Despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, the Manhattan High boys’ track team was able to pull out a team victory at the Seaman Relays in Topeka on Friday.
With just 73 points, Manhattan earned the win. The Indians needed a sixth or better finish in the final event of the day, the 4x400 to take top honors as a team. Manhattan finished sixth in the race.
“I’m very surprised that we won this meet on the boys’ side,” Manhattan head coach Jesse Woodard said. “Considering we didn’t have a great day in the throwing events — it wasn’t ideal conditions, because it started raining pretty good at 2:30.”
The Manhattan girls’ team took sixth among the 18 schools competing, finishing the meet with 50 points.
For the girls, Kaylee Kipp won the shot put with a 37-7 1/2 throw, while Stephanie Shanower won the discus with a throw of 126-2. Alaina Schroeder only ran the 3200, taking third place in a time of 5:12.50. Emily Liebe took second in the 800 in a time of 2:19.74.
“On the girls’ side, I maybe thought we’d do a little better, but we’ve been battling through some injuries here and there,” Woodard said. “We had some misfortunate dropping of the baton, not getting a good exchange in the girls’ 4x100, but I think it comes down to not having a lot of track time. Handoffs are something you need track time to perfect.”
In the two mile, Chris Melgares was the top finisher for Manhattan, though all three participants for the Indians had a personal-record time on the day. Melgares (3rd, 9:32.78), James Leblow (6th, 9:46.53) and Michael Melgares (7th, 9:47.03) all had solid times.
Woodard said several of his runners were limited to just one individual event because of weather. In the sprints, Christian Mack took second in the 100-meter dash behind Topeka High’s Duke Tibbs.
“Christian Mack took second in the 100 at 11-flat, with fully-automated timing, so that’s pretty darn good,” Woodard said. “The boy’s 4x100 ran their fastest time of the year to take first. We got lots of fives and sixths and fours.”
Manhattan also got a solid performance from Henry Bieber, who took third in the 200-meter dash.
“A nice surprise is Henry Bieber,” Woodard said. “He missed a week because he was kind of on a trip to see his brother. He’s just now getting back into it, but he got third in the 200 with a 22.88, which is an excellent time for him. He seems to be getting better each week.”
Evan Williams finished second in the 800-meter dash, behind Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Jackson Barbour. Williams finished with a time of 1:57.26, his best of the year.
“Evan Williams ran an impressive race,” Woodard said. “For two years straight, he’s been hovering around the two-minute mark. Right at two even. He just went for it (Friday), and this kid up here is one of the fastest kids in the state. Evan ran with him the whole race. I think he let him get away a little bit on the back stretch, but Evan closed it back down on the home stretch.”
Woodard said he was pleased with the way his team ran, despite the cold and rainy conditions, among other distractions.
“I think all of the coaches were fairly pleased with the results,” he said. “It was a late night — we didn’t get home until about 12, plus you take in the weather, and we have prom this weekend, you never know where their heads are at.”
Manhattan travels to Salina for the Salina Central Invitational next Friday, before traveling to Emporia for the Centennial League meet the following week.
“It’ll be a good meet,” Woodard said. “We’ll see quite a few Wichita schools, and I think either Dodge or Garden come out too. So there will be some good schools there. But we’re getting real close to where we need to be.”