Victoria’s track and field season hit some adversity throughout the season, mostly due to circumstances beyond the Knights’ control.
Victoria lost some meets to weather early in the season, and suffered a big blow right before regionals when senior Collin Kisner was denied a chance to go for a second straight state title in the 400-meter dash after tearing his hamstring in the Central Prairie League meet.
But several underclassmen helped make sure last Friday’s Class 1A regional at Colby would be a highlight. The Knights saw eight athletes qualify for the state meet Friday and Saturday at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
“We’ve been pretty successful, overall,” Victoria coach Amy Schoenrock said. “We started off a little rocky in the beginning, lost some meets due to the weather. In fact, some of my kids have only had six meets this year total. We continually got better as the year moved along. Our best performances have been the CPL meet and (the regional).
“Hopefully, we can keep that trend moving into the state meet.”
Victoria will end a drought in field events at state with throwers Lucas Taylor and Hannah Radke set to represent the Knights. Taylor qualified for state in the boys shot put by placing fourth in the regional with a toss of 43 feet, 7.5 inches, and Radke earned her spot by taking third in the girls javelin with a throw of 110-4.
“This is probably the first time in at least six years that Victoria’s going to have some field event kids,” Schoenrock said.
Schoenrock also commended her girls’ 3200 relay team, which consists of three freshmen — Valerie Dome, Brooklyn Kuhn, Lydia Sander — and junior Ally Dinkel. The relay team ran an 11:12.83.
“My freshmen stepped up big,” Schoenrock said. “Most of them bettered their times by three seconds in their splits. All in all, it was a good day.
“Ally Dinkel, she’s my only junior girl out this year, she really stepped up and helped me get that four-by-eight team where they needed to be, pushing them in practice and getting them together to go.”
Dinkel also qualified in the 800, finishing third in the regional with a time of 2:39.64.
Freshman Drayden Karlin will compete in the boys 400 after taking second in the regional with a personal-best 53.54.
Sophomore Joshua Schulte is also headed to Wichita in the 3,200 after placing third with a time of 11:42.43.
With several newcomers making their first trip to state, Schoenrock said she wants the Knights to soak up the experience.
“Our biggest goal right now is just to go and compete,” she said. “We came into (regionals) in the four by eight relay with three freshmen. Our best time all year was an 11:26 and today we ran an 11:12. So really that’s all I could ask for those girls, that they show up next week at Cessna and they take in the experience and they take in the excitement and the atmosphere, but they still come to compete and they do the best that they can and maybe get a PR again next week.
“I have a freshman in the 400. He came out today and PR’d by a full second and is going to the state track meet next week. For him he’s going to be a little nervous, a little anxious, but to get that experience under his belt, the next three years it’s a little easier to go.”