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Warriors send great eight to state

Michael Traum

Eight Whittell High tracksters were in a “zone.”

Now it’s time to make a “state”-ment.

Following last Saturday’s stunning seven zone championships performance, tops among Northern 3A schools, the Warriors are looking to conquer the highest levels of the high school ranks – winning at this weekend’s Nevada state finals.

Like last week’s zone event, the state meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Reed High in Sparks.

“Every person has a chance to get a medal. That’s what we’re going for,” said Whittell head coach Dan Makley.

Winning a medal requires a top-three showing. But comparing the Southern zone marks with the numbers the Warriors put up at zone, winning a state title is well within reason.

Leading the charge is sophomore runner, Sarah Sufka. Coming off winning outings in the 400 and 800, along with anchoring the girls 1,600 relay, Sufka is in prime shape to return home a state champ.

“Nothing ever comes easy. It wouldn’t be the same if it was just handed to us. It just so rewarding if you have to work hard to get it,” she said.

Sufka’s winning times at zone were 1:02.39 in the 400 and 2:28.5 in the 800. In comparison, the top marks in the South were 1:01.1 and 2:31.5. In both instances, Whittell coaches said the sophomore is capable of going faster.

Next in line is discus chucker Bob Linkul. Continual improvement marked the sophomore’s excellent season, which culminated with a winning toss of 140-5 feet at zone. The top Southern throw was 137-10.

Karin Kaleta has also come out of the proverbial woodwork, jumping 4-10 to win the zone high jump, with a trio of unfocused misses at 5-0. The sophomore, who had never jumped before this season and started the year with a best of 4-3, said she hopes to continue the roll at state.

“I’m nervous right now, but I think I can go 5 feet,” said Kaleta, whose Southern counterpart jumped 5 feet.

Joining Kaleta in the winner’s circle at zone was Jordan Trim. The junior sprinter cruised to 52.4 in the 400. The Southern time was 50.5.

“I’m looking forward to just being there, but I want to go and win it. I think about it every night and can’t visualize not winning,” he said. “I know there’s better runners. I just have to make sure whatever anybody else does, I do it better. But when I look back and know I did my best, I’ll accept anything I get.”

The 1,600 relay group of Sufka, Skye McEntire, Nicole Wasson and Ashley McClure took zone with a school-best time of 4:21.79. They’ll face a Southern best of 4:19.6.

“I really had no idea we’d be that good. It’s pretty cool,” said McEntire, a senior for whom this is the last chance to add a state track medal to her high school athletic career. “This is going to be my last lap. I’ll be pumped up. I want to go out and perform. Not just for me but the whole team.”

Mark Witte will also look to add to his zone title triple jump leap of 41-5. The Southern mark was 43-2.75.

Trim, Linkul, the relay and Sufka’s 400 are scheduled for Friday beginning at 3 p.m., Kaleta, Witte and Sufka’s 800 starting Saturday at 10 a.m.


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