After a couple run-throughs Thursday, Dennis and the rest of the Louisburg girls’ track and field team competed Friday in Paola. Dennis wasn’t sure what to expect after a lack of practice due to weather.
Apparently Dennis didn’t need a whole lot of practice.
The Louisburg senior won the pole vault competition after she cleared 10 feet, which is a new personal record for her, and she did it in her first meet of the season.
“It is so awesome,” Dennis said. “I haven’t had a chance to practice a lot and went outside on Thursday, so I was kind of nervous. But when I went over that bar at 10 feet, it was a great feeling. It kind of surprised me a little.”
Along with Dennis, the rest of the Lady Cats put together a strong showing as they finished second in the team standings with 73 points. Paola won the meet with 189 points and is the defending state champion.
“Being the first meet of the year, you do not really have an idea what will happen,” Louisburg coach Wayne Whiting said. “In all, we had some really good things take place. We now have a starting point and from here on out we are looking to improve. We are very pleased to take second place, and hopefully we can continue to work hard and get into better shape.”
Dennis wasn’t the only Lady Cat to record a personal record on the day.
Junior Nicole Hopkins put together the best throw of her career in the javelin. Hopkins finished in first place with a throw of 124 feet, 11 inches and beat the nearest competitor by more than five feet.
Hopkins’ teammate, senior Katheryn Dixon, also performed well as she threw 107-7 and took third.
“Throwing so well at the first meet was great for her,” Whiting said of Hopkins. “The javelin throwers are very competitive young ladies, and I think they will continue to get better and push each other. We have high hopes that they will do good things all year.”
On the track, Louisburg’s 4×400-meter relay team of Michelle Henry, Bailey Dvorak, Lauren Dunn and Ashley Ruder finished runner-up with a time of 4 minutes, 30 seconds and edged Eudora at the finish line to take silver.
Henry also got off to a good start in the 400-meter dash, finishing third in 1:07. The 4×100-meter relay of Brook Vaughan, Megan Lemke, Dennis and Ruder also took third in 53.4 seconds.
Dunn came in fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in 53.6 seconds, while Vaughan finished fifth in the 100 (17.6) and 300 hurdles (54.7). Dennis was fifth in the 100 dash (13.2) and Rylee Bergh was sixth in the 1,600-meter run (6:11).
Kalli Morland, Sarah Purdon, Bergh and Henry also competed in the 4×800 relay (11:43) and came in fifth.
“Our times were not that impressive, but we are not in shape, and we have not had the best of weather to practice in yet,” Whiting said. “We have several of these young ladies that do multiple events, so we have not had the proper time to work together and run to get in shape.”
In the field events, senior Carlie Hurst scored some big points for Louisburg as she took third in the triple jump with a mark of 33-3.5. Dvorak also scored points in the high jump after she cleared 5-0 to finish sixth.
Louisburg returns to action Thursday when they travel to the Anderson County Invitational in Garnett.