"He was just like, 'You're OK, just get a good jump,'" Bird said.
Bird went 15-5 on her third jump to make finals and then jumped her winning mark on her fourth attempt.
"I calmed down in finals," Bird said.
Bird wore a brace on her left thigh after she pulled her quad early in the season. The injury healed up until she pulled it again a couple of weeks ago. Bird later won the 400 (1:01.82), the 800 (season-best 2:28.69) and anchored the 1,600 relay (4:22.92). She was the lone competitor at the meet to win four regional crowns.
"I was surprised," Bird, a talented trickster in junior high, said. "I was not sure how I was going to place in high school or if I was going to place at all."
Bird, with a long stride, stayed just behind Wheatland-Grinnell junior Lacey Ostmeyer in the 800 after the first lap. Ostmeyer, the defending regional champion, ran a 72-second first lap, a second ahead of Bird. But Bird ran 76 seconds on her second lap and won by just under a second.
"Pretty much my strategy was just stay with her and then just kick it in as much as I could," she said.
Rogge captures three titles
Winona-Triplains junior Shayna Rogge's parents have pushed her since she started school athletics in junior high. Rogge has two older brothers, Clint and Clay, both in the Marines, and one younger brother, Colton. In additional to normal practices with the team, the Rogges work out on the family farm.
They lift Wednesday and Saturday mornings and normally run Wednesdays. Last Wednesday, she put a weight vest on and ran hills after practice. Late in the season, the Rogges will also drive around 100 miles round trip to Oakley to work on hurdles on the Plainsmen track.
"They know what needs to be done," Triplains coach Kim Naden said. "You can't sit on your rear end, then five seconds (before) get up and run a race. It doesn't work like that."
The work paid off with three regional crowns in the triple jump (school record 36-2), 110 hurdles (16.74) and 300 hurdles (season-best 48.52).
"We have been training a lot harder this week," Rogge said.
Rogge had a great freshman year with a third, fifth and sixth at state and qualified again in all three events last season, but didn't place. She took ninth in the triple jump and 300s and false started in the 100s. This year, Rogge has improved her "mental state," and the workouts have helped.
"It was mainly all in my head," Rogge said. "Just had to focus on it. They push me to do my best and give it my all, and friends and family are really supportive. That really helps me."
Last year, Rogge barely qualified in the triple jump when she moved from sixth to third on her final attempt. This season, Rogge moved into the lead on her first jump, a season-best 35-4.75. When she heard the mark, Rogge pumped her fists.
"I was relieved," Rogge said with a big smile. "I wanted to get a good position. I didn't want to be behind again, because I don't like that. When I jumped a 35, I was pretty psyched."
Rogge was in second place before she uncorked the 36-2 on her last jump. This time, she jumped up and down in celebration.
"Nailed it," Rogge said. "I felt a lot stronger in my steps and my lunges."
"I thought she had a 36 in her," Naden said. "She had been jumping 35 consistently."
Entering regional, just nine Kansas jumpers had went farther, according to historian Carol Swenson. Rogge defeated Otis-Bison freshman Taylor Regan and Heim, the defending state champion. All three cleared 35-3.75. Rogge had never defeated Heim before, and believes she has a strong chance for her first state championship.
"I am always going for Carly," Rogge said. "She is the one I am always wanting to bump off. I really hope state is good - I really want to win."
Wheatland-Grinnell takes regional title
Wheatland-Grinnell has just nine girls and fought some injuries during the season. Seniors Hannah Gillespie, a key part of the 400 dash, 1,600 and 3,200 relays and a team leader, and Paige Ramey suffered season-ending injuries. The Thunderhawks had no seniors qualify. Sophomore Kirsten Zerr pulled a muscle in the 800 and couldn't run in the 3,200, where she likely would have qualified.
But Wheatland-Grinnell had several athletes step up, too. The top six high jumpers all went 5-0, but sophomore Hannah Waldman surprisingly won the meet. Freshman Haelie Kniesteadt was sixth after prelims in the 200, but qualified fourth in the finals. After a regional runner-up showing last spring, Wheatland-Grinnell has won every meet, except for one third-place finish.
"In the grand scheme of it, I couldn't be more proud of the girls and their efforts today," coach Ed Mense said. "We really stepped up, and had some girls that did above what they were placed to do and some of them placed right where they were at. Overall, we had a phenomenal day."
Juniors Taylor Tustin, Ostmeyer and Kylie Wood, with plenty of state experience in cross country and track, have become the team leaders.
"I like to push my teammates, because I like to see other people compete at state, not just me," Tustin said.
Tustin won the 1,600 (5:37.18), the 3,200 (12:41.32), ran on the winning 3,200 relay (10:29.49) and helped the 1,600 relay take second (4:23.39). Ostmeyer finished second in the 800 (2:29.69) and ran on both relays. Wood ran on the 1,600 relay.
"They bring those younger kids up and make them work hard," Mense said. "We can't as coaches always make everybody do what they need to do, but it's a lot of intrinsic - you've got to make yourself want to do it. It helps when you've got girls around you."