Graff ready to challenge school records
Thumb through a copy of the 2004 Eudora Cardinals track and field handbook and you'll see quite a few names and quite a few accomplishments from last year's squad. But one name that seems to appear more often than not is Brittney Graff.
Last year Graff made sure her name was not left out of any list of records that might appear this year, and she hopes her name dots the list of Eudora High School's all-time greats.
As a freshman, Graff posted school records in the 1,600-meter run and placed fifth in the 3,200 at state. She also garnered regional championships in those same events.
This year the sophomore knows things could be a little different.
"Last year I didn't have much competition," Graff said. "This year I think that the competition will be a little better. People are going to be a lot faster this time around."
Competition aside, Graff's records are pretty impressive. Along with her individual honors, she also helped last year's girl's squad set a school record in the 3,200-meter relay.
"I like some of the team aspects of track," Graff said. "Even though you're competing as an individual in a lot of the sports, you still think of it as a team thing."
Although she competes in other sports at Eudora, track and field has always been her favorite.
"It's my favorite because it allows me to run," Graff said. "I've always liked to run."
Graff's interest in running began when she was in elementary school. She participated in a race that current cross-country coach Paul Boone had every year for the elementary school students.
"When I was in elementary school, Mr. Boone had these races," Graff said. "It was a mile 'fun' run and it was something that I really enjoyed."
Graff took that experience up through the school ranks of track and field, where she continued to get better and better.
The practice of the past helped the then-freshman become more that just a first year athlete.
"It was great having a freshman like her last year," coach Phil Katzenmeier said. "She takes on some leadership for us out there."
Katzenmeier has little doubt that his returning sophomore will have no trouble continuing where she left off.
"She scored well for us last year," Katzenmeier said. "She works hard and is determined to do her best out there. She'll be fine."
Graff's expectations will once again focus on being the best that she can be, which includes that all-important goal-a return to state.
"State was so much fun," Graff said. "It was such a big accomplishment for me. That's the goal for me and for everyone."
One would expect such lofty goals from a record setter such as Graff, but before state there's also a little unfinished business of the personal variety.
"There's a girl from Baldwin," Graff said. "She beat me last year in a lot of events. This year I'm not going to let that happen. I don't like to lose."