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Andale’s Reichenberger breaks through

Published May 2 at 11:08 p.m. | Last updated May 2 at 11:09 p.m.

Remaining positive has been Andale’s Leah Reichenberger greatest challenge in the last year.

Injuries robbed her of her sophomore track and field season, and this season, finally at full health, Reichenberger has finished runner-up an agonizing six times combined in both of her hurdle races.

“I’m really hard on myself, so it was hard to have a positive attitude,” Reichenberger said. “Getting second every time is just tough.”

By the time Friday evening rolled around, Reichenberger was determined to be more optimistic entering her races in the El Dorado Invitational.

Now the Andale junior has plenty of be positive about after winning the 100-meter hurdles in 16.23 seconds, then following it with a golden performance in the 300 hurdles with a winning time of 47.03. Both were season-best times.

“Finally breaking through and getting first, it’s just amazing,” Reichenberger said. “Winning makes my attitude 10 times more positive, which helps a lot. It just feels great.”

Teammate Abbie Maxwell, a reason why Reichenberger has finished runner-up so many times, was disappointed to finish runner-up in both races.

But seeing Reichenberger, one of her best friends, win made it worthwhile.

“I am so proud of her,” Maxwell said. “I’m just so happy for her right now. She did awesome today.”

The duo teamed with Jewel Eck and Courtney Lies to break the school record in the 400 relay, winning in a time of 49.25. They also ran on the 1600 relay, which took second.

He’s back — An injury kept Buhler sprinter Riley Allen from competing at last year’s state meet, and eligibility issues kept him from participating for the first three weeks this season.

But Allen made his return to the spotlight triumphant, sweeping the 100 and 200 in a field that featured two of Class 5A’s best in Newton’s Kade Remsberg and Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Devin Dempsey.

“It definitely feels good to be back,” Allen said. “Since I didn’t run at state last year, I think people don’t really know what to expect from me. So it feels good to prove myself a little bit.”

Allen cited the lack of faith in him as motivation.

“There might have been a few words said on the other side (of the track),” Allen said, grinning.

In the 100, Allen recovered from a poor start to burst ahead in the final 20 meters and claim victory in 11.07 seconds over Remsberg and Dempsey, who both finished in 11.12.

But the night’s best race came in the 200, where Remsberg and Allen pushed each other to the brink around the curve. Allen came out in the lead, but Remsberg challenged and pulled even with 80 meters remaining.

That’s when Allen turned on the burners, pulling away to win by two-tenths at 22.08. When he crossed the finished line, Allen ripped his arm through in celebration.

“I was just trying to get it done,” Allen said, “giving 111 percent and finishing the race. There’s a fear of losing. That’s my drive to finish the race every single time.”

The Howland Sisters Show — The home crowd enjoyed the performances of Jolie and Sidney Howland.

Sidney, a freshman from El Dorado, won the open 400 in 59.14, while Jolie, a sophomore, took home gold in the 800 in a season-best time of 2:25.29.

“It gives me a lot of confidence because I really wanted to PR today,” Jolie said. “I was kind of mad because I ran a really slow time in the 4x8, so I was really wanting to get that PR.”

The sisters also teamed up to win the 1600 and 3200 relays with teammates Lakyn Anders, Kayln Beel, and Tara Fisher. In the 1600 relay, Sidney Howland ran a 58-second split to give the Wildcats a come-from-behind victory over Andale in a season-best time of 4:08.63.

Notes — Andover junior Jaylyn Agnew, the two-time defending 5A champion in the high jump, improved to 19-0 in her career in the event, winning with a jump of 5-6 ... Andale sophomore Victoria Orth broke her own school record in the javelin, winning on Friday with a throw of 130-2 ... Chris Lowe, Kyle Martin, Dayshaun Carr, and Raashid Arnold lowered Heights’ season-best 400 relay time to 42.86 to win ... Andale swept the boys javelin medals with Evan Omo (176-2), A.J. Hein (162-2), and Luke Walstad (156-11) ... Andale’s Courtney Lies set a season-best mark in the triple jump, planting three different 36-foot-plus jumps and winning with the best at 36-1½ ... Andover’s Gloria Mares won her fifth 100 race of the season in a season-best time of 12.82 ... Newton’s Matt Willis swept the hurdle races, winning the 100 hurdles in 15.18 and the 300 hurdles in 39.81 ... Along with Andale, Kapaun (49.85) and Heights (49.86) broke 50 seconds in the 400 relay ... Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Craig Lantz took home gold in the shot put with a season-best mark of 50-6, as well as in the discus at 143-0.