Pioneers come up six points shy of league title; Saint Mary taking two to NAIA National Championships

With its final tuneup before postseason action, the Leavenworth track teams participated in its Sunflower League meet over the weekend.
On Friday, the Pioneers boys came in second while the Lady Pioneers took gold in two different events, which was good enough to pace them to a seventh-place team finish.
“We came in second by just six points and that is a pretty good day at the office,” LV boys coach Willis Willmeth said. “We got a lot of points from a lot of different places and that has been the key for us this season.”
Highlights for the Leavenworth boys included John Warren winning the 110 hurdles and triple jump while taking second in the 300 hurdles and third in the long jump. Jared Belardo was golden in the long jump and Isaiah Ross snatched silver in the high jump.
Other Leavenworth silver medals went to Willie Morrison (disc), Da'Quan Blake (shot put) and the team's 4x100 relay team — Davante Butler, Ross, Josh Williamson and Sanchez Williams.
For the Lady Pioneers, who entered the meet shorthanded due to several key injuries, the noteworthy placements started with the throwers. Rachel Blackburn won gold in the javelin while Emily Ruble secured silver in the shot put.
The squad's other first place finish was its 4x100 relay team, consisting of Rebekah Covington, Skye Childs, Daysha Thomas and RaShayla Mathis.
“We competed really well,” Lady Pioneers coach Clayton Pritchard said. “We were down a little with the injuries, but it's league and most of the girls stepped up. I was happy with their efforts.”
Leavenworth will compete in its Class 5A regional meet this weekend in Topeka starting on Friday afternoon.

Spires sending two to nationals
On Saturday, the Saint Mary track and field team had one last crack at qualify additional members for next week's NAIA National Championship.
Competing in the Emporia State Last Chance Invite, the Spires men had its 4x400 relay squad of Camron Callahan, Aaron Potter, Jake McCurry and Cory Waite come up just shy of achieving that goal.
The foursome fell a few seconds short of the needed qualifying mark, even though it did record the 28th best NAIA time nationally.
The lone Spires that will compete in the May 23 National Championship will be Cameron Avilez and Russell Brown.