Relay team, Weimer
The athletes at Friday's Bobcat Relays track and field meet weren't just working against their opponents and the clock, they were also fighting the weather. With the air getting colder and the wind getting stronger as the night wore on, conditions made it tough to set a lot of records or personal bests, especially late in the meet.
Still, there were a few highlights for Basehor-Linwood, including a first-place finish by the girls 4X1600-meter relay team and another by Dustin Weimer in the 800-meters.
Weimer ran his premier race in 2:11, well off his personal best but still a full five seconds better than his closest competitor. Weimer finished his first lap in 1:02 and ran the second in 1:09. He seemed to have plenty left for the final kick despite the bitter wind and the lack of any strong opponents to push him.
"He will run much faster with better weather and better competition," BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said.
The girls relay team, comprised of Emily Lackner, Caren Chellgren, Megan Tush, and Amanda Vitt beat out Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs to earn first place medals. It was the first time the four cross country stars had run the race together in competition and they finished in 11:11.
"Their time wasn't great, but it was their first race together this year and they won easily," Hopkins said. "They will all run together again at the next meet and we hope to continue to drop our time."
Although it was their first race together, the four looked like old pros. They had no problem with any exchanges and led the race from the second leg until the end. Tush also placed in three individual events. She finished fifth in the 1600 meters, third in the 3200 and sixth in the javelin. It was her first time in the throwing event.
The junior was back in eighth place after the first lap of the 1600, but showed her endurance, gaining ground as the race went on. She moved up to six by the second lap and held that position until late in the race, when she passed one more opponent.
Vitt also snagged plenty of individual glory, placing in three other events. She was third in the 800 meters, fourth in the 3200 meters and sixth in the triple jump, her first time in that event. The strong finishes by Tush and Vitt spurred the BLHS girls to a fourth place finish out of the nine teams in attendance.
"Our girls finishing fourth overall, when our entire team consists of only nine girls, was truly amazing," Hopkins said.
Hopkins added that the nine girls were still improving their times and would only get better, especially because none are seniors yet. Besides the members of the 4X1600 team, the Lady Bobcats also got points from sophomore Katelynn Witt, who finished second in the 200 meters and fourth in the 300 meter hurdles, and the thrower relay team. That squad, made up of Brianna Beebe, Kristy Kozar, Vanessa Malinowski and Melanie Bergstrom, finished behind only Tonganoxie.
The boys of BLHS weren't as successful as a team, but did have a few standout individual performances. Besides his dominant 800 meter win, Weimer was also on a 4X400 relay team that took third place. The other runners on that team were senior Will Peterson and sophomores Stephen Millison and Stephen Dyer.
Dyer also took on the 300 meter hurdles for the first time and finished third. It was a solid performance by the sophomore, especially since it was not an event he has practiced much.
"This event could be his best, especially as we work on his hurdling technique," Hopkins said.
With the weather not cooperating very well, the meet saw few record-setting performances. But Bonner Springs senior Emmanuel McComb did throw the shot put 49'6", which was announced as a Kaw Valley League record.
But for Hopkins and the Bobcats, the Relays were less about setting records and more about developing a young team and continuing to improve for the future.
"We will still experiment on the boys' and girls' side to find events different athletes can compete successfully in," Hopkins said. "In about two more weeks that experiment will be done and then we'll begin tapering their workload and weightlifting to try to peak by the first of May."
The next varsity meet for BLHS is Thursday, April 20 at Bonner Springs.