Garcia survives busy meet to lead BHS girls
TONGANOXIE -- Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Baldwin High School sophomore Heather Garcia found the energy to win three distance races and help a relay place second here Friday night.
Garcia scored more than 30 points to help the Bulldogs place third as a team at the Class 4A regional meet.
"It was a good day, but so overwhelming," Garcia said. "It's been a long, stressful day. I get so worked up before any race."
Garcia won the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, before finishing the night off by anchoring the 1,600-meter relay to a second-place finish.
She began the day with the 1,600 and won it in 5:20.4. Three races later she won the 800 in 2:22.3.
After the boys 800 and two heats of the 200-meter dash, Garcia was back on the track for the 3,200. She cruised to victory, running 11:41.5.
"I was just going for place," Garcia said. "I tried just to relax, run and work the last two laps. I really worked that 800, because I haven't ran that a lot. Then in the 400, I gave it all I had. It was hard."
Her final race came right after the boys finished the 3,200. Garcia ran the final leg of the 1,600 relay that placed second.
"I just wanted somebody to catch me," Garcia said. "It was exhausting."
Coach Ted Zuzzio was amazed by Garcia's day again.
"You fire the gun and watch her run," Zuzzio said of Garcia said. "She's a gold-medal performer."
Garcia said the meet ran so fast that she didn't have enough time between races.
"There was no rest in between," Garcia said. "I didn't even warm up for a couple of the races. I just did a pick up and went."
Garcia is looking forward to the state meet this weekend, especially because it will give her more time to rest. Also, because Class 4A will run last in all distance events.
"The relay is something totally different, so that will be exciting," Garcia said. "I don't run early this year, so that will be better. I will also have more resting time."
Eudora won the meet with 103 points, Tonganoxie took second with 95 and the Bulldogs finished third with 72.
"Tonganoxie edged us out, because they got 65 points in the field events and we got 10," Zuzzio said. "Right now, we are getting it done on the track."
Garcia was one of four individuals to qualify for the state meet this weekend in Wichita. Junior Kim Lester had her second straight week of clearing 9-6 in the pole vault, tying her school record.
Lester won the regional meet Friday, as she was the only girl to clear 9-6. She will head to state for the second straight year.
Senior Kelsey Heckathorne qualified in the 400-meter dash. Heckathorne finished third in a time of 1:01.1. The other individual qualifier was junior Kelsey Verhaeghe, who placed third in the 800, with a time of 2:25.4.
"I am happy with Kim Lester vaulting 9-6 again and winning the regional," Zuzzio said. "That was big. Of course, Garcia and Verhaeghe had good days on the track. Kelsey Heckathorne ran a good 400. It was her fastest time of the year."
The Bulldogs were able to qualify the 1,600 and 3,200-meter relays. The 1,600-relay team of Heckathorne, senior Amy Craig, sophomore Courtney Harris and Garcia placed second. The relay team also broke the school record, setting the mark at 4:07.9.
"We got the school record, even though I ran one of the slowest times today," Craig said. "It's all right, because we made it to state and we still have room for improvement."
Zuzzio was thrilled to see the Bulldogs break the record and thinks it might happen again this weekend.
"It's pretty cool when you are still breaking school records," Zuzzio said. "My guess is we will break them again this Friday and Saturday."
The 3,200 relay team also finished second in a time of 10:03.1. The relay consisted of sophomore Madison Shoemaker, Craig, junior Amanda Vander Tuig and Verhaeghe.
"It feels really exciting, especially since this is my last year," Craig said of qualifying for state. "I've made it to state every other year, so it would have been disappointing if I wouldn't have made it to state."
Zuzzio was pleased with both relays this week.
"The mile relay ran good, but we still have some work to do in the 4x800," Zuzzio said.
Three BHS freshmen just missed qualifying for state. Corinna Papps finished fifth (49.6) in the 300-meter hurdles, Calleigh Durr placed sixth in the 1,600 (5:57.4) and Hannah Harris took sixth in the 800 (2:28).
Zuzzio was proud of how his team competed Friday.
"We didn't have any disappointments, but we didn't have any big surprises either," Zuzzio said. "We got it done and got a lot of kids qualified for state in a lot of events, which is good."
The Bulldogs will head to Wichita Thursday to compete in the state meet Friday and Saturday.
Both Zuzzio and Craig are excited about the weekend.
"I am really excited about the weekend, because we are going to bring home some medals," Zuzzio said. "If we get enough of them, we might bring home some extra hardware."
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Craig said. "I am going to go out, do the best I can and hope to have fun. It should be exciting."
Zuzzio hopes the Bulldogs can score enough points to place in the top three at state and place 2006 on the state banners in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.
"Our goal is to try and earn enough points out there to get our year up on the banner," Zuzzio said. "You can't tell what's going to happen, but we are going to go out and compete. That's all I can ever ask of them."
A schedule for the meet can be found at www.kshsaa.org/TRACK/tfstate.html and results from the meet can be found at www.tickertiming.com. Also check the Signal's Web site for updates on the Bulldogs this weekend.
400 -- 3. Heckathorne, 1:01.1
800 -- 1. Garcia, 2:22.3; 3. Verhaeghe, 2:25.4
1,600 -- 1. Garcia, 5:20.4; 6. Durr, 5:57.4
3,200 -- 1. Garcia, 11:41.5
300 hurdles -- 5. Papps, 49.6
1,600 relay -- 2. Baldwin, 4:07.9
3,200 relay -- 2. Baldwin, 10:03.1
Pole vault -- 1. Lester, 9-6
Team scores -- 1. Eudora, 103; 2. Tonganoxie, 95; 3. Baldwin, 72