DHS track team competes with elite
The De Soto High School track and field team participated in one of the Kansas City area's most competitive track meets Friday, the Shawnee Mission North Relays.
Although the Wildcats did not gain many top finishes, they were able to compete against many of the larger schools in the state. Sophomore Michael Allen, who finished fifth in the long jump, was the lone Wildcat to place in an event.
Freshmen Cassie Garza and Lisa Lamber both recorded personal bests in the 4X800-relay event while juniors Levi Azeltine and Jake Hodge also performed at their highest level in the boys' 4X800 relay event. Junior Paul Seaman cleared 12 feet in the pole vault competition.
The Wildcats will compete in the Kaw Valley League Meet Thursday in Tonganoxie. Coach Brad Qualls said the teams would do their best despite hardships the season has presented them.
"I'm kind of disappointed with the injuries and illnesses that we've had after a good showing at the De Soto Invitational," Qualls said.
On the girls' side, the Wildcats lost senior Tiffany Bernard for the season to a foot injury. Bernard competed in the long jump, triple jump and other relay and running events for De Soto.
The loss of the versatile Bernard will hurt De Soto's chances at Thursday's KVL meet unless other team members can step up in her place, the coach said.
Sophomore Julie Beck, who sat out the Shawnee Mission North meet, will compete at the KVL meet in Tonganoxie.
Qualls expects the boy's team to contend for a place in the top half of the league standings. He said Mill Valley would be the team to beat in both girls and boys, but he also expects Lansing and Tonganoxie to be competitive.
Qualls said several Wildcats had a solid chance of qualifying for the state meet May 25-27 in Wichita. However, they would all have to perform well at the regional meet in Tonganoxie.
Qualls said Allen, Beck, freshmen Nicole Husted and Mary Roellchen, and both the girls and boys 4X800 relay teams had the best chance of competing in Wichita at the end of the month.