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Home-schooled athletes compete among Kansas’ best

Published April 17 at 5:42 p.m. | Last updated April 17 at 5 p.m.

She can high jump 5-foot-8. She can break 16 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles. She can long jump better than 17 feet.

Surely, this is the makeup of a star track and field athlete that commands the attention of every spectator.

Or it is the makeup of Mona Gottschaemmer, a home-schooled sophomore who competes rather anonymously for the Wichita Warriors.

“About six or seven years ago, we only had one high school girl on the team,” Warriors coach John Murphy II said. “So this season has been a real blessing.”

That’s because the Warriors currently feature some of the most talented track and field athletes in the area.

Gottschaemmer would be a state title contender in all three of her events, at any classification. Teammates Emreigh Taylor (season-best 16.24 in 100 hurdles) and Allison Newport (throws) would also be competitive for state berths.

In fact, the Warriors’ girls team has won every meet it has attended this season, while Gottschaemmer, Taylor, and Jayne Roberts have swept the 100 hurdles four times already.

“We’re definitely very competitive against our competition,” Murphy II said. “The girls have done a phenomenal job. At one of our meets earlier in the year, when we picked up our awards, I thought one of the officials said it best: ‘You guys have come a long way.’

“We sure have.”

Gottschaemmer and Taylor have qualified to compete in the Kansas Relays Friday, while the next meet for the team will be in Norwich on Friday.

Airborne Fields – The triple jump seemed like a natural fit for Southeast senior Brandon Fields, who had been solely a successful high jumper.

Sure enough, Fields proved his coaches’ suspicions right in the first meet of the season, landing a 41-foot, 11-inch mark to take third at the Southeast Invitational on April 4.

“And that was basically a long jump, then a skip and then another long jump,” Southeast coach Mark Lamb said.

After working with jumps coach Patric Jackson, Fields has added a second phase to his triple jump and improved his technique. His next meet, at Pittsburg State, Fields flew 44-0, which stands as one of the best marks in Kansas.

“He’s obviously very explosive and he’s got some great speed,” Lamb said. “He’s high-jumping 6-4, so he’s just a great athlete. Once he gets his technique down, then who knows what he can do?”

Chasing the real thing — Winning four times at the Pre-State Challenge last week at Wichita State has sparked a fire in Winfield junior Courtney Griffiths.

After placing at state the last two years in the 400 and 800, Griffiths has an unfulfilled hunger to win a championship. Although she could compete in the 200 and 1600, Griffiths is likely to chase 5A titles in the 400 and 800 again.

Griffith’s times at Pre-State – 57.77 and 2:20.33 – are currently the top times in Kansas.

“Everybody runs that meet like it’s at state, or at least I do,” Griffiths said. “I picture it like I’m at state, and then I run it like a state meet. So it was pretty exciting to win four times. It gives me hope that I can win at least one at the real thing.”