Lady Jags crack Top 10
MV boys struggle, but ninth-place finish marks best in school history for Mill Valley girls at state
The Mill Valley girls do not have any state champions, but they do have depth.
That depth and a bevy of broken school records led to a ninth-place finish last weekend in Wichita for the MVHS girls, the highest finish in school history.
The Lady Jags' depth proved valuable in the relays. Mill Valley made the finals in the 400, 1,600 and 3,200-meter relay races.
The 3,200-meter relay team of Whitney Hartman, Jasa DuMontelle, Katie Maybell and Kelsey O'Hara set a school record, running 11 seconds faster than their previous best, and finished in fifth place.
"I was tickled to death with these girls," MVHS coach Mark Peck said. "I was ecstatic with how well they ran. That four-by-eight was an extremely tough field."
The 1,600-meter relay team of Sara Exon, DuMontelle, Hartman and Kirsten Moore set a school record in the prelims and finished seventh in the finals.
Moore, a freshman, finished third in the 400 meters, as well. She finished behind two seniors and ran a school record 59.42 seconds in the preliminary race and then 59.67 seconds in the finals. She will be the frontrunner in 400 meters in the state entering next year.
The 400-meter relay team of Exon, Becky Newhouse, Jenna Gilliland and Briana Childs finished sixth.
Senior Elise Umbarger was the only MVHS girl to place in two events. She finished fifth in the shot put and seventh in the discus and set school records in both events.
"What a way to go out as a senior," Peck said. "That's what you want. You want your kids to go down there and give it all they got."
Peck expected sophomore Katie Bauer to place in two events, as well. The weather prevented that from happening. Bauer's two jumps in the high jump came during a downpour. She scratched on one jump and then after her second jump, a rain delay was called.
Bauer returned to the field two hours later and had one jump left. She scratched again and failed to make the finals.
"She has such a positive attitude," Peck said. "She said, 'Well, I still got the triple jump, Coach. I'll come back.'"
Bauer came back and finished fourth in the triple jump.
DuMontelle finished fourth in the high jump as well as running on two of the relay teams.
While the MVHS girls excelled at state, other than the performance turned in by junior Matt Sittenauer, it just wasn't the boys' weekend.
The weekend started poorly Thursday during Mill Valley's practice in Wichita. Senior Justin Woods has battled a hamstring problem since the Kansas Relays.
Woods, the defending state champion in the 100 meters and 200 meters, returned last week and won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at regionals. But after Thursday's practice for state, Woods felt tightness in his hamstring once again.
Woods tried to run as the lead runner in the 400-meter relay race and felt the hamstring tighten up and had to jog his leg of the race. After the race, Woods decided to drop out of his remaining events and went from favorite to spectator in the blink of an eye.
"I wanted to defend that title," he said. "I wanted to see if I could go for two in row. I was looking forward to that this year, so it hurt when I couldn't do that. It was kind of heart breaking."
Woods said he believed he would have repeated as champion in both races.
"I'm not being cocky, but judging off the times, I was pretty confident I could have beaten those times," he said.
Woods' times at the regional meet would have won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at state.
Sittenauer finished the weekend as the only male athlete to score points for Mill Valley's boys, finishing second in the long jump and fourth in the 100 meters. Sittenauer's 12 points for the team were good for 20th place overall.