Wildcats shine at home meet
The De Soto High School track team had a strong showing Tuesday at the De Soto Invitational, their lone home meet of the season.
The boys team finished second out of 10 schools behind Mill Valley while the girls finished in fourth in a field of 10. Many of the De Soto athletes competed in multiple events to score points for the team. In the boy's meet, Gardner-Edgerton and Santa Fe Trail tied for the third place while Turner High School finished fifth behind them. Gardner-Edgerton and Paola placed second and third respectively in the girls' meet while Santa Fe Trail finished behind the Wildcats in fifth place.
Coach Brad Qualls said it was important for the Wildcats to compete in different events to match up with the schools who have more athletes on their rosters.
"I've stressed to the kids that you can be a better athlete if you perform in more than one event," Qualls said. "Many of them have expanded themselves and tried new things."
Qualls also said the home meet boosted the team's confidence as it prepares for the league meet in Tonganoxie in May.
"It was fun to have a home meet and have the kids perform so well at home," Qualls said. "It impressed a lot of people."
On the boys side, junior Paul Seaman won the pole vault and multi-sport sophomore Michael Allen claimed a victory in the long jump and a third-place finish and personal record, 42 feet, 4 1/4 inches, in the triple jump. Freshman Pete Crall placed second in the 110-meter hurdles while senior Chris Dexter came in second in the 200-meter dash and third in the 100-meter dash. The 4x400 relay team of seniors Chad Johnson, Dexter, Seaman and Jordan Hobb also placed second. Other top five finishes included junior David Davis who placed third in javelin, the 4x800 relay team which finished fourth and Johnson's third-place finish in the 800-meter run.
On the girls side, senior Tiffany Bernard and sophomore Julie Beck placed first and second in the long jump. The Bernard-Beck duo also placed second and fourth in the triple jump event.
Beck, who is nursing an injury, competed in the Kansas Relays at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence on Friday. She placed eleventh in the long jump preliminaries and missed qualification for the finals by inches.
"Beck showed a lot of determination. She is battling an injury from basketball," Qualls said. "When she gets to be 100 percent there is no telling what she can do."
Beck's injury prevented her from competing in the triple jump, for which she qualified. Bernard, who also finished third in the 400-meter run, would have competed at the Kansas Relays, but she was not a member of the track team last season and did not have a qualifying mark.
Freshman Nicole Husted won the javelin event and Freshman Mary Roellchen was victorious in the 800-meter run. Other top five finishes included Ryan Frame, 4th in discus, Katie Davis, 5th in high jump, the 4x800 Relay team, third,and the 4x400 Relay team , third.
In addition to hosting to the De Soto Invitational, the Wildcats competed at the Cardinal Relays on Friday in Eudora. The boys placed eighth out of 10 teams, while the girls finished in 6th place out of 10. Bernard won the long jump and triple jump while Husted placed second in the javelin. Roellchen finished third in the 800-meter run and sophomore Kim Anderson jumped to fourth place in the high jump event.
On the boys side, Allen placed second in the long jump and Crall finished fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles.
The Wildcats will travel to Gardner on Friday for the Gardner Invitational.