Warriors go back for seconds at state track meet
State was a tale of two different track and field performances.
While Whittell High reached high into the trees and pulled down the luscious fruits from a trying season of training, the South Tahoe High Vikings needed hip boots to wade through the sludge of disappointment they encountered Friday and Saturday at the state meet in Las Vegas.
The Warriors’ Bob Linkul and Luke Forvilly brought home state runner-up medals to highlight an exciting season conclusion at the Nevada 3A meet.
“Everyone competed well. Nobody went out there and didn’t rise to the occasion. I was proud of them and they were proud of themselves,” said Whittell coach Dan Makley.
Viking coach Rick Brown only wished he could reiterate Makley’s feelings.
“The entire weekend was a catastrophe. Nothing worked out the way we hoped it would. But it’s one of those things we’ll chalk up to inexperience and youth,” Brown said.
Other than a fifth-place high jumping performance by senior Dawn Hock, the Vikings struggled in every event in the 4A meet.
The Vikings hit rock bottom when sophomore sprinting sensation Jake Hurwitz was disqualified for leaving the starting blocks prematurely in the 100 meters.
“You saw the time. Jake probably would have won the race,” said Brown, pointing to Arnold Parker’s winning time of 10.91. “That’s kind of an unfair statement to make, but the kid who won didn’t impress me of being overly fast.”
Linkul, a senior, ignited a fast start for Whittell by resetting his school record in the discus Friday. However, his record-setting toss of 156-7 was only good enough for second place.
North Tahoe’s Joey Lockridge broke the state record by flying his saucer 157-9. The old mark was 173-2.
“I’m happy for him. He’s the greatest guy I’ve ever thrown with. He’s always offered advice, and he’s a really good sport,” said Linkul, who will train with Lockridge during the summer.
“There’s nobody in the contest that was in the same league as that guy. In fact, he outthrew all of the 4A guys,” Makley said.
Linkul, a surprising state qualifier in the shot put, finished eighth as he heaved the 12-pound ball 39 feet, 10 inches.
“It just didn’t go well. That’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Linkul, who was saddened to see his prep career conclude. “Just the feeling of knowing I’m never going to do that with that great group of people again is really sad.”
Forvilly, a sophomore, was only two inches off his personal best with his long jump of 20-8 but had to accept second place as the winner went 20-10 3/4.
“Luke had to make a little adjustment because the runway was a little different than what he’s used to competing on, but all of his jumps were over 20 except for one,” Makley said.
Karin Kaleta also broke a school record. The senior triple jumper erased Erin Zaskoda’s mark of 32-5 with her fifth-place hop, skip and jump of 33-0 3/4. Zaskoda placed seventh at 31-10 1/4.
“Karin’s as happy as a clam. She gets to hold the record, and we’ll see if Erin can get it back next year,” Makley said. “They were really supportive of each other during and after the competition. They are a couple of quality girls.”
Zaskoda’s first state meet was hindered by having to simultaneously compete in two events. After warming up and expecting to compete in the triple jump first, the event’s delay instead pushed Zaskoda into the 300 intermediate hurdles. She responded with a seventh-place time of 52.50, just off her personal-best 50.92 set at zone.
Watching Linkul and Kaleta compete in their final meet and already knowing that injured Sarah Sufka’s career was over before the zone meet left lasting impressions on Makley.
“They are all pretty quiet, but they will give you the most wonderful example of how athletes train that you’ll ever find,” Makley said. “Nobody works harder than Bob (Linkul). He’s out before practice and after practice. You can hardly drag him off the field.”
Hurwitz’s ill-timed false start could have been attributed to the three-point stance by Cimarron Memorial’s Parker next to him.
“He had this three-point stance that Ben Johnson made famous, and when he raised his arm back, that threw Jake off. It was perfectly legitimate what the kid was doing, but that’s the first time Jake’s ever seen that,” Brown said. “The kid hasn’t false started in two years, and he chose this time to do it. It’s tough.”
Parker won the 100 in 10.91 seconds, .11 slower than Hurwitz’s winning zone time of 10.80.
South Tahoe’s other zone champion, James Clemmer, also struggled at state. The junior, who bounded 6-4 to win zone, could only clear the opening height at 6-0.
“I can’t explain it. One thing about track and field is you never know at the starting line or approach mark what’s going to happen because so many things can happen,” Brown said.
The Vikings’ 3,200-meter relay team of Manuel Lomeli, Grant Carter, Matt Arzio and Jeff Cosmi, which finished second at zone, placed eighth at state with a time of 8 minutes, 30 seconds.
The 800 meters didn’t go much better for Arzio and Carter, who finished seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 2:04.24 and 2:07.23.
“They got sucked in with somebody going out with a blistering 52-second first lap and had nothing left at the end,” Brown said. “But the good part is that the guys who beat them are all seniors.”
Hock capped her four-year track and field career by high jumping 5 feet to finish fifth.
“She’s one of those kids you wish you had a dozen of them. She works so hard and is so levelheaded. So I was really happy she was able to beat all of the girls from the North,” Brown said.
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