Girls track enjoys best season
Looking back over the past few months, Phil Katzenmeier had quite a bit to think about as his 2006 Cardinal track team put the final touches on its season last week in Wichita.
An undefeated regular season schedule, record setting performances at nearly every meet and a state runner-up at the championships had the Cardinal head coach reaching for the right way to describe his team's incredible season.
"In a word, satisfaction," Katzenmeier said. "These are the best results I've had since I've been a coach. Now I'm hoping less people ask me where Eudora is. Hopefully a lot of people heard the name over the speakers down there."
The notoriety gained at state with every announcement over the loud speakers began during cloudy last days of March as the Cardinals returned many of the athletes that made the trip to last year's state competition.
Eudora sported a champion hurdler in Emily Ballock and a fourth-place relay team, which by any standard was a good year on the track.
But as the season got under way, satisfaction wasn't necessarily on the minds of many Cardinals who took to the track.
Seniors Carrie Lister and Megan Ballock both held school records for the Cardinals in what were a successful 2005 season, but each had more to accomplish in their final seasons.
Lister held Eudora records in three field events coming into this year and finished the campaign with three new records. Ballock replaced her record in the 400-meter run with an even better mark to solidify her standing in the Cardinal record books.
The new records were a testament to the work ethic Katzenmeier observed from his athletes the entire season.
"These kids continue to prove themselves," Katzenmeier said. "This is all a result of what they do 12 months a year. They never looked back and thought about last year when they competed."
For the Cardinals, not looking back proved fruitful for the girls team as the defending 300 hurdle champion Emily Ballock took the title for the second year in a row and took part in Eudora's runs to state relay gold.
Junior Brittney Graff added to the Cardinal record books in the 1,600 and 3,200, while taking part in Eudora's record-setting relay team that set a preliminary record at Wichita.
But as Eudora's returning athletes proceeded with separating 2006 from all previous years, there were some highlights among the new faces that took part.
The Cardinal 400 relay team consisted of a roster of freshmen that proved worthy of several first-place finishes and a first-time state appearance for Alisha Wingebach, Rachel Pyle, Tianna Dunnaway and Kendal Abel as well as freshman Allison Hoover in the pole vault.
The appearance could be summarized by the environment the team found itself in.
"Those girls are surrounded by some unbelievable athletes," Katzenmeier said. "When you have athletes of that caliber, it makes the underclassmen believe that what we're doing here works and that they have a chance to compete at this level."
While not quite as prolific as the record-setting girls team, the Cardinal boys made some improvements at season's end by getting repeat appearances at state from Nolan Smith and Cody Burns.
Smith finished the season by putting his own name next to the list of records the Cardinal girls had by grabbing the record in the pole vault.
"These kids worked so hard the entire season," Katzenmeier said. "They just kept after it and believed in the system they were working in and never got satisfied. I'm very proud of all of them."