Temps rise, times sizzle at Garden City track meet





On a day that felt more like mid-summer, with temperatures sizzling in the low 90s by mid-afternoon, Garden City and area track and field athletes were able to take advantage by compiling some impressive performances at the Garden City Invitational at Buffalo Stadium on Tuesday.

Just past the mid-point of the 2014 season, track standouts are just now rounding into top condition, and with just more than two weeks to go before regionals, and three weeks to the big show at the state track and field championships in Wichita, many of the top performers came through with several multiple-event winners.

But first, the Garden City Lady Buffaloes won the meet in a landslide, scoring 240 points and more than doubling runner-up Dodge City's 113 points. Class 4A area schools Scott City and Ulysses were third and fourth with 51 and 45 points, respectively.

In the boys team chase, it was Liberal rolling up 178 points while Garden City tallied 115 for second. Dodge City was next with 98, followed by Ulysses with 75, Holcomb with 48 and Scott City with 35.

Garden City's girls domination came from a wide cast of runners and field event competitors.

Kayla Doll doubled in the 800 (2 minutes, 20.83 seconds) and 1,600 meters (5:13.12); Alex Miller won the 3,200 (11:55.65); Kyra Bellows took the high jump at 5 feet, 1 inch, Taryn Tempel the long jump (17-05.50), Breece Dreiling the discus (105-09) and Kaylee Kipp the shot put (37-06.50). Add in firsts in all three relays and it was a bonanza for the Lady Buffs.

The 4x100-meter (Alex Telfair, Kyra Bellows, Ashley Morris, Allison Harman) won with a season best of 51.27; the 4x400 (Taryn Tempel, Taylor Linenberger, Kayla Doll and Aileen Gurrola) also went for its fastest time of the season in 4:05.71, and the 4x800 easily won in 10:06.03, well off their season best.

Scott City sprint standout Kelly Wycoff captured golds in all three of her races, claiming the top spot in the 100 (12.903) in a photo-finish win over Dodge City's Brekk Flax (12.907), and then dominated the 200 (25.90) and 400 (58.68). Ulysses' Jessi Arnold won the 300-meter hurdles, outkicking Dodge's Brianna Bradshaw in a time of 47.75 (Bradshaw was at 48.53).

On the boys side, Holcomb's Heath Tucker had to battle Class 5A's Trenton Hammond in both hurdle races, only to come in second to the state's top performer in those two events, and also took second in the long jump (22-00.50) to Dusty Tempel (22-07.50), but gained a measure of redemption in the 200 meters where he outdueled Dodge City's Blaik Middleton and Greyson Tempel of Garden City. Tucker's winning time of 22.70 was just ahead of Middleton (22.85) and Tempel (23.43).

The Buffs' Nick Jauche won gold in the pole vault at 13-00. The 4x100-meter relay team of George Ross, Malcolm Howard, Dusty and Greyson Tempel were clocked in a season-best mark of 43.49 seconds.

In addition to Tucker's performance, the area's other top marks came from Ulysses' Ian Rudzik, who won the shot put with a toss of 49-04 and was second in the discus at 139-06.

Garden's Kayla Doll was especially pleased with her times, considering that her 1,600 came in the hottest portion of the day, and came amidst a busy four-event adventure that saw her run on the 4x800-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams that won.

"The mile (1,600) was definitely hot, and we haven't had that kind of exposure to that temperature, and it's good to experience that before we get to state," Doll said. "Today brightens my spirits because we've got a lot going on with a bunch of meets (3 in 8 days). Coach (Krista Linenberger) told me to push through the third 200 and to push like never before. It felt pretty good."

Doll, who is running the 1,600 for the first time this year, also said she liked her new event.

"I actually like it more than I thought I would," Doll said of the 1,600. "I was hoping for a 5:10 today, and that's still the goal. And now I feel it is more within reach."

Taryn Tempel's long jump was just three inches shy of her season best, while she recorded her long leap of the season in the triple jump (36-05), which came up 1.50 inches short of Dodge's Tia Bradshaw.

"We had some really good competition today, and it gives you a clear view of where you're at," Tempel said. "I'm feeling pretty good about the events. I didn't hit 36 feet in the triple until state last year. It's a nice board, kinda spongy. But I want to hit 37 and I feel like if I get it right, I can hit 18 in the long jump."

Wycoff, who won the Class 3A 100 and 200s a year ago, and now has moved up to Class 4A, said she thought the day went pretty well, but also said she knows she'll need to improve by the state track meet.

"I've been like super nervous before the meet, because I knew I'd have good competition in every single race," Wycoff said. "I've had a sinus infection the past week, battling some allergies — it's just been a tough week."

Wycoff's photo finish in the 100 was one of the most exciting and closest races of the meet.

"I really didn't know too much about her (Flax) because we don't see Dodge much," Wycoff said. "As far as I know, I'm about where I was last year, but I want to be better. I think I'm a little stronger, but I do have a couple of bad (running) habits that we're working on improving."

For Tucker, the day of multiple seconds was not so much a disappointment since he lost to the current Class 5A hurdle champ in Hammond and the 6A long jump titlist in Dusty Tempel.

But the Washburn-bound basketball player, who won the 3A 300-meter hurdles a year ago, said it felt good to finally win an event.

"It was nice to end the day on a positive note," he said. "I went off Greyson, and I didn't think I'd get him coming off the curve, but I did. I felt him off my shoulder. It's nice to win against really good competition. It almost felt like a home meet for me."

Ulysses' Rudzik, who has that rare combination of strength for the field events, and speed for the sprints, won the shot put with his 49-04, which is 1.5 inches shy of his season best. The discus is a first this season for Rudzik, while his fourth-place finish in the 200 (23.86) was the first time he had run that event this season.

"If I work on the shot put, and can get over that mental block of 50-feet, I think maybe I'll have a chance to place at state," Rudzik said. "The discus is new, and it's tough to really get the technique right. Being able to do both field and track events kinda balances out my day, so I enjoyed that part of it."

The Buffs continue their busy stretch on Friday when they travel to the Derby Invitational, which will get under way at 3 p.m.

Results in Scoreboad, Page B2.

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