Salina South’s Danielle Berry competes in the high jump during the state track meet on Friday, May 28, 2010 at Cessna Stadium in Wichita. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal)
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Cougars go 1-2
By LARRY MORITZ Salina Journal

WICHITA — As the competition thinned, Danielle Berry’s headache got worse.

The bar in the Class 5A girls high jump at Cessna Stadium had been raised to 5-foot-6, and Berry was one of three competitors remaining. The Salina South junior was already guaranteed a top-three finish Friday at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships, only a week after finishing third at her 5A regional.

“I was very nervous,” Berry said. “I was getting headaches about that time from being so nervous.”

That nervous energy wasn’t enough to get her over the bar at 5-6, but when the other two remaining contestants — South teammate Taylor Goodness and Mill Valley’s Jasa DuMontelle — also went out at that height, Berry was determined the winner using the tiebreaker system.

It was Berry’s first state title after finishing seventh in the event a year ago. Goodness was a state runner-up in the high jump for the second consecutive year. DuMontelle was the defending state champion and a former teammate of Berry, who transferred from Mill Valley to South after her freshman year.

“I think I surprised my coaches,” Berry said. “I’m very happy and I’m glad I’ve got another year. I’m going to practice, practice, practice and I plan on winning again next year.”

Berry started at 4-8 and cleared that height on her first attempt. She did the same at 5-0, 5-2 and 5-4, and didn’t have her first miss until the bar was raised to 5-6.

That proved to be the difference when Berry, Goodness and DuMontelle all missed on their three attempts at 5-6. In the tiebreaker system, DuMontelle fell to third place because of a miss at 5-4. Berry was then determined the winner over Goodness, who missed two attempts at 5-2.

“If it was going to be anybody else, I’m glad it was her,” Goodness said. “She works so hard and it was fun to see that.”

“That was amazing,” said Berry of South’s 1-2 finish. “Taylor’s form is really good and I have no form, just good jumps. That’s something I hope I can get better at next year.”

Goodness was nearly eliminated after missing her first two tries at 5-2, but cleared the bar cleanly on her final attempt. If she had missed on that third try, she would have finished no better than seventh.

When the bar went to 5-4, Goodness cleared that height on her very first try.

“It feels good,” Goodness said. “I was really nervous coming in and took second place last year, so I had high expectations. My heart was beating pretty fast today, especially on 5-2 when I got it on my last attempt.”

An all-league standout in both volleyball and basketball, Goodness closed her high school career with a fifth-place finish in Friday morning’s long jump. Her best jump came on her opening attempt when she went 16-3 1/2.

“That was my goal, to get on the podium and I did it,” said Goodness, who will play volleyball at Central Missouri State next year. “It’s cool to finish my high school career on a high note, and I’m proud to finish it that way.”

Suenram second in discus

Salina Central’s Sadie Suenram was a state runner-up in the 5A girls discus in 2009 and entered that event Friday as one of the favorites. But after fouls on her first two attempts in the preliminaries and a throw of 112-4 on her third try, Suenram was in sixth place among eight girls advancing to the finals.

She turned that around in a hurry. On the first of three attempts in the finals, Suenram let loose with a season-best 136-10 to move up four spots into second place.

“After what I had done in previous years, I felt like I was letting myself down,” said Suenram, a junior. “When I knew I had finally made it into the finals, the pressure was off.

“I had been rushing through things in the prelims and I needed to calm down.”

Suenram also topped 130 feet on her final two efforts, but couldn’t catch Great Bend’s Alex Hartig, whose throw of 144-7 gave her a state title in the discus for a third consecutive year.

“I was hoping to get the school record of 142-11 and I would have liked to get first,” said Suenram. “But I’m not going to beat myself up over finishing second to someone who is going to go Division I.”

The Mustangs also got a fifth-place finish from sophomore Taylor Swanson in the pole vault. Swanson cleared 9-6, only three inches off her season high. Central junior Bre Bennett finished eighth in the long jump (16-1 3/4) and will compete in the triple jump today.

Jones snares elusive gold in triple jump

Mariah Jones of Ell-Saline capped a successful first day with a win in her favorite event.

