Regional meet is Tigers’ last chance to make state |

Regional meet is Tigers’ last chance to make state

summit daily news
Special to the Daily/David Gidley

FARMER’S KORNER ” The situation is simple, really. Unless any member of the Summit High School track and field team finishes third or better at the regional meet this week, the Tigers’ season ends Saturday.

It’s been a shortened season, one in which five meets have been canceled due to weather, including Summit’s only home meet. For some of the athletes and coaches, it would almost seem like adding insult to injury if nobody managed to qualify for state.

But don’t bet on that happening. A number of SHS athletes have legitimate shots at cracking the top three at regionals and thus advancing to the 4A state meet the following week ” none more so than Katie Sodergren.

Sodergren, a junior triple jump specialist, took third at regionals last year and got some valuable, nerve-calming experience at state while finishing in the top 20.

According to the Tigers’ coaches, she enters the regional meet ” which begins today and continues Saturday ” with the best shot at qualifying. Sophomore Chris Rice, a 2-mile specialist who, like Sodergren, set a school record last Thursday, also figures to have a good shot.

“Katie, I expect her to get it,” SHS head coach Kristy McClain said. “She’s got more of a legitimate shot. Chris, I hope he gets it, but I expect Katie to get there.”

Sodergren wouldn’t go quite as far with her thoughts, but she’s optimistic as well.

“I feel like the competition in the triple jump has increased this year,” said Sodergren, who broke her own record by 7 inches last week, “so there will definitely be an element of nerves going in, I’ve gotta say; but I do have some confidence going in knowing that last year I did well at regionals.”

Rice qualified for the state cross country meet last fall, and he has a knack for putting forth his best performances late in the season.

“Anything can happen to that kid,” said SHS assistant Darren Brungardt. “He’s just got so much raw talent that he doesn’t know he has.”

Rice, a laid-back competitor with a borderline afro, said he’s only shooting to break the 10-minute, 55-second record he set last Thursday.

“I’m not exactly sure what to say on this one,” he said. “I was pretty excited to get the school record last (week), but I’m not exactly sure what’s going to go on at regionals. I’m hoping to break that time.

“I’d like to go, but it’s not as important to be there,” he added, saying he’d already quenched his initial thirst for state last fall.

As for the rest of the Tigers, junior Sharayah Dossett is a threat to qualify in discus, where she’s been a consistent top placer for Summit this season. It helps that she’s been coached by a familiar face all year ” her dad Jim ” after narrowly missing the state cut last spring.

McClain also said senior high jumper Braden Shoop holds an outside shot at state; he was a surprise qualifier two years ago as a sophomore.

Jenya Berino (2-mile run), Nadi DeJulio (high jump) and Stephen Ike (triple jump) are good bets to score points for Summit, even if their state chances are lower than their teammates’.

“We’ve worked as hard as we can and I know they’re going to put the best effort forth that they possibly can,” McClain said. “So we’ll just see what happens.”

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