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Eisenhower’s Natali Engle speeds through Goddard

Published May 9 at 10:32 p.m. | Last updated May 9 at 10:33 p.m.

Exactly one year ago, this is where Eisenhower’s Natali Engle suffered a back injury that would threaten to derail her blossoming career in the sprints.

Engle made a triumphant return Friday, remaining undefeated this season in the 200-meter dash, chasing down the school record time as the anchor in the 400 relay for Eisenhower, and finishing second in the 100.

“Winning wasn’t what mattered to me,” Engle said. “The fact that I’m healthy and I’m running and I’m doing something that I have a passion for, that’s what’s important to me. Tonight was about me saying, ‘Hey, I’m back and I’m here to fight.’ I’m ready to get back to the state meet and get on that podium.”

Engle was a four-event qualifier as a freshman, and followed that effort with another outstanding season as a sophomore. But the back injury not only forced her to miss the state meet last season, it nearly forced her away from running.

After months of physical therapy, Engle has enjoyed a healthy senior season that has positioned her as a favorite in Class 5A to medal in the 100 and 200.

On Friday, Engle’s crowning achievement came in the 400 relay. Eisenhower appeared destined for a runner-up finish to Andale when it handed off to Engle, who had a little less than 100 meters to make up a 10-meter difference.

But that’s exactly what Engle did, ferociously chasing down the leader and passing her to secure a school-record time of 50.67 to win. The other three members were Emily King, Katie Williams, and Jordyn Evans.

“I was thinking of my team,” Engle said. “We’ve been trying to break the school record all season and I thought how cool would it be if we did it at the last meet in Goddard? I wanted to get them those gold medals.”

There was plenty for Engle to reflect back on at the conclusion of the meet. Her career is nearing an end and once again appears headed for a medal stand finish at the state meet.

But that wasn’t what Engle is most thankful for.

“It kind of hit me when I was warming up for the prelims of the 100 that this is where (my injury) happened,” Engle said. “It made me want to not let that happen again. I had to redeem myself. It feels great to finally be healthy again.”

Lane 7 comeback — Like Engle, Maize’s Kendall Stewart knows the aggravation of being forced to the stands to watch the races you used to compete in.

“It’s so tough,” Stewart said. “But that’s what drove me to come back even harder because I knew I could compete with those guys.”

After missing the last four meets to injury, Stewart made a return in Goddard with spectacular results. He finished second to Northwest’s Deron Thompson in the 100, and then edged him out in the 200 by one-hundredth of a second in 22.45.

What made the victory even more impressive was that Stewart was running around the outside of the track in lane 7, whereas Thompson had prime position in the middle.

“I thought he got me at the end, so I thought I got second,” Stewart said. “But this lets me know that I’m back and I need to keep working hard and keep getting better.”

Meyer the flier — After failing to clear the bar last week in Abilene, Andale’s Ethan Meyer was eager for another chance on Friday.

He channeled the anger from last week into his personal-best height in the pole vault at 15 feet, 0½ inches, which is the second-best mark in Kansas this season and the top in Class 4A.

“I was dead set on doing at least my PR this week,” said Meyer, who improved his personal best six inches. “My run was just spot-on, I hit it, held it, popped it right up and just went right over. It was probably the best jump of my career.”

Notable performances — Liberal’s Trenton Hammond ran the fastest time in Kansas in the 300 hurdles in 37.87.… Andale’s Leah Reichenberger ran the No. 1 time in Class 4A in the 300 hurdles, winning her second consecutive race in 46.78.… Winfield’s Courtney Griffiths swept both of her races, winning the 400 in 58.12 and the 800 in 2:22.74.… Andover’s Jaylyn Agnew remained unbeaten in her career in the high jump, winning for the fifth time this season at 5-6.… Andale’s Jeffrey Ast improved his personal-best mark in the javelin to 191-5, the second-best mark in Kansas.… Northwest’s Karis Parker remained unbeaten this season in the 100 hurdles, winning in 15.68.… Northwest’s Calea Carr won both of her events, taking home gold in the shot put at 42-5 1/2 and in the discus at 136-6.… Maize’s Keiryn Swenson, who is No. 1 in Kansas in the javelin, won with a throw of 147-5.… Andover’s Gloria Mares won her sixth 100 race of the season, edging Engle in 12.79 seconds.… Andale’s Chase Bartowski won her first long jump of her career in a personal-best mark of 16-10.… Andale’s Courtney Lies won the triple jump with her second straight leap of 36-feet-plus, at 36-0 3/4, but strained her hamstring in the process.… Bishop Carroll’s Dan Garrison set a personal-best mark of 51-2 to win the shot put.… Valley Center’s Colby Martin set a personal-best in the long jump to win at 21-4.

Girls

Team scores—Andale 128, Maize 105, Pratt 70, Northwest 56, Andover 51, Eisenhower 31, Bishop Carroll 31, Valley Center 29, Winfield 27, Liberal 26, Trinity Academy 21, Rose Hill 18, Goddard 10.

