Whittell 12th in state | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell 12th in state

Steve Yingling

SPARKS – Track and field fans better get accustomed to seeing outstanding performances by the Whittell High Warriors at the Nevada 3A state meet.

The Warriors, who graduate only two state qualifiers, medaled in five of seven events entered as the girls and boys teams placed 12th in the Friday and Saturday championships at Reed High.

“These kids did everything we asked them to do. This was part of the process in learning that they belong in the upper echelon,” said Whittell coach Dan Makley.

Among the medalists were triple jumper Mark Witte, first, 43-2; Sarah Sufka, third, in the 400 and 800 meters; discus thrower Bob Linkul, third, 138-8; and 400-meter runner Jordan Trim, fourth, 52.79 seconds.

Witte, a senior, followed his zone championship triple jump performance with nearly a two-foot improvement on Saturday. He coolly rallied by improving his length on the final two attempts to earn Whittell’s first 3A title and set a school record.

“Mark’s a funny kid. He’s just totally focused,” Makley said. “He’s focused, determined and he has some natural talent to go with that.”

Sufka, a three-sport star and only a sophomore, handled three running events breathlessly.

“It wasn’t as bad because last week they were all in a row. Basically, I just focused on each event,” Sufka said.

Under miserable conditions Friday, she chugged to third place in the 800 meters in 2:26.34. In addition, she spurred the 4-by-400 relay team to a school record time of 4:16.44 and sixth place.

In less than ideal conditions – spitting rain and a cold, 20-mph wind – Sufka nearly finished second in the 400-meter dash.

“I just didn’t have enough left. I let a girl pass me at the end,” said Sufka, who finished .04 behind runner-up North Tahoe runner-up April Mancuso with a personal-best time of 61.31. “I’m glad I improved my time today and that was the most important thing.”

Hughes of Virgin Valley won in 60.57.

Most of Sufka’s satisfaction stemmed from a record-setting accomplishment in a team event, the 1,600-meter relay. During the course of the season, Sufka and teammates sophomore Ashley McClure, senior Skye McEntire and freshman Nichole Wasson shaved 11 seconds of the school record, including five more on Friday.

“I don’t care that our placing was sixth, we really improved,” Sufka said. “I’m happy for Skye. She ran her fastest leg (1:05.00) ever.”

Makley couldn’t believe their performance.

“I didn’t think they could run that fast. I was hoping they could run 4:17.”

North Tahoe posted a winning of 4:08.39.

Trim, a zone champion, held second place in the 400 meters until the final 10 meters and settled for fourth.

Linkul, one of seven Warrior zone champions, can take solace in knowing he is the highest finisher in the discus with eligibility remaining. Joe Speechio of Fernley had a winning toss of 149-10.

Kaleta, who won the zone high jump title with a mark of 4-10, exited at 4-8 at the state meet. Still, the first-year high jumper has two years of eligibility left to improve her seventh-place state finish of 4-6.

Makley summed it up best.

“Seven events, five medals and three school records. I’m quite happy,” he said.

Moapa Valley captured both the girls and boys team titles.

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