Archive for Sunday, May 31, 1998


May 31, 1998


— Kizzie Ricks rocks.

Ricks, a Lawrence High senior, won the 100-meter high hurdles, placed in two more individual events and anchored the sixth-place 4x100 relay to figure in 23 of the LHS girls' 34 team points Saturday at the Class 6A track and field state meet at Cessna Stadium.

Even a severely sprained right quadriceps couldn't keep Ricks from running three events after winning the high hurdles.

``She showed her true character,'' LHS coach Jerry Skakal said of Ricks, who is headed to Tennessee State next year. ``She's a special person. We gave her the option to run or not to run. She didn't have anything to prove and she doesn't owe us anything.''

In the high hurdles, Ricks defended her state title in 14.80 seconds, nipping Topeka sophomore Janell Wright by .04 seconds. Both hurdlers were even until the final hurdle.

In the 300 low hurdles, Ricks nearly caught Wright at the finish but placed second in 45.22 -- .04 seconds behind the winner.

``I wanted it,'' said Ricks, who won the event at state last year. ``At least I know in my heart that I tried.''

Following that race, Ricks aggravated her injury and was carted to the athletic trainer's table. Two hours later she was back running the 200, where she placed third.

``I guess with my leg I'm used to running one day,'' said Ricks, who missed the Sunflower League meet to heal. ``Having to go two days (preliminaries and finals) in a row may be a little stressing on it.''

Ricks, Laura Darnell, Meghan Graham and Betsy Willhite finished sixth in 4x100 relay (50.45). Willhite also scored in the 300 hurdles with a fifth-place finish (47.89).

Sophomore Chris Williams' victory in the 3,200-meter run accounted for all 10 team points for the LHS boys.

Williams, the Class 6A state cross country champion last fall, took the lead for good in the 3,200 after the third lap, overtaking Blue Valley North' Scott Loftin.

``He wouldn't let me pass him and I was getting a little frustrated,'' Williams said. ``He was on my heels most of the race. He stepped on my feet a couple times, but I didn't let that faze me. At the end of the race I try to take care of business.''

Williams faded in his other two events. He finished 12th in the 1,600 and 14th in the 800.

``I didn't feel like I had a very good day,'' Williams said. ``I really didn't like my time in the two-mile. In the mile I don't know what happened. I got myself so psyched up I kind of psyched myself out. I've had cramps all day. The heat got to me.''

In the girls' javelin, LHS senior Laura Rhodes placed second with a 129-feet, 3-inch heave to set a school record. She unleashed that mark on her first preliminary attempt.

``I'm really surprised,'' Rhodes said. ``I came out aggressive on that first one.''

The previous school record was 125-4 by Deanna St. Cyr in 1994. Ironically, the LHS javelin coach is St. Cyr's brother, David.

Rhodes, fourth at regional last week, didn't join the team full-time until a couple of weeks ago after playing soccer for LHS.

``I didn't think I even had a chance to do anything,'' said Rhodes, who practiced once a week. ``I came out for fun. Coach Skakal kept talking to me every day in gym class to come out. I finally said, `Fine, I'll do it.'''

The Lions' other scorer was senior Joanna Kueker, sixth in the 800 (2:24.18).

In the Class 5A state meet, Free State High's 4x800 relay team of Jamie Mitchell, Joyia Chadwick, Betsy Lee and Heather McCullough placed fourth in 10:05.26 for the second medal claimed by the Firebird girls. On Friday, Jamie Reed finished second in the high jump.

Free State's lone medal for the boys came in the 4x800 relay with a sixth-place finish (8:19.71) by Dane Johnson, Aaron Paul, Alex Roberts and Paul Dillon finished sixth.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is

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