Brian Cooper thinks he may be coaching an eventual state champion track team on one condition.
"If they stay out," said Cooper, the Lawrence West Junior High girls coach, "they'll be real competitive. But the tough thing with girls is that it's hard to keep them out. It's real tough to keep them interested.
"The Lawrence ninth grade girls are real strong. This class is the best I've seen. If they stay together, Lawrence High could easily have a state championship team."
West's girls were champions on a smaller scale Tuesday. The Warhawks won the city junior high meet with 58 points. South was second with 52 points and Central finished with 32 points.
West also won the boys' portion with 59 points. South (50 points) was second and Central third with 46. The meet, though hosted by Central, was held at West.
"WE HAD a lot of kids out this year," Cooper said, "and, it's pretty much been tradition here. We've had some pretty good athletes. The seventh graders have seen the ninth graders win and they want to do the same."
West boys coach Tom Hoisington credited balance, not tradition, with his team's win.
"I got to looking at the results," he said, "and I saw five individual firsts (for West athletes). But, I also saw eight fourths. This was a real team effort."
WEST'S BOYS had two double individual winners. Brian Martin won the 440-yard dash in 57.56 and the long jump in 18-8 , and David Rynders won the mile run in 5:12.79 and the 880 in 2:16.91.
"Brian Martin, in addition to winning two events, ran on the winning mile relay," Hoisington said. "He picked up the 50 yards we'd lost. He had a marvelous performance. And, David Rynders had a good day. I thought they did well."
South had a double winner in Kim Buchleitner. She won the 100 in 12.16 and the 220 in 27.99.
Central's Alicia Rooman, who won the 880 in 2:42.71 and the mile in 6:15.54, was the Mustangs' only girls double winner.
"Our field events are still real week," Cooper said. "But our mile relay team ran better today. That's the first time we've beaten South in that and in the medley relay.
"But all the Lawrence girls are real close. We went to a meet at Shawnee Heights last Thursday and the Lawrence girls went 1-2-3. I think that's the first time for Lawrence's girls."
Hoisington echoed those sentiments.
"WE'RE ALL pretty even this year," he said. "At Shawnee Heights, the girls went 1-2-3 and the boys went 1-2-4. Again, it's just a good, strong, team effort."
Interestingly, South dominated the field events, winning six of eight total events.
Travis Green won the shot put, Charlie Nadvornik the discus and Mike Walters the pole vault. Jill Oelschlager won the long jump, Twyla Blackbird the shot put and Renee Strnad the discus.
Jason Goolsby and Jennifer Trapp of Central avoided the sweep by winning both high jump events.