State track preview -- Fouts leads Monarch qualifiers
By AUSTIN COLBERT
PHILLIPSBURG -- Thomas More Prep-Marian High School junior Cameron Fouts called his best javelin throw a fluke.
The school-record distance of 182 feet, 1 inch was set on April 15 at the Ellsworth Invitational, a throw that led to him winning the event by more than 25 feet.
"I had four throws and I scratched on my first throw, then I tied my best at 164," Fouts said. "Then I got 182 on my last one. I guess it was just a big burst of adrenaline."
According to historian Carol Swenson, that mark stands as the spring's fourth-best distance in Class 3A heading into Friday and Saturday's state championship meet at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
For some time after his record-breaking toss, Fouts went into a bit of a slump but seems to be regaining form at the end of the season.
"It's getting back up there. After I threw my best at 182 it just kind of went back down into the low 160s," Fouts said. "Then a few meets before league it got back into the upper 160s. I had one at league at 175. Now that I'm staying consistent in the 170s, it's pretty exciting to see what I'll do at state with the higher level of competition coming up."
Fouts qualified for the state meet on Friday in Phillipsburg after throwing a distance of 173-7, the fourth best regional throw in all of 3A. He finished second in the Phillipsburg regional to Minneapolis' Alex Yoxall (182-0).
"Cameron, he did what he does," TMP track and field coach Matt Dumler said. "He came out and threw a big throw and did well. Can't complain about him."
Fouts qualified for state a year ago, helping TMP to a second-place finish in the 400-meter relay as a sophomore. But this will be the first time he heads to state in the javelin, where he will be one of the Monarchs' top medal contenders.
He took fifth at regionals in the javelin last season, his throw of 163-3 falling three inches short of qualifying.
"State's just somewhere where you have to perform. The atmosphere there is insane. You just get an adrenaline rush just walking in there," Fouts said. "Early on when I started throwing a little shorter, it was because I lost some speed. So we kind of worked on that and broke it down piece by piece and I think I'm starting to get it again."
Garden Plain's Mitchell Hilger, who has a toss of 188-5 (he threw 170-7 at regionals), tops Swenson's list in 3A. The best regional mark came from Fredonia's Codi Martin at 185-07.
The 3A boys' javelin finals will take place Friday at approximately 3 p.m.
Mayorga eyes gold in high jump
If TMP senior Ryan Mayorga can replicate his results at regionals, it's not out of the question for him to win gold in the high jump.
Mayorga tied a school record with a jump of 6-4, both a season and personal best for the Hutchinson Community College football signee. His regional jump matched that of Norton's Deon Lyle, but Mayorga was awarded first place due to having less failed attempts.
"We haven't really jumped that. We mainly jump at 5-10 so I can work on my arch," Mayorga said. "I was pretty confident. I didn't think I would get first though ... it means a lot actually having that height up there now."
Mayorga's high jump mark of 6-4 put him in a three-way tie for best height in the 3A regionals, matching Lyle and Hiawatha's Conner Bigham. Last year's 3A state champ, Caney Valley's Nicholas Camper, jumped 6-2 at regionals (he reached 6-6 at state last year).
Mayorga attempted a jump at 6-6 during regionals, coming up just short. But Dumler believes, with a few tweaks, that it's a height he is capable of clearing.
"He looked really good at 6-6," Dumler said. "We got a few things to work on ... he is going to challenge for a medal up there. He looked really smooth."
This will be Mayorga's first trip to the state meet. The 3A boys' high jump will take place Friday at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Dreiling, Moore looking to medal
Sam Dreiling's return to state is no surprise. The TMP junior qualified for state in the pole vault last season before no heighting.
But after a strong performance at regionals in which he cleared 13-6 to finish second behind Norton's Austin Hager (14-0), Dreiling looks to be in position to finish much stronger at state this year.
"I know I am going to go down to state and do my best down there and hit marks I'm wanting," Dreiling said. "Hopefully I can go down, do my best and compete and actually win."
Dreiling hit 14-0 three tiems this year, which is tied for third best in 3A this season. Only Rock Creek's Jackson Meyer (14-3) and Hoisington's Brandon Ball (15-0) have better marks in the classification.
Also qualifying for the TMP boys is senior Aaron Moore in the discus and the 3,200-meter relay team of Austin Dinkel, Tyler Rueschhoff, Mathew Mindrup and Nick Schmidt.
Moore was among the surprises for TMP, having entered the Phillipsburg regionals seventh on the performance list. While he didn't reach his season-best mark of 141-2, his throw of 140-9 was good enough for fourth place, earning him a first trip to state.
"I didn't have very good throws in prelims and I made finals by four inches. I just knew that if I could get into finals I could have three more chances to get one out there and I did," Moore said. "It means a lot that all the hard work you put in through four years in high school has finally paid off."
The 3A boys' pole vault will take place Friday at 3 p.m., the discus throw Saturday at 8 a.m., and the 3,200-meter relays Saturday at 11:40 a.m.
Pfeifer to represent TMP girls
It took until well into the evening, but the TMP girls finally got one through to state when sophomore Melissa Pfeifer punched her ticket in the 800-meter run.
Pfeifer's time of 2 minutes, 27.55 seconds broke her previous best by nearly three seconds. She finished fourth in the regional, less than two seconds behind first place-finisher Allison Stutterheim of Southeast of Saline.
"I was so happy because I've worked so hard for this," Pfeifer said. "It's always been my goal all season. I kind of plateaued for a while midseason, and finally getting my PR at this time of the season is a good feeling."
Her time was the eighth best throughout 3A regionals, with Hiawatha's Jordan Puvogel leading the pack with a time of 2:22.35.
Pfeifer went to state as a freshman as well, placing 15th in the 800 with a time of 2:38.05. She was also part of the TMP girls' first-place 3,200-meter relay team.
"She is pretty excited about it. Normally after her race, if Melissa doesn't win or take second she is pretty defeated," Dumler said. "We were hoping some of those other girls could squeeze in and most of them gave us a pretty solid performance, but it just wasn't quite enough."
The girls' 800-meter run is scheduled for Saturday at 5:05 p.m.