100—1. Mares, Andover, 12.79; 2. Engle, Eisenhower, 12.94; 3. Hall, Northwest, 13.07. 200—1. Engle, Eisenhower, 26.71; 2. Eck, Andale, 27.60; 3. Graber, Maize, 27.94. 400—1. Griffiths, Winfield, 58.12; 2. Christensen, Maize, 1:01.01; 3. Bockover, Carroll, 1:02.16. 800—1. Griffiths, Winfield, 2:22.74; 2. Loomis, Pratt, 2:26.03; 3. Flake, Andover, 2:26.05. 1600—1. Helfrich, Pratt, 5:21.74; 2. Reyna, Northwest, 5:23.54; 3. Perez, Liberal, 5:33.79. 3200—1. Utech, Maize, 11:45.17; 2. Zielinski, Andover, 11:56.38; 3. Perez, Liberal, 12:02.55. 100 hurdles—1. Parker, Northwest, 15.68; 2. Reichenberger, Andale, 16.45; 3. Maxwell, 16.77. 300 hurdles—1. Reichenberger, Andale, 46.78; 2. Maxwell, Andale, 47.52; 3. McGehee, Rose Hill, 50.39. 400 relay—1. Eisenhower 50.67; 2. Andale 50.79; 3. Andover 50.92. 1600 relay—1. Maize 4:12.98; 2. Andale 4:14.03; 3. Pratt 4:20.95. 3200 relay—1. Valley Center 10:06.17; 2. Maize 10:15.64; 3. Trinity 10:16.29. High jump—1. Agnew, Andover, 5-6; 2. Rowland, Andale, 5-2; 3. Swenson, Maize, 5-2. Pole vault—1. Eck, Andale, 10-0; 2. Buller, Goddard, 9-6; 3. Demel, Carroll, 9-6. Long jump—1. Bartoski, Andale, 16-10; 2. Bailey, Pratt, 16-9¾; 3. Green, Maize, 16-3¼. Triple jump—1. Lies, Andale, 36-0¾; 2. Rohleder, Carroll, 33-10½; 3. Bartoski, Andale, 33-4. Shot put—1. Carr, Northwest, 42-5½; 2. Maydew, Pratt, 40-7½; 3. Kohman, Pratt, 36-5. Discus—1. Carr, Northwest, 136-6; 2. Swenson, Maize, 122-0½; 3. Maydew, Pratt, 114-2½. Javelin—1. Swenson, Maize, 147-5; 2. Orth, Andale, 126-10; 3. Ebert, Andale, 117-6.

Boys

Team scores—Bishop Carroll 123½, Andale 100½, Liberal 85, Winfield 71, Maize 64, Northwest 55, Valley Center 35, Goddard 30, Rose Hill 18, Andover 15, Pratt 8, Eisenhower 6, Trinity Academy 1.

100—1. Thompson, Northwest, 11.23; 2. Stewart, Maize, 11.33; 3. Okeowo, Goddard, 11.41. 200—1. Stewart, Maize, 22.45; 2. Thompson, Northwest, 22.46; 3. Okeowo, Goddard, 22.77. 400—1. Welch, Maize, 49.59; 2. Thompson, Northwest, 50.24; 3. Knoblauch, Andale, 50.83. 800—1. Altamarino, Liberal, 1:56.42; 2. Shurtz, Northwest, 1:59.88; 3. Hanna, Winfield, 2:00.13. 1600—1. Hanna, Winfield, 4:24.44; 2. Osen, Winfield, 4:25.23; 3. Shurtz, Northwest, 4:27.71. 3200—1. Osen, Winfield, 9:44.25; 2. Nance, Carroll, 9:59.95; 3. Arnold, Carroll, 10:04.63. 110 hurdles—1. Hammond, Liberal, 14.84; 2. Sobalvarro, Liberal, 15.39; 3. Giusti, Carroll, 15.43. 300 hurdles—1. Hammond, Liberal, 37.87; 2. Hornback, Carroll, 40.34; 3. Sobalvarro, Liberal, 40.54. 400 relay—1. Maize 43.71; 2. Andale 43.79; 3. Winfield 44.31. 1600 relay—1. Liberal 3:24.01; 2. Andale 3:29.18; 3. Carroll 3:29.33. 3200 relay—1. Carroll 8:15.05; 2. Andover 8:20.64; 3. Liberal 8:22.74. High jump—1. Chippeaux, Goddard, 6-0; 2. Knoblauch, Andale, 6-0; 3. Hansard, Carroll, 6-0. Pole vault—1. Meyer, Andale, 15-0½; 2. Bugner, Andale, 14-0; 3. Kennedy, Eisenhower, 13-6. Long jump—1. Martin, Valley Center, 21-4; 2. Demel, Carroll, 21-1½; 3. Williams, Northwest, 21-1. Triple jump—1. Eatmon, Liberal, 42-10¼; 2. Winter, Andale, 41-10; 3. Martin, Valley Center, 41-9½. Shot put—1. Garrison, Carroll, 51-2; 2. Muldrow, Winfield, 51-1; 3. Buckner, Andale, 49-10. Discus—1. Muldrow, Winfield, 153-10; 2. Rafter, Carroll, 147-4; 3. Clark, Rose Hill, 136-10. Javelin—1. Ast, Andale, 191-5; 2. Balthazor, Valley Center, 174-9; 3. Omo, Andale, 171-0½.