Lady Buffs dominate in Ulysses, take first
By Kevin Thompson
By Kevin Thompson
ULYSSES — When it comes to the first track meet of the season, coaches are always looking to see where their teams are coming out of winter.
Garden City coach Mike Smith had to like what he saw at the Max Heibert Invitational in Ulysses.
His Buffalo program had a good showing as the girls took the team title with 216.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Dodge City's 147.
On the boys' side, the young Buffaloes finished a solid second with 128 points, 24 points behind Dodge City.
"Our boys, we don't really know our roles yet," Smith said. "We're young in a lot of events. We only have Dusty and Greyson (Tempel) back as far as experience."
The boys scored more points in the distance events at this event than they have in the past, but they gave up points in the hurdles with the graduation of Jonathan DuVall.
But they made that up in events like the high jump, where they went 2-3-4, and then 1-3-4 in the long jump.
"To start the season, especially with the boys, we think we can make a few adjustments on the relays to really help," Smith said. "We're going to be pretty young, though, besides those two seniors. But they're going to get a lot of good experience. They'll go to a lot of tough meets, and that's how we got better last year."
Dusty Tempel started his long jump season where he left off — the defending state champion won this event with a mark of 22 feet, 4.5 inches.
He also established his first-ever triple jump distance, winning that event with a leap of 43-01.
That latter jump was a good target jump, he said, and now he just has to get used to it.
"I have to work on my phases and my run-throughs, having the same approach every time," he explained. "I feel really good for the first meet."
He said he's been wanting to do the triple jump the past three years, but it wasn't until the summer when he got serious about it that he got the go-ahead.
Tempel said he felt good on the long jump.
"I've been working on that," he said. "I won state last year, so I wanted to come out strong for the first meet. I feel like I did that. I felt pretty good."
Tempel is on the mend from a broken elbow from a month ago.
"It's affected me a little bit, but you just have to go through it," he said.
He also ran the third leg of the winning 4x100-meter relay team that his brother Greyson anchored.
The Buffs held off Ulysses, 44.70 seconds to 44.75.
Greyson Tempel finished second in the 100-meter dash.
Garden City's Nick Jauche and Dakota Brungardt went 2-3 in the pole vault.
Erik Chaparro and Marcus Tula finished second and third in the 3200 meters.
Host Ulysses picked up early wins in field events. Ian Rudzik won the shot put with a throw of 48-09, ahead of runner-up Luis Sanchez of Hugoton (43-01).
Tregg Rodriguez took the high jump at 6-04.
The Tigers swept the discus, led by Hector Torres (130-09), followed by Rudzik (124-05) and Braden Bohl (122-00).
And Zach Miller took first in the 3200-meter run.
The Hugoton 4x800-meter relay team held off Garden City, winning in 8:38.32. The Buffs' Chaparro had taken the lead from the Eagles on the third leg, but it wasn't enough to withstand a strong final leg by Hugoton's Isaac Castro.
Scott City's Brayden Strine took gold in the 400-meter dash, edging out Garden City's Jesus Reyes.
Ulysses finished third as a team with 108 points.
Goodland was fourth, Hugoton fifth and Scott City sixth, rounding out the area team's team results.
On the girls' side, Smith couldn't be happier with the Lady Buffaloes. Not only did they dominate the team standings, they also dominated a number of events, some with a few individual surprises.
"I don't know where to start," he smiled.
Smith pointed out to a top-three sweep in the discus to start things. They duplicated that in the long jump. They swept the distance races and all three relays.
"I'm not wanting to leave anyone out, all the way through, you know what I'm saying?" he said. "It's a good feeling. I don't think there's one event we didn't score in."
Which begs the question, how good are the girls right now?
"We're excited about the possibilities," Smith said. "I remember five years ago when I took over, we got fourth and fifth in both divisions, so this is pretty exciting."
The girls are deep, he said.
Alex Miller won the 1,600 meters after running the first leg of the winning 4x800-meter relay. It was a contrast in styles.
The relay team broke its own meet record set last year by 12 seconds, running in just over 10:01.
The 5:39 winning time in the 1,600 meters was pretty slow, even for the first meet, Miller said.
"The first two laps were really slow. We passed (on the first lap) at 1:28 and I was like, that's almost a 6-minute pace," she said. "I was thinking we're going to have to pick this up."
She and teammate Chelsea Jackson took off after the second lap and cruised to a 1-2 finish.
"It was a fair time, I suppose," Miller said of her 5:39.23.
Miller also won the 3,200 meters in 11:56.72, just under four seconds ahead of Jackson.
As for the relay, Miller's 2:26 opening leg and Kayla Doll's 2:23 anchor helped establish a good opening time.
Freshman Aileen Gurrola and Katy Doll ran the middle legs.
Distance coach Krista Linenberger was pleased with that, especially with her team taking off from the rest of the field, winning by 33 seconds.
"It's hard to run out there all alone," she said. "For Aileen, this was her first meet. Katy had a bit of a leg issue, but it I thinks it's getting back under control."
Katy Doll won the high jump (5-4), leading teammates Lexi Hogan and Jessica Hinde in a sweep of the top spots.
Kayla Doll won the 800-meter run in 2:25.03, six seconds ahead of Ulysses' Chisholm Branscum and nine seconds ahead of Scott City's Megan Thornburg.
Also overcoming an injury was Taylor Linenberger. After breaking her hand in basketball, she placed third in the long jump, and then anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay by .01 seconds.
She out-leaned her Dodge City opponent at the end to secure the win.
"I saw her coming, and that was what I had to do to get the win," she said.
Her exchange was a bit rough, she said.
"I think it's a first-meet thing," she said. "We'll get better throughout the season. But we managed to pull it off."
Their time of 52.36 was a good start, she added, but they will get better, especially with a number of girls pushing to make the team.
"We have a lot to run so we have to compete every time we go out there," Linenberger said. "It's good to have that."
Her third place in the long jump (16-02) was behind teammates Taryn Tempel (16-07) and Alex Telfair (16-05).
Linenberger ran the second leg of the final event, the 4x400-meter relay. Tempel got a 4-second lead on the opening leg, that opened up to five after the second, and Kayla Doll and Gurrola made it a no-contest race from there as they won in 4:10.32.
The Lady Buffs took the top two spots in the shot put where Kaylee Kipp won with a throw of 37-06, while Jesscia Carrillo was second (30-06.25).
They went one better in the shot put, where Kipp won over teammates Brece Dreiling and Carrillo.
Scott City's Kelly Wycoff, the defending state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, continued her dominance.
She took the 100 meters in 12.93, an admittedly slow time, the 200 in 26.15 and the 400 in 58.96, ahead of Garden City's Gurrola (1:00.99).
Her 400 start was different from normal.
"I definitely went really fast in the first 200, faster than I would like to," she said. "My coach said I ran in the 200 in 26-something, and that's why it was so hard on the second 200. I felt it, for sure."
The 200, her favorite race, was her best. Her start was great there, and the race was smooth. She held off Garden City's Taryn Tempel, who ran a 27.22.
Both races were better than the 100 meters, where she said she almost guessed the gun and almost tripped at the start.
"It was kind of ugly," she admitted, but it was still a win.
Her 400-meter time was two seconds faster than the same meet last year, and it was where she was midway into the season in 2013.
She also ran anchor in the 4x400-meter relay, taking her team from third to second.
Wycoff's teammate Bailey Nickel won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.30 seconds and was second in the 300 hurdles.
Ulysses' Jessica Arnold won that event in 48.22, a full 1.4 seconds in front of Nickel.
Scott City finished third, Ulysses fourth, Goodland fifth and Hugoton sixth.