It’s all about the experience
Basehor-Linwood track standout Tiffany Waxmonski brings home
The Basehor-Linwood High School track team was only able to bring home one medal from last weekend's state competition in Wichita, but what the Bobcats discovered is that sometimes wisdom can weigh more than gold.
With three freshman, two sophomores and one junior, it was hard for any of the Bobcats to know what to expect. None of them had ever been to a state track competition before. But the awe-inspired Bobcats were going to give it everything they had.
"The whole trip was about them being able to see how things worked, how elite the competition is and to see how neat it feels to be up on there (on the podium)," BLHS track coach Leroy Scharnhorst said. "Being here as underclassmen will give them an edge for the next two or three years."
After making the long drive to Wichita the Bobcats found their way into some traffic, delaying the arrival and preparation time for sophomore Tiffany Waxmonski, who was competing first for the Bobcats in the 100-meter dash. She ran a 12.98, falling short of placing and well past her best time of the season, 12.33, which would have put her in third place.
"We wanted to give her some time to absorb the size of everything," Scharnhorst said, adding that the 100 is probably Waxmonski's best event. "I think if we'd gotten her a little more ready, she would have gotten a medal."
Despite her disappointment Waxmonski would have two more opportunities to medal, competing with the 100-meter relay team and individually in the 200-meter dash.
The competition was stiff and the 100-meter relay team, which also consisted of freshmen Brooke Sanders and Katelyn Witt and sophomore Shae Sawalich, failed to place, but Scharnhorst said they realized how far they would have to go to get to the top.
Freshman Cassie Lombardino also struggled, failing to place in the triple jump, but just like the others, Lombardino soaked in the experience like a dry sponge.
Scharnhorst believes that because of his team's success at this stage in their high school careers, big things could be on the horizon for these Lady Bobcats.
"Being at state they learned a lot about the desire to be better and the desire to prepare and work harder," Scharnhorst said. "They were already talking about what they were going to do different next year, work harder, get faster and have better handoffs."
A poor finish in the first two events she competed in had Waxmonski disappointed but not discouraged, and the Bobcats' best chance at medaling was still in her hands.
"We had a little talk, and I told her that she needed to have a goal, something she wanted to accomplish," Scharnhorst said.
Waxmonski told her coach that she was going to go for fourth place. After passing through the preliminary race with ease, she called her own shot and finished in fourth.
"She ran a much better race than her first one," Scharnhorst said. "She was a lot more focused and ready to go."
The Bobcats will look for Waxmonski to continue her leadership as the lone returning state placer next season.
The only boy to compete at state for the Bobcats was the oldest of the group, junior Dustin Weimer. Competing in the 800-meter run, Weimer set a new personal record in the race, finishing at 2:02.1, shaving two seconds off his previous best time. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to get him a medal, and he finished in eighth place, falling one spot short of placing.
"Dustin was disappointed, but he's always disappointed -- even if he gets first he thinks he can do better," Scharnhorst said. "He felt pretty good about his race, though. He knew he ran well, but he's such a tough competitor."
These Bobcats didn't head home with their tails between their legs -- they held their heads high. It's hard to win a competition as an underclassman, but now they've all seen what it takes, and Scharnhorst said the next few years would be exciting.