By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — To call this a pretty good spring for Ulysses track would be an understatement.
The Tiger boys won their second meet of the week and the girls finished second on Friday at the Holcomb Invitational.
Ulysses took the boys title easily with 133 points, far ahead of runner-up Holcomb's 82 and Scott City's 73.
On the girls side, the Lady Tigers finished second with 88 points, 12 ahead of Ness City. Colby won with 126 points.
The success of the Tigers has been a culmination of work over the years, coach Eric Flaton said.
"It's nice that we're able to win a track meet, and be second," he said. "Those little things of people that we normally don't talk about stepped up today, and that's why we were able to do a full group of a lot of great things."
Case in point was scoring three places in the high jump, led by Garett Kissell and Tregg Rodriguez going one-two. Craig Bohl got second in the shot put, and Razzy Morales led a trio in the discus that went 3-4-5. Armando Sandoval scored a surprising third in the 200-meters.
Ulysses also scored with its predictable athletes. Tate Annis had wins in the 200-meters and long jump to go with his second in the 100 meters. Izzy Morales finished third in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.
The Tigers also scored two seconds in two relays to balance the scoring.
"Those sorts of things are what's allowing us to do things like this," Flaton said. "It takes everyone, so this is great."
For the Lady Tigers, they picked up their typical 20 points from Kaylea Britton in the discus and shot put.
They also picked up strong performances in other events. Jessi Arnold's second in the 200-meter dash and Jennifer Calderwood's third in the pole vault helped pick up bigger points they hadn't before, and Chisholm Branscum placed second in the 800, fourth in the 1600 and anchored the winning 4x800 relay.
In the 4x800-meter relay, Ulysses overtook a strong Ness City team to run their personal best time of 10:17.47, eight seconds better than they ran a week ago.
Branscum made up ground on her first lap and then overtook the Ness City runner with a strong kick on the final straightaway to run her team to the win.
"I felt like, whenever she started the second lap, she was actually slowing down, so I needed to speed up," Branscum recalled. "At the 250, I definitely started going a lot faster and started working up to my kick."
Fifty meters later, Branscum was just behind the lead and picked up her kick even more on the final curve.
"I've never hurt this much after I've run," she said, "so I think I gave it my all."
Her 800-meter split was a 2:28, a personal best, she said, and two of her teammates shaved two seconds off their best times, as well.
"We're going to get faster and faster at each meet, so it's really exciting," Branscum said.
Britton was pleased with her throws for wins. She threw the shot 40-06 to win by over seven feet, and her discus throw of 115-10.5 was nearly 24 feet farther than her closest competitor.
"My throws were pretty consistent," she said. "It's taking me a while to get rolling, but I'm improving each meet, so that's good."
Kelly Wycoff completed the golden hat trick with wins in the three sprints. She won the 100 meters in 12.94, 200-meters in 26.05, and won the 400 meters by almost four seconds. The golds are nice, she said, but she knows she can improve.
"I always feel like my 100's could be better after I run them," the sophomore said. "I'm feeling good. I always worry about meeting or beating my personal bests, but I'm feeling pretty good for now."
Holcomb's Kyshia Prieto was a double winner, taking both hurdle events.
Her 15.93 in the 100-meter hurdles was her personal best, and her 47.96 in the 300-meter hurdles was over two seconds ahead of second place.
"I'm very happy with that time," she said after the 100-meter race. "I started off a lot faster, and the weather was a big factor, too (calm and mild). Everything just worked in my favor today."
Paige Wells set the Wichita County school record in the 1600 meters. Her 5:16.16 bettered that record by four seconds and is the fastest time in Class 2A this season by nearly eight seconds.
She came back on Colby's Emilea Finley on the final lap to win by almost six seconds.
"I tried to get my kick earlier in the race. I think I passed about the 300 mark," she said. "This is my kind of weather to run in; it's absolutely perfect."
On the boys' side, Heath Tucker had a huge day for Holcomb, winning the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
"In practice we've been working on shortening the hurdles to work on the speed in between. So I felt like my speed was a whole lot faster," he said.
Tucker also anchored the defending state champion 4x400 relay team that won in 3:27.37, nearly eight seconds in front of Goodland.
The defending state champions in the relay led off with Tyler LaSalle's unofficial split of 53.8. Brendan Thomas came in at 51.7. Michael Banderas' split was 52.3, and Tucker finished in 50.8.
Holcomb coach Lindall Cox was pleased with this group's effort in this race as well as the season thus far.
"It's their pride and joy. They want to run fast, they have a lot of pride in it, and they really enjoy it," he said. "They want to repeat as state champions, and that's their main focus of the day."
That relay team scored big points in other events. LaSalle, running his first 800 meters, won that event, while Thomas placed second in the 1600 meters. Banderas placed third in the 400 meters and fourth in the 200 meters.
Scott City won the 4x100 relay in 45.13 and Hugoton got the win in the 4x800 with a time of 8:23.30. The Beavers' Joey Meyer won the 400 meter dash by .01 seconds over Patrick Weaver of Hugoton with a time of 51.24.
Hugoton's Avory Stegman picked up wins in the discus and shot put.
See results in Scoreboard, Page D2.