Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wristen: No excuses for absence of state track

January 6, 2011

Upon returning from vacation on Sunday, an inquisitive e-mail awaited in my inbox that held me accountable for a glaring omission during last week’s 2010 year in review package.

The inquiry was simple: “What about the Track team that won medals at the State Track meet?”

Yes, what about the track team? Why wasn’t it included in the Stories of the Year?

The answer is simple: I screwed up.

I’ll make no excuses for it and simply own it. While the top stories can be debatable depending on what sport you, your friend, son, daughter or grandchild plays for, some things are cut and dry. This was one of those stories, and I dropped the baton, so to speak.

The truth is that when it comes to high school sports at Bonner Springs High School, no team has been more consistent in recent years than the boys track squad. The Braves have fielded numerous strong relay teams and individual performers during the past few years. They’ve brought home a slew of medals from the state championships.

As a former track runner, I’ve been thoroughly entertained by watching the Braves speed around the track, whether it was when Jonathan and Jeremy Walker, L.T. Lee and Ian Briggs set the state record in the 400-meter relay in 2008, or watching a new crop of emerging stars break through in 2010. Their talent is undeniable, as is coach Jim Mitchell and his staff’s craftiness at putting their athletes in the best possible positions to be successful.

The Braves’ performance at state this year was one of their most impressive, thanks to the great strides they took in their final races of the season.

Senior Brooks Ballou set the tone for BSHS on day one of the state championships when he made a late charge and earned a sixth-place medal in the 3,200-meter run.

The next day, two relay squads composed of senior Clayton Rhodes, juniors Nick Carver and Cameron Callahan and sophomore J.J. Jackson brought home a pair of state medals. They sprinted to a third-place finish in the 400-meter relay and then nabbed second in the 1,600-meter relay.

Ballou and Rhodes both graduated last spring, but Carver, Callahan and Jackson all will be back to lead a team that will have even higher expectations this season.

I hope the Braves runners don’t take the oversight as something intentional, although I understand if they choose to use it as billboard material. I would’ve when I was a sprinter. Plus, I’ve seen how these guys perform when they’re motivated. It’s an impressive sight — and what they did was without question one of the top sports accomplishments for BSHS in 2010.

They have a chance to be even better in 2011.


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