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A last hurrah at state

‘It’s always fun when you medal in the last event of the last meet’

Staff writer

Patrick McCarty, James Jones, Brody Carroll, and Colten Johnson capped off the Class 3A state track and field championships and the season in style Saturday by medaling in the final event at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

The four comprised the 4x400 meter relay team, and qualified for the final by placing seventh Friday in the preliminaries with a time of 3 minutes, 32.47 seconds.

The quartet improved their time in the final, running a 3:31.51, which put them on the medal stand with a seventh-place finish.

“It’s always fun when you medal in the last event of the last meet, and to see them come out and do something we hadn’t done in awhile,” Marion head coach Grant Thierolf said.

Qualifying for the final race required juggling acts by two runners competing in other events at the time of preliminaries. Johnson was competing in pole vault and javelin, and Jones was in the long jump.

“There’s a case where being a wrestler probably helped him, because he’s used to being up and down. To have to be up and concentrated on so many things in such a short time is a testament to being a good athlete,” Thierolf said of Johnson.

“Our 4x400 doesn’t qualify for the final if Colten doesn’t run,” Thierolf said. “To sacrifice a little in the pole vault to bring home three medals says something about the young man.”

Johnson placed sixth in the pole vault with a vault of 13-0 feet, and sixth in the javelin with a throw of 165-08. He also ran the 300 hurdles, but did not qualify for the final, placing 12th.

Marion’s highest placer was second-place Alicia Maloney in the girls’ pole vault. Five vaulters attempted 9-6, and only one cleared it. Maloney tied for the fewest misses at previous heights to take second.

“She came within just a whisker of winning that,” Thierolf said. “She had some really good jumps in a really competitive field where six or seven girls were all equal.”

Field events were strong for the Marion boys in the regular season, and the Warriors had three state competitors in addition to Johnson and Jones, who took 12th in long jump.

Dakin Ledford captured third place in the javelin with a throw of 172-03, the highest finish among Marion boys.

Spencer Fugitt placed 13th in javelin and 16th in discus. Nicholas Meyer placed 15th in shot put.

“Nick and Spencer kind of got their feet wet,” Thierolf said. He said the experience of their first state meet will be beneficial heading into next year.

Jordan Hett was a double-medalist on the track. He was edged out by Joe Siegle of Fredonia in a furious kick at the end of the 1,600 to finish in fifth with a time of 4:41. In the 3,200 Hett placed fifth as well, running the circuit in 10:16.

Whitney Gordon collected her third consecutive medal in state meet high jump competition, clearing 5-0 before bowing out. Gordon also ran in the 100 hurdles, finishing 10th.

“We were hoping Whitney would jump a little higher, but for to place three years in a row is a great accomplishment,” Thierolf said.

Kadecha Gueary missed qualifying for the long jump final by less than 5 inches, settling for ninth place. Corey Shields placed 10th in shot put.

In the team standings, Marion placed 13th among the boys and 25th among the girls.

“We weren’t favorites to bring home a team medal. Going in we thought if we could score 20 on the boys’ side and 10 to 12 on the girls’ side that would be great,” Thierolf said. “We were right in that neighborhood. I don’t know where else our kids could have scored points.”

Thierolf expressed satisfaction with the effort put forth by the team.

“It’s fun to see them compete and give their all,” Thierolf said. “It was a pretty good weekend.”

Last modified May 31, 2012

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