After finishing second in the 2A girls triple jump as both a freshman and sophomore, Jones finally got the gold medal that had narrowly eluded her the last two years.

“The triple jump has always been my favorite event and I’ve worked hard for it,” Jones said. “It feels really good.”

Jones had her best jump (37-5 3/4) on her first attempt in the preliminaries. That mark stood up through the next five rounds of jumps.

“When you get one like that on your first jump, it calms the nerves a little bit,” said Jones, who was a state champ in the long jump in 2009 and will compete in that event today. “You know it’s not over yet, but it makes you a little more confident.”

Jones had finished second the last two years to Oakley’s Dayna Kuhlman, and it was Kuhlman who was her closest competition on Friday, taking second with a 36-9.

“She’s a great athlete and a great girl,” Jones said. “We have fun competing against one another and it’s good to have someone pushing you.”

Jones also ran preliminary heats in both the 200 and 400 dashes, qualifying for today’s finals in both events. That included a season-best 1:00.64 in the 400.

Sacred Heart’s only competitor in action Friday was junior Ally Balderston, who placed sixth in the 3,200 run (12:21.26). Balderston will also run the 1,600 today.

Riordan, Donley take second

Sacred Heart senior Mark Riordan couldn’t complain.

Forget for a minute that he led after the Class 2A long jump preliminaries, only to fall behind Jayhawk Linn’s Steven Mann and finish second.

A few weeks ago he wouldn’t have dreamed it possible.

“Last year I didn’t even make it to state in the long jump, so coming here and getting second is great,” said Riordan, whose mark of 21-7 3/4 was just off his personal record 21-9 at last week’s regional meet. “At regionals, I got a PR by almost a foot, so something just started clicking.

“I consider the triple jump my event. I like it a lot more.”

Riordan finished second in the triple jump as a junior and has one of the top marks this season in 2A.

Riordan also will be running on the Knights’ 400-meter relay in today’s finals with Josh Windholz, Ryan Whelchel and Drew Diederich after they posted the third-best qualifying time in 43.99.

Sacred Heart also got a second-place finish Friday from freshman Cory Donley, who ran a personal best of 9:56.41 to finish behind Eric Ruth of Stanton County (9:50.85).

“I just tried to give it my all,” Donley said. “It was my PR, so I was really happy with that and I’ll try to do better next year.

“My goal for state was 9:57, so I beat that by a second.”

Donley will run the 1,600 today.

Helvey a runner-up

Southeast of Saline senior Michael Helvey exceeded 41 feet on all six of his attempts in the Class 3A triple jump, but his best of 43-6 3/4 wasn’t enough to overtake Calvin Kenney of Riley County, who won with a 43-10 mark.

Still, it was the first state medal for Helvey, who also has one of the top marks in today’s long jump.

“It was pretty average for me, but I’m pretty happy,” Helvey said. “I was pretty consistent today in the mid-43s and I’d say the long jump is my best event.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

While Helvey accounted for all eight of Southeast’s points on the opening day, the Trojans qualified well in the track preliminaries.

Ryan McMichael took second in his heat and posted the third-best time of 16.0 seconds in the 110 hurdles, then followed that with the No. 7 qualifying time in the 300 hurdles.

The Trojans’ 400-meter relay team of Trenton Collins, McMichael, Bryant Beneke and Helvey was second in its heat and posted the fourth-best time of 44.7.

Central, South advance

Salina Central advanced both its 400 and 1,600 relays to the 5A finals, while Salina South’s TJay Frank made it to the finals in the 300 hurdles.

The Mustangs’ 400 team of Ryan Ingrassia, Carl Bowden, Darryl Bowman and Devon James took second in its heat and qualified fourth with a time of 43.74.

In the 1,600 relay, Bowman, Jesse Wassenberg, Spencer Schrader and Ingrassia had a season best of 3:27.34 to take second in their heat and advance with the fourth-best time as well.

Frank was runner-up in his 300 hurdles prelim heat with a time of 40.71 – the third-best overall.

Additional SES Stories:
State cross country rankings
County sports: Saturday’s events at-a-glance
Back in the saddle
Near-sweep for Lincoln siblings

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