Heckathorne, Garcia lead Bulldogs at regionals
TONGANOXIE -- Junior Kelsey Heckathorne and freshman Heather Garcia helped the Baldwin High School girls track team to a fourth-place finish at Friday's Class 4A Regional Track Meet here.
The Bulldogs scored 59 points to tie Fort Scott for fourth place. Eudora won the meet with 91 points, Kansas City-Sumner scored 61 and Tonganoxie had 60.
"Overall we had a great meet, because once again we had our best marks of the season," coach Ted Zuzzio said. "All three relays ran their fastest times of the year. We had some kids we wished would have qualified, but we were in an extremely tough regional this year."
Heckathorne started her day anchoring the 3,200-meter relay to fourth place, good enough to qualify for state. Then Heckathorne surprised herself when she finished the 400-meter dash in third place, edging out two opponents.
Heckathorne's final event of the evening was the 1,600-meter relay. Heckathorne was again the anchor for the relay. She received the baton in sixth place, but a strong finish helped the team to fourth place and a spot at the state meet.
Garcia continued her running string with two victories and one second-place finish. Garcia won the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run, but finished runner-up in the 800-meter run.
Zuzzio said Heckathorne and Garcia each had big days for the Bulldogs.
"The 1,600-meter relay ran its fastest time of the year by five seconds, which was big," Zuzzio said. "Kelsey Heckathorne had a monster day. She ran a 61 and a 60 in the quarter. And, of course, Heather Garcia continues to run strong. She has her sights on a lot of hardware."
The other member of the 1,600 relay team were senior Missy Westgate, junior Amy Craig and sophomore Amanda Vander Tuig. The 3,200 relay team consisted of sophomore Kelsey Verhaeghe, Vander Tuig, Craig and Heckathorne.
Sophomore Amanda Vander Tuig said the team competed well, due in part to the weather cooperating.
"It was a beautiful day and we were able to get some events to state," Vander Tuig said. "Hopefully, we will do well this weekend."
Other Bulldogs that qualified for state include sophomore Kim Lester in the pole vault and Verhaeghe in the 1,600-meter run. Lester tied the school record at 9-0 to form a three-way tie for the record.
"Depending on the weather, I think we will do better than the average and hopefully we will come out on top," Lester said.
The Bulldogs will finish the season at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships this weekend. The action begins Friday at Cessna Stadium in Wichita and will conclude on Saturday.
"Once again we want to try and improve on what we have done all season," Zuzzio said. "We want to try and capture as many medals as we can. That's what it's all about. Just being able to compete in the biggest meet of the season is what we work for all year."