4-for-4

5/23/2014

By KEVIN THOMPSON

By KEVIN THOMPSON

sports@gctelegram.com

CIMARRON — Holcomb's Heath Tucker is on an individual quest to make his senior track season memorable.

His team placed second with 66 points, just behind Wichita Collegiate's 108 in the Class 3A track and field regional in Cimarron. On the girls side, Garden Plain took first with 95.5 points, followed by Cheney's 93.5 and Sedgewick's 55.

The senior, who just graduated last weekend, still has some goals to reach before moving on to college.

Four individual events. Four qualifying marks.

He first qualified for the Class 3A state meet in Wichita on May 30-31 in the long jump, finishing second with a jump of 22 feet, 6.25 inches (his fifth individual school record and sixth overall).

Then, he won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.90 seconds on hand timing after the automatic timers went out.

The defending state champion in the 300 hurdles, he won that event easily in 38.86 seconds.

Shortly after that was a second place in the 200 meters (23.08).

His favorite race, the 300 hurdles, was his cleanest race of the year, Tucker said.

"All three years I've been running really well at regionals before state, so that's a great place to be at this time," he said. "That whole race felt really good."

In the long jump, a new event for him this season, he actually scratched his first two jumps, and his final barely got him into the finals.

His first jump in the finals set the school record by four inches.

Tucker has state gold medals in the 4x400 relay his first two years, and last year's 300 hurdle win. His goal is now to win both hurdle events.

He also knows the 200 and long jump will be tough, but getting high on the medal podium is still in his sights.

"I'll give it all I've got," he vowed.

Teammate Logan Flores set a personal best time in the 800 meters, finishing second in 2:02.09.

"It feels great. I was feeling it," Flores said. "Coming in I just wanted to get fourth, but I felt it after the 400 so I just went for it."

The win is a repeat for Flores in the 800. He is also part of the Holcomb 4x400 relay team that pulled out a win, running a personal best 3:31.69.

Leading start to finish, the first three runners — Zeke Silva, Taylor Chelemedos and Blake Flores — all ran splits of 53 seconds before giving way to anchor Logan Flores, who clocked a 51.8 second split.

Coach Lyndall Cox said it's not surprising his team ran that well. They've just been waiting for Silva to overcome some injuries, and the rest were ready to go.

"They just ran their best race today," Cox said. "We knew those guys could each run 53 (seconds), but they were ready. They've been waiting for this."

Holcomb's 4x100 and 4x800 relay teams also qualified for the state meet.

The lone Holcomb girl to qualify was Courtney Nemecheck in the 400.

Host Cimarron's Ty Clark and AJ Cooper both went 5-10 to claim silver and bronze in the high jump to help the boys team to a fifth-place finish.

Teammate Isaac Stanley passed two runners on the final lap to finish second in the 1,600 meters, setting a personal best and school record in front of the home crowd for the final time.

His 4:33.69 was eight seconds faster than his previous best, and six seconds better than the school record.

Stanley hung in fourth with the lead pack for three laps, then poured it on just after the gun.

"On this last lap, it started slowing down, and I felt like I had more in the tank," he said. "I worked my whole high school career for this and it paid off."

Stanley also placed fourth in the 3,200 meters.

Cody Toothaker of Cimarron placed third in the javelin, while Eduardo Elias was third in the triple jump and Eduardo Trevino was third in the 300 hurdles.

For the Cimarron girls, Kari Blattner was third in the 400 meters, while Joisan Smith finished fourth in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

Morgan Ediger qualified fourth in the pole vault, but the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles failed to qualify in that event, as well as the 100-meter hurdles.

Cimarron's 4x800 relay team finished fourth.

Lakin's Kaylee Line and Robin Ritsema went 1-2 in the high jump to qualify for state, both clearing 5-2.

"It's awesome," head coach Jeff Fuss said. "That was a goal. Early in the year we talked about that."

The short-term goal Friday, he said, was to clear 5-0, which they both did easily on their first jumps.

"By that time, everybody was out and it was academic," Fuss said.

Both have worked hard this season on their run-ups, he added, and their consistency has been steady of late.

"We told them not to be satisfied with that. Don't be happy just getting there (to state)," Fuss said. "We expect to be bringing back some hardware."

Line said her goal at the start of the season was to qualify and to make 5-4, which she did (actually 5-5) a week ago.

The freshman said she hopes to win state but is nervous about her first trip to Wichita. But with a week to prepare, she and sophomore Ritsema just need to have good practices.

"I've changed my jump up and moved it in a little better, and I've been doing better with that," Line, said.

Lakin's Kara Simmons, who finished third in state last year, will get another chance this year as she qualified fourth in the 300 hurdles.

The Cheney boys took third place with a 63.

Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.

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