Wichita Call them the Golden Girls.
Ottawa's 4 x 800 meter relay team of Jessica Sylvester, Rachel Trendel, Kristen Sells and Bridget Morrisey earned the school's third straight gold medal in the event Saturday at the state high school track meet.
In 1996, an Ottawa quartet won the 5A title and, when the school moved down a classification last year, another Cyclone foursome set the 4A state record with a time of 9:34.17.
Ottawa completed the hat trick Saturday, winning in 9:56.64.
``I knew we wouldn't beat the record because that time was really good,'' said Bridget Morrisey, this year's anchor and the only Cyclone to run on all three relay teams. ``But I'm glad we won because it means a lot to Ottawa.''
The four girls -- two juniors and two sophomores -- have never seen anything less than a gold medal from the race. But the streak was in jeopardy when Morrisey took the baton from Sells in second place, about two steps behind Mulvane anchor Jackie Burkhart.
``I just thought I'd try to close in on her,'' Morrisey said. ``She was kind of dying.''
Morrisey took the lead on the last lap and cruised to the finish line.
``It's really good to know we did this as a team,'' she said. ``Three in a row is a big accomplishment.''
Morrisey (second) and Sylvester (fourth) took home additional medals from the 800-meter run.
Also celebrating a repeat victory Saturday was Perry-Lecompton's Heidi Yost.
The P-L junior successfully defended her class 4A long jump title with a personal best of 18 feet, 6 inches. The win came just a day after maintaining her triple jump bragging rights.
``I was ready to come in here and defend my championships,'' she said.
Her winning leap matched the best jump in 4A this year, yet it was hardly as expected as her victory Friday in the triple jump.
``I was ranked lower in this one,'' she said. ``Seventeen (feet) has kind of been my barrier this year, so it felt good to hit 18.''
Derek Tate won two silver medals for DeSoto. He was runner-up in the 1,600 and 3,200.
In the 3,200, Tate was winning virtually the entire race before Nathaniel Wheatley of Labette County passed him on the homestretch.
Tate pointed to his decision to wait until about an hour and a half before the race (7 a.m.) as the reason for the fade down the stretch, and his post-race troubles keeping the food down.
``I'm a little weak right now,'' he said shortly after finishing. ``I think I ate too late; I felt good for the first mile, but then it caught up with me.''
In the 3A girls' 3,200, Eudora junior Jessa Stein medaled for the third straight year. She finished fourth in 1996, sixth last year, and fifth Saturday with a time of 12:26.74.
Stein began the race like the starting gunshot, taking the lead before settling into third.
``I always try to start out fast,'' she said. ``I feel like if I can get a good pace going I can keep it up.''
Stein battled a strong field that included defending champion Amy Mortimer of Riley County.
``That's another reason I started out like that,'' Stein said. ``I knew some of the other runners were really strong, so I didn't want to fall behind early.''
Stein also ran the 1,600, finishing ninth in 5:57.00.
Tonganoxie's Bryce Downy finished third in the girls 4A high jump by clearing 5 feet, 2 inches. The event was won by Girard's Morgan High, who tied her own class record of 5 feet, 10 inches.
Other area medalists included:
- Baldwin's Megan Noonan, fifth in the 4A girls 3,200.
- Baldwin's David Pressgrove, third in the 4A boys 1,600 and sixth in the 800.
- Eudora's Allison Rose, fourth in the 3A girls 400.
- Eudora's Sherry Smith, fifth in the 3A girls' 300 hurdles.
- Oskaloosa's Mike Nation, second in the 2A boys 300 hurdles.
- Oskaloosa's Brandon Colcher, fourth in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles.
- Oskaloosa's Bryan Best, sixth in the high jump.
- Results in Scoreboard