WAKEENEY — As many area athletes were unable to attend the Goldsmith Relays on Monday at Trego Community High School, there was a notable member of the Thomas More Prep-Marian coaching staff also missing.
Though head coach Matt Dumler was unable to attend one of the top annual meets in western Kansas, the Monarchs’ distance runners fared well. But standing above the rest and lead the TMP girls to a team title was senior Melissa Pfeifer.
Pfeifer took home individual golds in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, including a season-best mark of 12 minutes, 53.72 seconds in the 3,200. She also served as the second leg of TMP’s gold medal 3,200-meter relay team, improving on its area-best mark by 4 seconds to 10:46.61. Pfeifer is grouped with Taylor Teel, Julia Hess and Alison Schibi on the relay team.
“For me watching them, they come out and compete every day,” TMP assistant coach Lauren Fortin said. “You always know you’re gonna get that out of them whether the day’s nice or not. Whether the competition is there or not, they’re always gonna compete.
“They get that from Dumler. He teaches them how to run and they get their toughness from him, too. They don’t need him here to know how to run.”
TMP ran away with the girls’ crown, compiling 153 points to Norton’s 102. Schibi and Teel helped the cause with first- and third-place finishes in the 800, respectively.
Freshman Kiara Urban and junior Kendra Werth did their fair share to lead the TMP girls, as well. Werth won the triple jump and 100-meter hurdle crowns while placing second in the 300 hurdles. Urban finished one spot back of Werth in both hurdle events and placed fourth in the triple jump. The pair served as the first two legs or TMP’s third-place 4x100 relay team.
“The nice thing is they get to compete against each other everyday,” Fortin said. “That’s the benefit that we have with them. If they can get to three-stepping and just trust me and give into it, they’ll be surprised how much faster they are. Between the hurdles, they’re very fast.
Once we can get that figured out, I think they’re gonna see a lot of improvement.”
Victoria freshman Kali Weber took home gold in the 100 and 200 while placing fourth in the high jump. Freshman Ashlyn Windholz, who was scheduled to compete in the 4x1 and 4x4 after a second-place PR long jump of 16-2.25, forced Victoria to withhold from both relays after she suffered a leg injury. For Victoria head coach Randy Stanley, it’s just another continuation of this season’s story.
“We’re dealing with a whole lot of little injuries with the girls, so we’re trying to take it easy with them and put things together so we’re OK at the end of the year,” Stanley said. “We can be competitive if we get everybody back and get everybody healthy, so that’s our main concern right now with the girls.”
TMP sophomore Savannah Yost and La Crosse sophomore Kacee Kloazenbuscher tied for first with high jumps of 5-0, beating out Norton junior Baylee Miller on misses. Norton senior Lexi Voss took home golds in the discus, shot put and javelin.
Norton boys led by sprinters
The trend of dominance continued for the Norton boys’ track and field team, which collected 12 top-three finishes en route to the team title. The Blue Jays captured 115 team points, holding off Leoti-Wichita County’s second-place total of 100.
Senior Tevin Brown and sophomore Tevin Petrie finished 1-2 in the 100, separated by just .02 seconds. Victoria sophomore Collin Kisner, who has proven himself a favorite in 1A, held off a competitive field for third in the event. Kisner also placed third in the 200 and powered the team’s 4x4 into sixth, enough to earn a point in the team standings.
“Collin is one of the best around and he’s gonna be alright. He’s gonna be fine,” Stanley said. “He ran a very nice split on that 4x4, which we haven’t been able to all year. He’s been having some back issues and things and today he relaxed and ran a good split on the 4x4, which gives him confidence that he can run faster.”
With Weber and Kisner powering the Knights, Stanley sees the potential of a run in the team standings at regionals if the rest of his team can fall into place.
“Kali Weber is one of the best around. With her and Collin, our sprints are pretty solid. If we can get everybody healthy, we can have a good 4x1 on both the guys’ and the girls’ side,” Stanley said. “We’ve got some got some other kids who are gonna be very, very close at regionals of making it to state. They’re gonna have to have good days and they’re probably gonna have to have PRs to make it, but there’s some possibilities.”
Petrie took home the 200 title, while junior Tyus Henson, the anchor for Norton’s second-place 4x4 relay, won gold in the 400. As usual, Norton’s 4x100 stood atop the podium despite the absence of sophomore Jace Ruder, one of the state’s best hurdlers and sprinters. Junior Koby McEwen took home high jump gold and senior Gavin Lively edged Trego’s Allen Goff in the long jump. Petrie also took home triple jump gold while senior Jordan Dole and junior Jacob Green placed second and third in the shot put behind Plainville sophomore Zach Pierson (45-9), who has the third best shot put in the area this season (47-3).
“We feel good about what happened today,” Norton head coach Jason Jones said. “We’re just trying to take advantage of days when we have meets, especially when we get good weather. … It’s been a crazy year with rainouts and rescheduling, so we’re just trying to get people in eight track meets and we’ll sure it up as we go.”
Victoria sophomore Justin Giesbrecht ran a PR of 10:54.29 in the 3,200, beating his previous best by six seconds on his way to gold.
“Today, Justin just impressed the tar outta me,” Stanley said. “I had nobody else to put in the 4x4. He ran the (3,200), won with a PR and ran the 4x4 right afterwards. He ran a decent split on the 4x4 — incredible. He’s really a tough kid and he’s getting better and better and better. I think the year will finish out really good for him.”
TMP senior Andrew Hess fended off the 1,600 field by 3 seconds to win the Monarchs’ lone gold on the boys’ side.