On their mark, set
Cardinal track coach optimistic with season-opening meet a week away
Eudora's track season begins Tuesday and for Cardinal head coach Phil Katzenmeier, things couldn't be better.
The team comes off a 2004 campaign that saw eight school records fall.
"Last year we set eight records," Katzenmeier said. "That's something that had not been done since I've been here. It was something special to watch."
The Cardinals come off an equally impressive outing at the 2004 state meet, which saw them medal in seven events.
As Eudora heads into the 2005 season, it will return seven of those record-setting performers.
Gone on the girls side are graduating senior Anna Fernandez, who set a record in the pole vault last year with a 9-9 performance, and 3,200-meter relay record contributor Regan Sisson.
Sophomore Erin Kracl, who placed at state in last year's long jump and high jump competitions, will not return to the squad.
Despite those losses, Katzenmeier is optimistic.
"We have a solid nucleus," Katzenmeier said. "The girls should be pretty tough this year with the athletes that are coming back."
One of those performers returning for the Cardinals was also one of their top contributors in running events.
Junior Megan Ballock returns from a 2004 campaign, which saw her finish third in the 400-meter dash at state, as well as set a school record in the 200-meter dash.
Sophomore Brittany Graff returns from a record-setting freshman season. She set records in the 1,600-meter run and took fifth in the 3,200-meter run at state.
In the field, the Cardinals return junior Carrie Lister, who had an eighth-place showing at last year's state meet, and added her own school record in the same event.
Senior Julie White returns to improve on her 15th-place state finish in the triple jump.
On the boys side, the Cardinals lose school record setters Tighe Van Anne and Brian Schiller to graduation. Van Anne medaled in the 3,200 at state, and finished the year as the Frontier League champion in the 1,600-meter run. Schiller tied a school record in the pole vault, while finishing at the top of the heap as the league champion in the shot put.
"Those departures give some of the younger guys a chance to step up and perform," Katzenmeier said.
Seniors Brandan Helm and Steven Foster return for the Cardinals in the field. Helm medaled at state in the boy's shot put event, while Foster was a strong contributor in the triple jump.
As a team, the Cardinals look to compete with league rival and power Baldwin. Eudora finished first at the Eudora Invitational and Bobcat Relays last year, which came in early April. This year the team hopes to have that sort of success as the year begins, but the head coach won't be expecting excellence.
Katzenmeier knows the beginning of the year can be a slow time.
"When the season starts the expectations can be low," Katzenmeier said. "We try to use every meet to improve and build, so that we will be doing our best at the end of the year. And hopefully that end will come at state."
The Cardinals take to the track Tuesday for the Snowball Relays at Wellsville.