Foul first day for Buffs
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
WICHITA — At the end of what had been an utterly forgettable day for the Garden City High School track and field teams, it was left to the Lady Buffs' 4x400-meter relay team and senior Taryn Tempel to at least salvage a little bit of GCHS pride on day one of the 2014 Kansas State Track and Field Championships at Cessna Stadium.
The Buffs' misfortunes spread throughout both the boys and girls, but perhaps none had more of an impact than that of senior Dusty Tempel, who was seeking to defend his Class 6A state long jump title. With the first field of the event starting at 8 a.m., Tempel was unable to get a jump that counted in his three preliminary attempts, scratching each time.
"It's very disappointing for sure," Tempel said early Friday afternoon. "I thought my steps were on, I felt loose, but I just couldn't get back off the board."
Tempel said he couldn't point to any one thing that caused his jumps to be off.
"I thought I was ready, and it would have been really nice to get one in," Tempel said. "It would've been nice to go out with a win, and I think my last jump would have been good enough to win. Probably would have been over 23 (feet)."
As it was, his troubles seemed like an omen of things to come.
The Lady Buffs did post their fastest time of the season in the 4x400-meter relay as Taryn Tempel, Taylor Linenberger, Kayla Doll and Aileen Gurrola posted a 4:03.04 mark, the second fastest time in the prelims. And it left the group with big smiles afterward.
"Heck yeah, we got a P.R. and had the second fastest time," said senior Kayla Doll. "It's a big confidence boost. We needed that. It's a wake-up call for us."
The previous best mark by the group had been 4:05.71.
Gurrola earlier had qualified for the 400-meter dash with a personal best time of 59.49, the first time the GCHS freshman had cracked the one-minute barrier. Tempel, last year's fourth-place finisher, ran 59.91, but it was .08 of a second off the final qualifying spot. She then anchored the 4x400 to its fastest time of the season.
"When I saw the time, I just was in tears," said an emotional Gurrola. "I've been trying to get under a minute all season, and now I've finally done it. I was just so happy. Tomorrow's a tough race, but being the underdog, there's no pressure. Hopefully, I'll even run faster tomorrow."
Taryn Tempel did capture a pair of medals, placing sixth in the long jump (16-05.75) and seventh in the triple jump (35-03.50). Linenberger soared to a personal best 35-07.75 to claim sixth.
The day was complicated for the KU-bound Tempel as she had the triple jump final and the 400 prelims at the same time, and then later had the 4x400 and the long jump going concurrently.
"It was just reversed last year, so when you have that, there's not much you can do," Tempel said. "I didn't hit my marks in either event, but I'm happy to get some points for the team. The 4x400 really gave me a lift. When the schedule's like that, it's not gonna change, and you just try to make the best of it."
For Linenberger, the sixth-place medal was extra special, considering the 5-11 senior had only taken up the triple jump at the start of the spring season.
"My ultimate goal was to get a medal, and I accomplished that," Linenberger said. "It's icing on the cake. It's a great way to finish off the year. It feels good to get my P.R. (personal record). I thought I got on the board perfectly and had a great landing."
Senior Alex Miller improved on her 2013 performance in the 3,200 meters, placing sixth with a time of 11:28.10, just a half second off her season best. Chelsea Jackson finished 12th in 12:02.76, again off her season best mark by more than 10 seconds. Miller said she was pleased to have improved on her junior year placing.
"I'm happy with it, overall, the scoring points matters, and I felt good," Miller said. "I think I just let the group get away and the gap just grew from there. I didn't stay with them and I really don't know what happened. The gap happened in the blink of an eye. It was still in the back of my mind that I could pick it up in the last two laps, but they're gonna pick it up, too."
Junior Kaylee Kipp was unable to crack the top eight in the girls discus, finishing 10th with a throw of 111-02, 10 feet shy of her season best. Kaitlin Smith only cleared 8-06 in the pole vault, missing on the next 9-00 mark to finish out of the medals.
In the boys pole vault, junior Nick Jauche cleared 13-0 to earn an eighth-place finish and grab the last medal, the only point of the day for the boys.
"It's been a good season, and this is a nice way to end it," said Jauche, a junior. "Great things are ahead for me. Today, the key was getting upside down and shooting up better. I almost got up on 13-6, but just couldn't quite get it. I got my foot caught between the pole and my hand and I nearly slipped off."
Dakota Brungardt cleared 12-0 to take 10th, while Brian Rodriguez didn't make the opening height. High jump didn't go much better as Zac Karlin and Pedro Dominguez went out at 5-10 and Jesus Reyes just made 5-08. Senior Jacob Norquest had a heave of 41-09.50 in the shot put and failed to place. Freshman Erik Chaparro clocked a personal best of 9:56.34, but it was only good for 11th in the boys 3,200 meters. The boys 4x100-meter relay team, without the injured Greyson Tempel, struggled with a time of 45.07 and didn't qualify for the finals.
Olatha North led through five events with 27.
With six scored events, the Lady Buffs had 11 points, while Maize High led with 33 points and Lawrence Free State, the defending champion, had 24. But the heart of the Lady Buffs' team will be competing today — with Kayla Doll in the 800 and 1,600 meters, Miller in the 1,600, Katy Doll in the high jump and Kipp in the shot put. Gurrola will be in the 400 meters and then there's the 4x800- and 4x400-meter relay squads.
For GCHS head coach Mike Smith, the day that he had hoped would be full of promise, turned into a level of anguish and disappointment for his teams.
"All our early events, the field events, we didn't score much at all," Smith said. "Last year, our 4x800 got us off to such a good start, and this has been a team that is either contagious in a good way, or not so good. Today it snowballed the other way. We had some kids who performed really well, and it still wasn't good enough to place. That's what happens sometimes at the state meet. I'm proud of the kids for going out and competing. Still, some of our stronger events are tomorrow (Saturday). So there's still a lot to look forward to."
Results in Scoreboard, Page D2.