Agony and ecstasy
For some, it was a great step on a longer journey.
For others, it was the unexpected end of an already long road.
Eudora's trip to the Class 4A regional track meet wasn't all bad, and wasn't all good. The end result, however, was that the Eudora girls again beat up on the competition and an elite group of Cardinal athletes will be making the trip this weekend to the state track meet at Wichita's Cessna Stadium.
First, the good -- there was plenty of it.
The Eudora girls tied for first, claiming at least a part of the regional championship for the third consecutive year. The Cardinals compiled 84 points to tie Augusta.
They were both well ahead of the competition, El Dorado finishing third with 56 points and Baldwin fourth with 55.
"It's just a great bunch," Eudora coach Phil Katzenmeier said of the girls team.
Most of the regulars are going back to state. Emily Ballock won the 300-meter hurdles and will be looking for her third consecutive state championship in that event. Her time in the event, 43.4, pushed the school record ever further and put her within a second of the state meet record.
She also earned state bids in the 100 hurdles, winning the event in 15 seconds, the 200 dash, where she was third, and the 1,600 relay.
Brittney Graff was twice crowned a regional champion, first in winning the 1,600 in five minutes, 24.8 seconds. She finished nearly six seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and logged the third best time among the state's four regionals.
She also qualified by winning the 3,200, where she had the best time, an 11:33.7 race that left her atop the state in the event.
"Brittney's running very well," Katzenmeier said. "She'll be fun to watch."
The Eudora girls also cashed in with relays. The 1,600 relay came in first in 4:05.40, the third best time in the state. The 3,200 relay was second in 10:20.30, the ninth best qualifying time.
The 400 relay got second, the stage in what it hopes is a step up from last year's end to the season. The team, comprised of all sophomores, made the trip to state as freshman a year ago, but fell a fraction of a second short of qualifying for finals.
Made up of Alisha Wingebach, Kendal Abel, Tianna Dunnaway and Rachel Pyle, the team has already best its time from last year. Friday's second-place performance at regionals set the school record at 49.8.
"This year they've run a second faster than they did last year, so that's pretty good," Katzenmeier said. "They have a little motivation because they didn't go to the finals last year."
Wingebach also earned an individual bid, placing fourth in the 100 with a time of 12.8. Allison Hoover too qualified for state, placing second in the pole vault, clearing nine foot, six inches.
Justin Ballock will represent the boys at the state meet having qualified by winning the 300 hurdles and placing third in the 100 hurdles.
But it wasn't all good news for the Cardinals.
Seniors Cody Burns, Joey Chino and Austin Hoover hadtheir chances at state fall just short.
Hoover failed to qualify in the pole vault despite clearing 11 foot, six inches, a mark that got four other vaulters in from other regions.
Burns, meanwhile, couldn't carry through the momentum he garnered last week after winning both the 1,600 and the 3,200 at the Frontier League regional meet. Two Frontier League 1,600 runners qualified at other regionals, and four 3,200 runners did.
Both Burns and Chino found themselves in the state's best region.
Burns was fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 4:36.1, nearly three seconds away from fourth in his region, but good enough for seventh overall among those that qualified.
Chino's 10:15.2 3,200 wasn't good enough at Santa Fe Trail, but would have slotted him ninth among all those that did qualify.
"The boys distance races were just hard," Katzenmeier said. "Cody and Joey didn't run horrible, but they didn't run their best, and they probably needed to to get a way out of that regional."