Boys 1st, girls second at opening JC track meet

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Manhattan High Varsity track kicked off their season on Friday at the Junction City track meet. The boys team took first with 199 points — dominating the meet, as Junction City made second place with 109 — while the girls placed second with 127 points, beaten by Great Bend’s 209.5.

“I thought the team did a really good job of scoring points and a lot of different events,” senior Ben Mosier said.  “Overall, team-wise, I was proud of everyone.”

Manhattan had two boys medal in the high jump: sophomores Aaron Newcomer in first jumping 6’ 0” and Vincent Malone in third. In long jump, freshman Hanna Pellant and senior Talique Houston both took third, while in triple jump sophomore Alessandra Porres placed first jumping 33’ 4” and junior Collins Elumogo placed third. Sophomore Ejiah Strawn was MHS’s sole pole jump medalist, placing second. 

“I think the jumpers did really well,” junior Avery Larson said. “So I think we’re all pretty happy with that one.”

The team was equally successful in throws, with the girls taking two first place medals, senior Tuela Ilalio placing first in shot put throwing 35′ 7.25″ and sophomore Abigail Gruber taking first in discus throwing 117′ 0”. The boys also earned a throwing gold, with junior Kaydn Lopez winning first in javelin at 145′ 7” and sophomore Samuel Molt coming in just behind him in second. Lopez also placed third in discus. 

In sprints, the team had four 400-meter medalists. For the boys, sophomore Tanner Dowling-Burnett came in first with a time of 53.11 seconds with freshman Emmanuel Mortenson behind in 2nd. Sophomore Gili Johnson placed first in the 400 with a time of 1:00.35 and junior Jillian Harkin came in third along with sophomore Luke Brickei. Senior Braden Schomaker placed first in the 100 meters, running a 11.20, and sophomore Charles Morgan came in third. The girls had only one 100 meter medalist — Pellant taking first with a time of 12.96. Both teams were less successful in the 200 meter, with only Brickei placing second.

“I think everyone kind of has the base fitness to succeed and I think we’re a pretty well rounded team in a lot of different aspects,” Mosier said. “We just need that experience to learn what it means to compete and be able to push ourselves a little bit harder in races.”

The team had less success in distance. They had two medalists in the 800 meter, Mosier in third for the boys and senior Hannah Loub in second for the girls. Mosier also placed in the 1600, taking third, while senior Parker Dawdy also placed third in the 3200 meter.

“We weren’t really paying too much attention to the team scores,” head coach Kory Kool said. “We were just looking at each individual athlete and seeing what they needed to do for themselves and really trying to keep the big picture in mind. We want to progress but we have to do it safely and make sure that we’re not risking injury right now. So we held a couple kids out of a few events and didn’t take everybody not a priority to win these early meats. We’re just trying to set ourselves up to have the most success we can at the end of the season.”

Both boys and girls excelled in the relays, where all but one team — the girls 4×400, who placed fourth — took third or higher. The boys 4×100 runners — Schomaker, sophomore Ethan Samenus, Dowling-Burnett and senior Zach Hirschey — placed first, while the girls took second. The team also took second in the boys 4×400 and 4×800 as well as the girls 4×800. 

“I was really proud of a lot of our younger runners stepping up,” Mosier said. “In the 4×800 and the two mile I thought they did a good job pushing themselves even though it was the first meet..”

Varsity sprinters, throwers and jumpers will head to the Lancing meet on Friday, while distance and J.V. travel to Riley County. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Mosier said.  “It’s usually smaller schools at those meets, so that might not be quite as tough as this one that has some bigger schools, but they’re still going to be some fast runners there.”