Rolling right along
There's really only one thing better than being a high school state track and field champion -- being a Kansas University Relays champion. Emily Ballock can say she was both.
Ballock beat competitors from Kansas, Missouri and six other states Friday in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.56 seconds, her best this season. Ballock took the championship title in the class 4A state meet last year.
Coach Phil Katzenmeier said what made Ballock's KU Relays win so special was that she competed against the best of the best from all classes.
"For Emily to win the event ? that's just amazing," Katzenmeier said. "At least since I've been here Eudora has never had a KU Relays champion in any event. We've had state champions but not KU Relays champions."
Brittney Graff also had an impressive outing at the relays, placing fourth in the 3,200 race at 11: 06.9, also her best this season. The 1,600 relay team of Alisha Wingebach, Lindsey Slavens, Graff and Ballock placed 11th with its season best time at 4:07.78.
Just one day before the KU Relays, Eudora hosted its annual meet. The boys team placed second overall with 97.5 points, a little less than 30 points greater than the third-place finisher, Sabetha. The girls team slipped a little bit from previous weeks, getting third with 99 points, just behind Perry and Baldwin. However, the girls team was minus the KU Relays runners because of Kansas State High School Athletics Association meet limit rules.
Katzenmeier said he was very pleased with both teams' finishes and was extremely thankful for the community's support in putting on the event.
"It has to be said that it wouldn't have gone well without a lot of the help we received," Katzenmeier said. "We had great help. It takes about 60 to 80 people to run one of these off. That includes the junior high athletes moving the hurdles, the people in the press box, the concession stand and many other workers."
Individually, Justin Ballock had a strong day at the Cardinal Relays. Ballock swept the hurdles, finishing the high hurdles in 15.9 and the 300 hurdles 41.4. Both were his season best.
"Justin has done well for us," Katzenmeier said. "His hurdle times look really good right now and look especially good for a freshman. He's competed consistently in the hurdles and high jump. He's starting to come on -- he's won several of the races."
Rachel Pyle also performed well, placing first in the 200 at 27.4 and second in the 100 at 13.0.
Katzenmeier said Pyle was a strong competitor because of her drive and ability to run through the finish line without any slowdown.
Other key finishes:
Cody Burns -- first in the 3,200 at 10:27.9, first in the 800 at 2:08.5 and first in the 1,600 at 4:45.5.
Austin Hoover -- second in pole vault with his season best at 11 feet, six inches.
Kendal Abel -- second in the long jump at 15-1.5.
400-meter relay boys team (Stephen Prudden, Charles Mersmann, Cody Carlson and Schmidt) -- first at 52.8.
400-meter relay girls team (Shea Lounsbury, Abel, Dunnaway and Pyle) -- first at 52.3.
Eudora is scheduled to compete again at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Silver Lake. Katzenmeier said he was excited for the meet because it blends the varsity with the junior varsity team, giving each runner good practice.
"We'll see some more improvement hopefully across the board," Katzenmeier said. "Hopefully the weather cooperates, and we'll have a good day there."