MHS teams sweep league track meet

By Grant Guggisberg

Each year at the Centennial League track meet, the names change, but the results stay the same for Manhattan High.

Both the boys’ and girls’ track teams continued their streaks of dominance, with the boys’ winning the league team title for the seventh consecutive year while the girls’ made it five straight at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka Thursday evening.

When Manhattan head coach Jesse Woodard looked at his boys’ roster, he was reasonably confident the boys would come out on top, which they did by a whopping 64 1/2 points. But in the case of his girls’ team, he knew it would take a solid effort to turn back Emporia, which has finished ahead of the Indians at two different meets this season.

In the end, the Manhattan girls got just enough, edging Emporia by 4 1/2 points to keep the streak alive.

“Our girls are a lot younger than the boys, but they’re getting better each week,” Woodard said. “It was a really big win for our girls.”

Manhattan trailed most of the meet before getting a points boost in the 3200, with Alaina Schroeder taking first (11:06.27), Megan Ochoa taking second (11:58.23) and Alyssa Smith finishing in fifth (12:40.06).

“I think we were down until the two-mile, then Alaina and Megan and Alyssa scored a bunch of points to put us in the lead,” he said. “Emporia closed it a little bit with some pole vault results that came in kind of late, then we did just enough in the 4x400 to maintain our lead.”

Manhattan took seventh in the 4x400, with Emporia finishing in fifth to ensure the Indians would come home with a league trophy. Also bolstering the team score were the throwing events, with Kylie James taking first in the discus (124-10) and fourth in the shot put (33-11), while Stephanie Shanower took second in the discus (119-7) and third in the shot put (34-7 1/2). Ja Chel Wood took fourth in the discus (105-0) while Mykayla Moore was fifth in the shot put (33-4).

“In the throws, for us to get first, second and fourth in the discus and third, fourth and fifth in the girls’ shot,” Woodard said. “Those points really added up.”

Other top finishes for the girls included Sydney Harrison in the triple jump (3rd, 33-11), Schroeder in the 1600 (1st, 5:07.10) and Ochoa in the 1600 (3rd, 5:30.02) and Rachel Beach in the 800 (3rd, 2:32.51).

While the girls were sweating it out at the end, the boys’ team cruised past their league foes, leading pretty much the whole way, even without the services of Chris Martin, who was held out because of illness.

“I was a little worried heading in with Chris out,” Woodard said. “But I was very pleased with the boys’ effort. Everybody pretty much did what they were supposed to do, with a few pleasant surprises mixed in as well.”

Manhattan got a pair of meet records, with the 4x100 team (Henry Bieber, Tre Daniels, Patrick Guvele, Christian Mack) taking first while beating the school record again, this time running a 42.20.

“The 4x100, those guys are pretty pumped up,” Woodard said. “They’ve broken their own school record twice now, taking another two tenths off their time. That could be a battle at state, but they’re pretty pumped about that.”

Chris Melgares got the other record in the 3200 before debuting in the 4x400 a few minutes later.

“We put Chris Melgares in the 4x4, and he had just broken the meet record in the two-mile,” Woodard said. “So he had to turn around quick and he ran pretty well.”

Manhattan got big points in the distances races, going 1-2-3 in both the mile and two-mile. Chris Melgares was first in both races (4:32.71; 9:26.09), with Michael Melgares taking second in both (4:35.12; 9:53.55). Isaiah Koppes was third in the 1600 (4:38.16) while Jack Keeley took third in the 3200 (9:57.98).

“Obviously the mile and two-mile where you get 48 points in those events, because you go 1-2-3 in both — that’s unbelievably huge,” Woodard said. “And each of those three guys in those events should qualify for state.”

In the sprints, Daniels took second in the 100 (10.86) and the 200 (22.37), while Mack finished third in the 100 (10.87) and Bieber took third in the 200 (22.61).

“In the 100, Joe Reagan from Seaman is an elite sprinter, but for us to get second and third, I’m really happy for Tre,” Woodard said. “And I’m pleased with Chris Mack, who we’ve moved along very slow this year, he finally ran where he was running last year, which is great.”

Brandon Nowlin finished in first in the discus with a 147-11, while Sam Livsey won the triple jump with a 44-10 3/4 jump.

Other top finishes included Colton Wagner in the shot put (2nd, 50-5 1/2), Josh Haus in the javelin (3rd, 160-1), Jacob Harden in the triple jump (3rd, 42-4 1/4), Josue Alvarado in the 800 (2nd, 1:58.98).

Manhattan competes at regionals next week in Lawrence with state berths on the line.

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