Maloney, Jacobson, and 4x400 relay team take gold
The Marion High School track and field team has three state champions after the state meet Friday and Saturday in Wichita. Alicia Maloney won pole vault, Marissa Jacobson won triple jump, and the team of Jacobson, Katey Ehrlich, Kelli Hess, and Marshelle Mermis won the 4x400-meter relay.
The 4x400 relay team defeated second-place Cheney by almost a full second, setting a school record on the way with a time of 4 minutes, 6.27 seconds in the final event of the meet.
Jacobson staked the team to a 30 or 40-meter lead in the first leg, and Ehrlich ran the race of her life to keep the lead against the state champion 400-meter dash runner from Silver Lake. Hess stretched the lead back to about 8 meters in the third leg. A Hesston girl passed Mermis with about 220 meters left, but she showed her stamina and retook the lead with about 90 meters left.
“That had to be the best way ever to end the day,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “Our six girls (including alternates Kaelyn Thierolf and McKenzee Remmers) who were on the relay team have worked so hard for this that we were all just speechless, and then in tears, and then screaming for joy when Marshelle crossed the finish line.”
Maloney pole vaulted 10 feet, 6 inches, and was the only girl to surpass 10 feet. It was her fourth year at state, and her third year winning a medal. She missed once at 10 feet, but came back to clear 10-6 on her first try to get the victory.
“It was a special moment for a hard-working young lady who represented our school very well for four years,” Thierolf said. “She has been so consistent in the pole vault all season long. She was undefeated this year and she jumped against some of the best vaulters in the state all year.”
Jacobson triple jumped 35-10 to win by 1½ inches as a freshman. She also placed fourth in the 400-meter dash, 59.89 seconds, and 10th in long jump, 15-3½.
She was in fifth place before her final jump, but went out and had her best jump of the day on her last chance.
“She is so poised for a freshman,” Thierolf said. “The moment she walked in the stadium, she may have been a little awed, but she went out and competed so hard.”
Mermis placed sixth in the 400-meter dash, 1:01.85. Emily Schneider, Kelli Hess, Ehrlich, and Maloney combined to take eighth place in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 52.02 seconds. Kristen Herzet rounded out the state competitors for the girls with a discus throw of 95-5 to place 14th.
As a team, the Marion girls placed fifth out of 41 teams at state.
Kyle Palic placed the highest on the boys’ team, throwing the discus 148-3 to place fifth, but James Jones scored the most points for the Warriors with a sixth-place finish in long jump, 20-8¼, and eighth in triple jump, 42-3¾.
“(Jones) has been such a big contributor to our team for the past four years that it will be tough to not coach him anymore,” Thierolf said.
Thierolf added that Palic could compete for medals in all three throwing events next year, and that he is one of the top combined throwers.
Seth Snelling placed sixth in pole vault at 13-0, setting a personal record on the way, and Mason Pedersen placed 13th in the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.45 seconds.
“Mason Pedersen was the only underclassman in the 110 hurdles, and as he gets stronger, he will get faster in that event,” Thierolf said. “He has a great future in track and field.”
The Warriors finished in the middle of the pack as a team, taking 20th place out of 46 teams.
“What a great weekend we had,” Thierolf said. “We brought home medals with 10 of our 13 entries, and the ones who didn’t medal were first-time state qualifiers who hopefully will be back.”