Braves bring home 8 medals from Wichita
The high jumpers had it last weekend at the state track and field meet in Wichita.
Although he was beaten for the first time this season, Bonner Springs junior Eddie McClain turned in a second-place performance, clearing 6 feet, 4 inches to bring home the top BSHS prize of the weekend.
McClain entered the weekend as the No. 2 ranked high jumper in Class 4A, and for a while he stood alone as No. 1.
When Jesse Deal, of Concordia, missed his first attempt at 6-4 and McClain cleared easily, the Braves coaching staff began to wonder if their guy would bring home the gold.
"That was pretty exciting," BSHS coach Jim Mitchell said. "Because he was in first for a while."
Deal, who had cleared 7 feet earlier this year, recovered in time to clear 6-10 and take the gold. That left McClain with second place, where he edged out Thomas Moore Prep's Joe Haberman, who also cleared 6-4 but needed two attempts to do it.
Overall, Mitchell was thrilled with his junior's showing.
"I thought second was definitely a success for Eddie," Mitchell said. "He loves to jump, he works hard and he wants to be the best. He almost was this year, and next year I think he will be."
On the girls side of the bar, junior Christina Delladio brought her A-game for the third straight week, clearing 5 feet, 2 inches to tie for fifth place.
For Delladio, who had twice come home from state with nothing, bringing home a medal was an incredible thrill.
"I don't really know how to explain it," she said. "I've been there twice before and came away with nothing and that sucked. Now I can finally say I've medaled at state."
So, too, can six other Braves, as Bonner Springs earned medals in three other events besides the high jump.
Senior Kevin Venerable brought home a seventh-place medal in the 100-meter dash, after running a time of 11.05 seconds in the finals.
Venerable, who missed five weeks of the season because of an illness, completed the turnaround with a terrific final three weeks. He took second at league, third and regionals and seventh at state.
Also taking seventh at state was junior triple jumper Anthony Brown.
Brown, who missed qualifying for the state finals in the long jump by an inch, ripped off a leap of 45 feet, 4 inches to crack the medal stand.
Rounding out the BSHS medal winners were the four members of the 4x800-meter relay squad that took sixth place.
James Carter, Michael Bille, Jon Baxter and Josh McConico turned in a time of 8:16.54 to earn the hardware.
Overall, Mitchell said this year's state meet was a fantastic way to put the finishing touches on an unforgettable season.
"It was definitely a good way to cap a special year," he said. "We overcame a lot of adversity this year with the injuries and not having a place to practice, and we had a great season. Everybody contributed all season and that's how it went at state we got a sprint, a distance and a jump medal. It was great."
It would have likely been even greater if the boys 4x100-meter relay team hadn't suffered a mishap during the finals.
After getting off to his best start of the season, sophomore LT Lee caught a spike on the track and tumbled to the ground just before his handoff with Josh Bailey.
Unfazed by the mistake, Bailey picked up the baton and made sure his squad finished the race. The Braves, who had ran the second-fastest time in school history during the prelims, would surely have medaled and might have challenged for the top time.
Spring Hill won the race with a time of 43.52 seconds. Bonner Springs' best time of the year was 43.5.
"I felt really bad that we had to end what was a great meet for us on such a sour note," Mitchell said. "That was sad. But the good thing is we'll have an experienced relay next year and I'm sure the school record will fall again."
On a similar note, senior thrower Emmanuel McComb, who medaled in the discus as a freshman, failed to qualify for the finals in both the shot put and the discus, ending a great career on a down note.
But Braves' throwing coach, Lew Kasselman, said McComb had nothing to hang his head about.
"Emmanuel just seemed a little nervous," Kasselman said. "I don't know what happened. But he had a good career. He was devastated by the way it ended, but he was still a four-time state qualifiier."