By BRETT MARSHALL
GREENSBURG — For much of the 2011 track season, Cimarron junior Lindsay Wehkamp has been more successful with her high jump event than she has with her other specialty, the long jump.
Those roles were reversed Friday at the Class 2A regional track meet when Wehkamp soared to a new school record of 17-4 3/4 en route to claiming the gold medal in the event to advance to next week's state meet in Wichita.
"I've just struggled with the long jump it seems most of the season," Wehkamp said. "Today, though, I was just feeling it. I haven't jumped consistently."
Wehkamp's winning jump came on her final attempt after she had already gone 17-3 1/4 on her second attempt in the finals. Her best prelim had been 16-6 1/4.
"I've been working on my form and today I was able to keep my knees up in the air," Wehkamp said. "I think that gave me an extra eight inches. That's just been my main struggle, but today it worked."
On a day that saw numerous weather changes to keep the contestants guessing, area athletes fared well to qualify for state.
Wichita County, Cimarron, Stanton County, Sublette and Syracuse — the five Telegram area schools competing — all advanced their top performers to Wichita.
Wichita County's Paige Wells was a double winner, claiming the 800-(2:26.96) and the 1600 (5:39.87)-meter runs. The Lady Indians' Hannah Mehl had her season-best effort in winning the javelin throw with a mark of 119-8, while Rachel Busch claimed the 400-meter dash in a season-best 1:01.52.
Wells has been dominant in many of the middle-distance races throughout the 2011 season, but for Mehl, and Busch, their performances were easily their top efforts. And they couldn't have come at a better time.
"After last week (Hi-Plains League), I just didn't know what to expect," Mehl said of the javelin, an event she has placed in at state. "I just told myself to go out, have fun and not worry about it."
She got her winning throw on her third attempt in the preliminaries.
"It felt so good," Mehl said. "I worked a little on Monday by myself and I think it helped. I was trying to make my plant longer and rotate my arm faster, and that's what I did today."
Busch, a senior, came through with a strong final 100 meters to outduel Kiowa County's Erica Bertram and Sublette's Gentry Hibbard in taking the 400.
"I've been working on the last 100 extra," Busch said. "I took one event off my list and I just felt so much stronger today. I wanted to really come off that final curve and then give it everything. It's helped to run against Gentry (1:02.34). She's such a good runner."
Syracuse's sophomore pole vaulter Kyle Dupree repeated as the regional champion in his specialty, clearing 13-0, just below his season best of 13-6.
While he was happy with the first-place finish, he's still looking to go higher next week in Wichita, where he placed seventh as a freshman.
"I was just getting ready to do my run-throughs when the weather hit," Dupree said of a powerful storm that blew threw with high wind, rain and a little hail that halted the meet for nearly an hour. "I lost all my adrenaline and then when we got started, I had to re-do my whole routine."
His immediate goal is 14-0 but feels 14-6 is certainly within his sights.
"I've got a new pole, and I've used it for two meets and I'm just getting used to it," Dupree said. "It's a little different, it bends more."
Stanton County's Mauri Steimel was a double winner, claiming the girls shot put (37-1 3/4) and the discus (108-2). Cimarron's Tyler White garnered a first in the discus with a throw of 135-0.
Freshman Joshua Mehl ran a season-best 4:38.37 to claim the boys 1,600-meters while Cimarron's high jumper Garrison LeRock claimed won with a 6-2, well below his best of 6-8.
In relay events, Wichita County's girls qualified fourth in the 4x800-meters (10:19.45) while the Sublette boys were second in the same event (8:31.43).
The Lady Larks' 4x400-meter relay team placed second in 4:13.40.
Meade's boys claimed the team title with 92 points while Kiowa County's girls won their division with 98 points.
Top finishers for Telegram area schools were Wichita County's girls in fourth with 66 points and Cimarron's boys, also fourth, with 56 points.
For results, see Scoreboard, Page D2