Seniors’ leadership drives track team’s success
The Eudora track team completed its 2003 season with nine athletes competing at the Kansas State Track Meet in Wichita. The meet provided a grand stage on which to culminate the accomplishments of the Cardinal team that left an indelible mark on the Eudora sports scene.
"I thought it was a great season," coach Phil Katzenmeier said. "We had a wonderful bunch of student-athletes. Working with these kids and the coaching staff was great. I hated to see the season end."
But the season -- and the careers of six Cardinals -- ended. James Barr, Kelly Campbell, Jenny Durkin, Greg LeRow, Dustin Moyer and Austin Roberts represented a collection of athletes and leaders.
"The seniors did a great job of being leaders," Katzenmeier said. "That's what you need from a senior class. They are all good people. Not just on the track but off the track as well. Their parents should be proud to have them as children. We were proud to have them on our team."
Barr was a definite standout among Eudora's strong senior class. He focused on the 800-meter run this year. Barr placed in every meet this season, including a meet championship May 2 at the Silver Lake Spring Invitational. He carried the momentum of his Silver Lake success into the Frontier League Meet, where Barr claimed the League championship. The senior then took second at Louisburg regional meet before finishing eighth at state.
Barr also lent his individual strength to the team concept, competing in all three relay teams.
"He did a tremendous job on all of them," Katzenmeier said. "Week in, week out he would pull them back from out of nowhere. The relay teams have a lot of medals because of him. I can't say enough about (Barr) and his effort for the whole season."
Jenny Durkin was another athlete of the class of 2003 who enjoyed a successful season. Durkin's biggest accomplishment may have been that she was able to compete at all. Durkin never missed a meet this year despite a stress fracture in her jumping leg. Durkin claimed gold medals in the high jump at the Baldwin Invitational, Bobcat Relays, Eudora Invitational and Silver Lake Spring Invitational. She took second at the Frontier League meet before claiming first at regionals. She then capped off a brilliant career with a fifth-place finish at state.
In addition to her high jump duties, Durkin participated in the triple jump. She grabbed gold at the Baldwin Invitational and placed at both the league and regional meets.
"(Durkin) has a lot of track experience," Katzenmeier said. "She had a little difficulty with injuries. Never missing a meet speaks volumes about her character and the type of kid she is."
Collectively the Cardinals set or tied three school records. Junior Anna Fernandez had a record pole vault of 9-6, sophomore Julie White had a record 33-9 triple jump, and the boys 400-meter relay team -- Barr, Moyer, and juniors Mark Lister and Joey Donahue -- tied the record with a time of 44.5.
The boys team claimed the year's only team championship April 18 while serving as host of the Eudora Invitational. They also brought home second at Silver Lake.
The girls finished second at the Eudora Invitational and at Silver Lake, adding a third-place finish at the Baldwin Invitational.
With 43 of 49 athletes returning from a successful -- albeit inconsistent -- squad, the future of Cardinal track appears bright.
Freshman Megan Ballock and junior Tighe Van Anne join White, Donahue, Fernandez and Lister as returning state competitors.