The Norwich girls got nipped at the wire during the final event of the Vernon Ferguson Invitational Track Meet in Cheney on Monday, but that was one case where getting second place was not that bad.

The Eagle 4X400 meter relay set the school record in 4:24.05,  and enabled the team to come from behind in team standings to tie Sunrise Christian Academy, who did not enter a 4X400.

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While Sunrise has a strong relay team, head coach Kelli Brown opted not to enter them.
“My two fastest on the 4X400 were not full strength at all, and I didn’t want to hurt them because we have two more meets this week,” said Brown.

It turned out O.K. for Sunrise, though, as both teams shared the Division 1 title. The Pretty Prairie boys won the Division 1 boys championship outright, while Cheney and Garden Plain won the Division 2 boys and girls titles, respectively.

The meet was originally scheduled for Friday, but poor weather conditions prompted the Cheney school district to postpone the meet until Monday. While several invited schools – Oxford, Udall Central-Burden and Scott City – did not compete for scheduling reasons, it was worth the wait as weather conditions were ideal and many good times and distances were recorded.

“We still got a good meet, obviously,” said Cheney head coach Rich Simmons.

While there were two divisions at the meet based off of school enrollment size, athletes from both divisions competed against one another for individual scoring, but team scores were split among divisions.

The Norwich girls not only set a school record on Monday, but they also claimed a meet record. Eagle Makenzie Klaver, who ran a leg on the 4X400, broke the meet record in the 100-meter hurdles with a 14.78 clocking. She also won the 300-meter hurdles in 46.7 and the 100-meter dash in 12.61. Teammate Bailey Poe, who was also a part of the record-setting relay, took second in the 100 in 12.88.

“We had some great finishes today,” said Norwich head coach Don Hall. “We finally got some good weather to run. I was excited about some of the times.”

While Norwich was effective in a wide variety of events, Sunrise had most of its success on the track. They won every individual race from 400 meters on up, and took the top three spots in the 1600 meter run, with the three all finishing within 0.6 seconds of one another.

Abby Reed won the 400, Janell Kidd won the 800, Anna Heer took the 1600 and Sarah Heer was the winner in the 3200.

“We don’t really have many people in the field events,” said Brown. “Mid distances and long distances are definitely our strength.”

In Division 1 boys action, Pretty Prairie won the meet title, but the only event they won was the 4X400 meter relay. However, with a large team deep in all areas, the Bulldogs were able to easily defeat No. 2 Burrton.

Adding to the cause were second-place finishes in the 4X100 and 4X800 meter relays, Michael Mains in the pole vault, Keifer George in the triple jump, Justin Haflich in the 400 meters and Trey Tallant in the 1,600 meters.

“I told the guys that the reality was that if we could compete like we have, we’d probably win it. We’re a very deep team across the board. We had guys make the finals in the 100 and 200 and for a school our size to be competing against bigger schools, that is an accomplishment. We finished it off by winning the 4 X 400 and that’s a great feeling.

These are some of the best times we’ve run all year,” Bulldog head coach Jon Johnson said.

In the Division 2 boys competition, Hunter Veith was a quadruple winner, decisively taking the high jump, triple jump, long jump and javelin. The Cardinal 4X100 meter relay also claimed the gold, as did Cheney’s Garrett Keefe in the pole vault.

 “In the field events alone, we did well,” said Simmons. “It was a good day. There weren’t many events where we didn’t put someone in the top six, which is something you’d like to see. In the field events, we had two and sometimes three in some of them.”

The Garden Plain girls, who won Division 2, were paced by first-place finishes by Emily Puetz with a win in the shot put; Cadence Bourne’s first-place finish in the triple jump and a 1-2-3 finish by Noelle Dooley, Natalie Dooley and Puetz in the shot put.