Story published: Friday, May. 25, 2012

The Olathe News

Gardner Edgerton girls duo grabs gold again at state track meet

Two-time reigning Kansas 5A state javelin champion Danie Plank didn’t simply assume she would win another title with Gardner Edgerton bumping up to 6A.

Of course, she hoped to win state again, but Maize freshman Keiryn Swenson served notice with her first throw – which traveled 137 feet, 11 inches – that Plank was going to have to work for it.

That mark put Swenson in first, but only temporarily.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Plank said. “Her best before state was around 130, so I was surprised when she threw so far her first throw.”

Not that Plank, who opened with a respectable 136-0, was intimidated. She answered with a mark of 138-2 on her second throw, which wound up being the best anybody could muster.

With that, Plank snagged her third straight state javelin championship.

“It was a lot harder, because there were some good throwers this year, so that feels great,” Plank said. “Plus, there was a lot of pressure since I won the first two times.”

Trailblazers senior Ashlee Bilhimer finished third (132-11) with Olathe Northwest sophomore Kayla Vermulm snagging fifth place (119-6).

Meanwhile, Gardner Edgerton junior Cassie Wait broke the Kansas 6A state-meet record in the pole vault, clearing 12-7 1/2 to crush the field.

She won 5A state in the pole vault as a freshman, but Wait missed state as a sophomore with a foot injury.

“I’m having surgery in six months, but it’s been long enough now I can deal with the pain and it’s still worth competing,” Wait said. “I missed it so much – just pole vaulting in general – so it was nice to get the chance to prove myself again and show I can overcome anything.”

BV Northwest senior Jodi Lambert finished second at 11-0.

The old record, 12-6, was set by Drue Davis, who graduated from Lawrence Free State in 2006.

Fellow Trailblazers junior Natalie Mitchell wound up tied for third after she and Janelle Wilgers both cleared 10-6.

Additional highlights

Among the boys, Olathe East junior John Blazevic had a tremendous sense of the moment.

Sitting in second place in the javelin, Blazevic uncorked the best throw in any class for the day – 192-11 – on his last attempt in finals, vaulting in front of Sunflower League and regional champion Eric Pinkelman of SM Northwest for the win.

• Olathe North sophomore Kai Rowden will have to wait at least one more year to nab the 6A boys high jump gold.

He cleared 6-8, which is good enough to win some years and in some classes, but BV Northwest’s Jonny Giess, who soared 7-1 in topping Rowden at the regional, won the title at 6-10.

• Olathe East junior Brenna McDannold finished fifth in the girls 3200 (11:25.07), while Olathe North senior Ben Anstaett wound up fifth in the boys 3200 (9:36.58).

• In the triple jump, Olathe Northwest senior Leslie Lindsey wound up third (36-11 3/4) and Hawks senior Jenny Pinkston claimed fifth (36-0 1/4).

There were two medalists in the boys triple jump led by Olathe Northwest senior Avery Parker, who placed third (45-7) and Olathe North senior Keith Achoki, who tied for seventh (42-10 1/2).

• Olathe South sophomore Braden Smith was fourth in the shot put (51-1) and claimed fifth in the discus (153-2).

Falcons teammate Mikael Camburako, a junior, was fifth in the shot (49-3 1/4).

• Gardner Edgerton’s boys had two long jump medalists with junior Anthony Seymour finishing third (21-7 3/4) and senior Colton Pevehouse winding up seventh (21-0).