Numbers work in Cobras' favor at NEKL track meet
From the start of the season, Jackson Heights track coach Lyle Alley has boasted about the size of his team and what it would be like to be able fill out an event sheet throughout the course of the season.
With the numbers on the Cobras’ side, the teams turned in some top-notch performances at the Northeast Kansas League meet in Winchester on Thursday, as the boys took third (by one point) and the girls finished fourth.
On top of that, several JHHS athletes turned in season-best times and new league records, leading to a great deal of individual success as well.
“I just think throughout the entire meet sheet that we have, we can look at that and say we ran our best yesterday,” Alley said. “We gave it our best and that’s what we ended up with, so we can’t complain about that.”
Among the numerous personal bests, one that stood out was that of Wyatt Olberding. Like his brother Cole the year before, he was held out prior to the league meet to mend from a leg injury.
In returning to action, all Wyatt did was turn in a season best performance in the triple jump, recording a mark of 41’ 7 ½” to win the event and set a new league record, just like Cole in the high jump a season ago.
“Not only did he win the event, he broke the meet record in doing so. Our meet records are only two years old since the league’s only a couple years old, but still, he certainly jumped well,” Alley said.
Olberding, a sophomore, was one of many young athletes to step up at the league meet for the Cobras, In addition, freshmen like Jason Parker, Braden Dohl, Dalton Chartier, Abby Williams, Kate Lierz and Hanna Davault all earned multiple points for the Cobras as they continued their impressive debut seasons.
“It is a big jump as a freshman coming in and I tell them all, ‘you have to wear your big boy pants and you have to compete’ and that’s the thing that I’ve seen the youngsters do. They’ve really bought into working hard and competing. I’m certainly very pleased with that aspect of it,” Alley said.
Some of those points from the freshmen were from fourth, fifth and sixth-place finishes, but Alley noted those can add up quickly to help a team.
What also helped was the leadership of some seniors like Seth Holliday and Kaitlynn Little once again, as the Cobras got individual titles from both and also saw Little set two new league records at the NEKL meet. Those seniors have been strong role models all season and continued to be rocks, along with Logan Wells, who earned points in both hurdle races after switching events in his final high school season.
“Those were events that we really struggled with and Logan stepped up as a senior and really competed and scored for us in those events where normally we would have had goose eggs,” Alley said. “My senior class, all of them just stepped up and competed well and that’s what you expect of them.”
Now, 17 of the Cobra athletes will get ready for regional competition and Alley said they will make their final preparations this week and hope for some breakthroughs in regional competition at Washington starting at 3 p.m. on Friday.
“We’re just going to go out and give it our best shot and let the chips fall where they may,” Alley said.