What does a track team do when their top two point-earners all season long have to withdraw from a meet? For the Marion High School boys’ tracksters, the answer Thursday was simple. Win.
Colten Johnson and Jordan Hett weren’t available to contribute all the points they have in previous meets, but the rest of the team picked up the slack and tied Garden Plain for first place in the 11-team Hesston Invitational meet in Hesston.
The Warriors scored big in the throwing events, led by first-place finishes in the javelin and discus from Dakin Ledford. Marion dominated the discus, with Nick Meyer placing second and Spencer Fugitt fourth. Meyer also nailed down fourth in the shot put.
“Our throwers did a great job. We had 38 points out of the throws,” Marion head coach Grant Thierolf said.
“They’re getting better as the year goes on. Now that we know who’s doing what at league and regionals, I look forward to those kids getting honed in on what they’re doing.”
James Jones picked up points with a fourth in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump.
Zach Hammond placed fourth in the pole vault. Johnson vaulted before withdrawing from additional competition, and placed fifth.
Patrick McCarty finished fifth in the high jump, the first time this year he has competed in the event.
“He hadn’t jumped over a bar in a year,” Thierolf said.
McCarty also took third place in the 400 meter dash.
Hett finished second in the 1,600, but had to drop out of the 3,200. But Timothy Knolla stepped up to earn points with sixth-place finishes in both events.
Marion picked up more points on the track from Brody Carroll, who placed sixth in the 300 hurdles, and two relay teams.
The 4x400 relay finished second, despite having to replace Johnson at the last minute with Drew Knolla. Thierolf praised Knolla’s effort in the race.
“The kid I was most happy for was Drew Knolla,” Thierolf said. “To come in and take Colton’s place in the 4X4 and to get the baton with a lead and hold that lead and keep us there, that’s a tough position to step into. He did a great job running.”
The 4x100 relay team placed fourth.
The girls’ team placed fourth in the meet as they started experimenting with people in different events in preparation for the Heart of America league meet.
Alicia Maloney captured the only first-place finish for Marion by taking top honors in the pole vault. Kelli Hess returned to competition and immediately made a mark by placing third.
“It was nice to have Kelli back. We’ve been cautious with her all year, but we’ve just got to start going,” Thierolf said.
Hess also placed third in the long jump, one spot behind runner-up Kadecha Gueary.
Corey Shields took second in shot put and fourth in javelin. Whitney Gordon picked up the team’s final points in the field events by placing second in high jump.
On the track, Katey Ehrlich blazed to a second-place finish in the 300 hurdles, less than half a second behind the winner. Gordon finished third in the 100 hurdles.
“I thought Katey ran the hurdles well. She attacked the 300 much better than she had all season long,” Thierolf said.
Kaelyn Thierolf continued to contribute points in both distance events, garnering fifth in the 3,200 and sixth in the 1,600.
The relay teams wrapped up the scoring by placing fourth in the 4x100 and sixth in the 4x400.
In preparation for the HOA league meet, many athletes have been trying out different events. Gordon is getting a look at the discus, and the 400 and triple jump are options. Thierolf has picked up the javelin, and Maloney has run hurdles and competed in the long jump.
“When you don’t have that many kids and you’re trying to win a league championship, you’ve got to put them in different things and say “Hey, you’re a good enough athlete, let’s see what you can do,” Thierolf said.
Marion will travel Friday to North Newton for the HOA league meet, which will be held at Bethel College.