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Evansville's Ammerman, Brodhead-Juda's Klein highlight Rock track action

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John McPoland
May 14, 2008
— A talented senior with a sparkling track resume and a wide-eyed freshman dominated Rock Valley Conference track and field meet Tuesday night.

Evansville High senior Ryan Ammerman not only retained his individual titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs, he also added a victory in an event he rarely runs—the open 800.


Meanwhile, a star of the future became an instant star of the present as Brodhead-Juda freshman Shannon Klein captured individual victories in the 400 (1 minute, 2.54 seconds), 1,600 (5.40.61) and 3,200 meter runs (12:23.35).


Both runners, the conference cross country champions last fall, were named the outstanding track performers.


Ammerman won his three events by a combined 24 seconds, taking the 1,600 (4:45.77), the 800 (2:06.53) and the 3,200 (10:37.65). His victory in the 3,200 came less than 20 minutes after his triumph in the 800.


“I wanted to see what my body can do,” Ammerman said of his grueling schedule.


His victory in the 800 was especially impressive. Ammerman started his kick just a few yards after crossing the finish line to complete the first lap. He built a 25-meter lead before the runners turned into the vicious and demoralizing headwinds that swept down the backstretch for the entire meet.


“I heard one of the other coaches say ‘He went too early.’ I knew I hadn’t,” Ammerman said.


While Ammerman built his victories around sound strategy, Klein just hit the track with almost no plan of attack and just one goal: run fast.


“I just stayed behind people because I know I have a good kick,” Klein said. “I didn’t want to be leading into the wind.”


Klein got a hug from Orfordville Parkview senior Charissa Drake after the 3,200. Drake was the defending champion in the 1,600 and 3,200. She lost both races to Klein, who transferred from the Parkview district to Brodhead before the start of the 2007-08 school year.


In the race for the team title, the Brodhead-Juda boys backed up their regular-season performance by winning the conference meet by 472 points over Clinton. The victory gave Gary Larsen his 16th and final Rock Valley track title in 34 seasons as coach. It also gave the Cardinals eight league titles in the last nine years.


“This means a lot to me and the seniors,” said Larsen, who posted a 284-65 dual meet record. “We wanted to finish with class. It’s been a nice run. It’s hard to walk away from. I love track.”


The Cardinals rolled up their winning total despite winning just three events.


The Brodhead-Juda girls completed the sweep, but not without some tense moments as the final scores were tabulated. The Cardinals followed their regular-season first-place finishe with a 127.5-124 victory over Orfordville Parkview.


The final accounting, which took almost 20 minutes, was almost unbearable for Brodhead-Juda coach Ken Petersen.


“It was worth the wait,” Petersen said after the final scores were announced. “It’s been a better year than we anticipated.”


The meet had just two other double individual winners.


Clinton’s senior Ethan Timler won the 400 by more than two seconds with a time of 52.21 and then nipped teammate Alex Marchillo with a time of 22.81


“I knew it was possible,” Timler said of his double. “It feels great.”


Marchillo nearly doubled up himself, winning in the 300 intermediate hurdles after losing to Brodhead-Juda’s Caleb Frost by just .05 seconds in the 100 high hurdles.


Evansville junior Leah Heimerl captured the 200 (27.50), won the long jump (15-8) for the second straight year, and finished second in the 100.


“I knew I’d have to run a good race (in the 200). I was pretty confident,” Heimerl said after beating Parkview’s Stephanie Aasen by almost a half-second.


Brodhead pole vaulter Elias Klar cleared (13-6) to defend his title. Evansville’s David Kuelz cleared 6-0 to repeat in the high jump.


In other meet highlights:


n Beloit Turner’s boys won the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays. Matt Santas ran a leg on each of the winning relay units. Reggie Cassimere who leaped 19-9 to win the long jump, ran on two of the relay teams.


n Walworth Big Foot’s Kasey Keeler set the only meet record, soaring 35-7 in the triple jump to break the mark of 35-4.75 set by Palmyra-Eagle’s Lisa Kincaid in 1995.


n Evansville’s Alicia Kopp succesfully defended her title in the shot put (35-10) and finished second in the discus (100-0) behind teammate Korie Kitzman (104-0) to earn most outstanding field event honors among the girls.


n Clinton’s Cody Campbell was named the most outstanding boys field event performer after winning the shot put (52-112) for the second straight year and finishing second in the discus (134-4) behind Big Foot’s Travis Frederick (144-5).


n Clinton’s Kalie Kemmer won the 100-meter high hurdles in 16.98 seconds, despite competing with a cast on her right wrist. Kemmer broke the wrist in an April 28 car accident in which she was a passenger.



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