Zaskoda, Linkul and Forvilly win division track titles |

Zaskoda, Linkul and Forvilly win division track titles

Steve Yingling, Tribune Sports Editor

SPARKS – Hard work and love of competition paid big dividends for Erin Zaskoda and Bob Linkul on Saturday. The Whittell High School track stars collected gold and silver medals at the Nevada 3A Division II Track and Field Championships Saturday at Reed High School.

With his three-sport prep career nearly exhausted, Linkul responded by defending his division discus title and surprisingly finishing runner-up in the shot put.

“Bobby is a prime example of what happens with work and dedication. The kid works harder than anyone,” said Whittell assistant coach Dan McLaughlin.

Linkul ran away with the discus title, with a meet-record toss of 150-6, more than 26 feet farther than runner-up Rory Sullivan of Manogue.

“I wanted to hit a big one here today,” Linkul said. “It doesn’t make it any easier (knowing that there’s a wide discrepancy between the top marks). I just keep thinking that anything can happen.”

And that it did in the shot put. Coming into zone as the seventh seed, Linkul improved with each throw and nearly won a second zone crown. His best shot put of 42-6 was just behind winner David Hadley of Dayton at 43-10.

“We didn’t even think he was going to qualify for finals in the shot and he PR’d and came in second place,” said Warrior coach Dan Makley.

Linkul credited McLaughlin for his best unexpected showing in the shot put.

“Usually we just work on the discus, but he pushed me and made me practice the shot,” Linkul said.

Whittell’s Joel Warnick and Matt Miller placed eighth and ninth, respectively, at 34-7 and 33-4.

With Aurora Terry and Sarah Sufka graduating next month, Zaskoda solidified her resume as the school’s next great athlete by qualifying for the state meet in the triple jump and 300-meter hurdles.

Zaskoda and senior Karin Kaleta were ranked first and second in triple jump going into zone, so expectations were lofty.

“We encouraged each other. We were like, ‘We’re going to tie for first,’ that was our thing,” said Zaskoda, a junior, who consistently jumped around the 32-foot mark before uncorking her best of 32-2 on her final attempt. “We wanted to live up to our rankings, and I was really relieved when we lived up to it. I wanted a new PR. I hadn’t broken 32 feet all season except for that once, so I’m very happy.”

Kaleta scratched on her first two tries before being advised by McLaughlin to move back her steps four feet.

“I wanted to do better,” said Kaleta, unsatisfied with her second-place mark of 31-10, which is a personal best.

Zaskoda, who pulled off what McLaughlin referred to as track’s cycle by finishing first through fourth in her events, overcame a stressful period where she almost was disqualified in the triple jump. The crisis arose because of a delayed start in the 100 meters, where Zaskoda finished third.

“They were about to scratch me, and I was like, “Don’t, it’s my best event.’ I guess you’re only supposed to be gone 10 minutes, and they were holding us over there. We had to wait 10 minutes for the race to even start,” said Zaskoda, who bolted back to the triple jump pit after crossing the 100 finish line.

Kaleta earned her third trip to state but first in the triple jump. Her other two state appearances have been in the high jump.

However, she was disappointed that she won’t have the opportunity to compete in the high jump. Her sub-par jump of 4-8 left her in sixth place.

“That was unfortunate. I wanted to do well in that event. I tried to change my steps the day before and that might have been part of it,” Kaleta said.

Zaskoda nearly won the 300 hurdles as well. She jumped out to an early lead, but Missy Safford of Lovelock took advantage of a rough hurdling section for Zaskoda to win in 49.84. Zaskoda’s second-place time was 50.92.

“I tried to get out a lot faster, because I didn’t get out very fast (in Friday’s trials),” Zaskoda said. “There were probably two hurdles that I stuttered on, and that probably cost me the lead.”

Warrior sophomore Luke Forvilly became the next in a long line of Forvillys to win zone titles. Forvilly long jumped a personal-best 20-10 to edge Hawthorne’s Keith Lawson, whose best was 20-6 3/4.

What was Forvilly’s secret to winning his favorite event?

“I got a decent night’s rest. I got to bed before 12 on a Friday night,” he said.

Forvilly also scored points in the two hurdle events, placing third in the 110 high hurdles (16.60) and third in the 300 intermediate hurdles (43.40). Teammate Mike DeLeon was seventh and eighth in those events.

Ben Johnson and Nathan Porter made strong showings for the Warriors in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs. Johnson, who was in second place throughout the first 400 meters of the 800, tired at the end, finishing fifth at 2:18.92. Porter was eighth at 2:23.55.

Johnson finished fourth in the 1,600 at 4:49.20, while Porter was again eighth at 5:16.80.

Whittell’s boys finished fourth with 78 points, as Dayton captured the zone title with 182. Considering their few bodies, Linkul thought the peformance was only made possible because of the commitment of his coaches.

“It was positive coaching. The coaches never gave up on us,” he said. “We went from the 40 people we had at the beginning of the year to the 15 or 16 (boys and girls) who were here today. Makley never laid back on any practices. He gave his heart to the team, and that’s all you can ever ask from a coach. He’s like a father to all of us.”

Behind Zaskoda’s 28-point performance, the Lady Warriors came in sixth with 48 points. Dayton made a clean team title sweep, accumulating 169 points.

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