Anger can be a motivator.

    That was the mood Augusta senior Will Wright has been in over the last two weeks as he felt he had been slighted in the pole vault in meets at Andover and Clearwater.


    Anger can be a motivator.

    That was the mood Augusta senior Will Wright has been in over the last two weeks as he felt he had been slighted in the pole vault in meets at Andover and Clearwater.

    Wright took out his frustrations in a positive way Friday night in the Augusta Track Invitational at Hillier Stadium, breaking the school record with a clear leap of 14 feet-6 inches to claim the event title for the Orioles.

    “It’s better than anything,” Wright said about setting the school record in front of the home fans. “I (had my personal best) here last year, so I was glad to do it again here. Everything just seemed right, even with the bad crosswind we had here today."

    The senior said his anger in the previous meets helped him refocus on the task at hand. Wright officially didn’t clear a height in Andover, and thought he had made a personal best leap of 14-2 in Clearwater. Both times, he said he cleared the bar, only to have the judge say he didn’t.

    “The past two weeks has been frustrating,” Wright said. “It inspired me to get back on track this week, and do better at my home meet. There was a good chance of doing it, and it came together.”

    The Orioles finished fourth as a team with 88 points. Andale won the team title with 134, followed by Valley Center (114) and McPherson third (108). Andover Central placed fifth behind the Orioles (44), with Clearwater (37), Independence (24) and Douglass (8) closing out the team scores.

    Wright wasn’t the only person avenging setbacks from the last couple of meets.

    Bubbie Nixon also refocused after losing his first race in the 100 dash at Andover. Nixon won in Clearwater and also won Friday night in a time of 10.71 seconds, five-hundreths of a second off his best time this season.

    “After that loss, I knew I wanted to work harder, especially with the meet here,” Nixon said. “I wasn’t going to let anybody pass me, that’s for sure.”

    The 4x100 relay team also rebounded from their first loss of the season in Clearwater by winning their event in a time of 44.31 seconds. The Orioles team of Nixon, Wright, Caleb Neeley, and Clayton Hamilton didn’t have the best of starts, but was out in front by the third leg. Nixon closed out the run to win by almost 10 yards.

    “We had good handoffs this week and I got the bar to Bubbie and he pulled it out,” Hamilton said. “The meet we lost last time was due to bad handoffs, and we didn’t want that today. Clearwater was the team that beat us, and we were able to beat them. We got a little revenge.”

    Two Augusta leapers also claimed first places in individual events Friday in their home meets.

    Cameron Heckert continues to improve in his leaping ability in the triple jump and claimed his title with a leap of 40-2. Although it wasn’t as far as his personal best 41-1, Heckert also was fifth in the long jump.

    Heckert feels that his work ethic will help him improve on that distance in the final meets of the season.

    “At times, it has been hard; but I just keep getting better,” Heckert said. “I had a hurt leg and I didn’t practice until Thursday. I got first here, but I don’t know what else I can say about it.”

    And Zeb Garrison had a season personal best height of 6-4 to win the high jump event. Garrison’s best leap up to Friday had been 6-2.

    Joe Zinn claimed two second place finishes in the 200 and the 400 for the Orioles; and Ryan Watkins had a second place finish in the javelin. Other top finishes for Augusta included Hamilton (fourth, 200), Jared Gerstenkorn (fifth, 400), Aaron Doudna (fifth, 1,600); and Casey Turnquist (fifth, shot put). The 4x800 relay team also placed fifth on the day.

Jones leads Lady Orioles with two wins
    The Augusta Lady Orioles had a little bit of a setback in their home meet, finishing tied for fifth at the end of the day with 54 points.

    Senior Kendra Jones continued to dominate her two throwing events to highlight the Lady Orioles’ efforts Friday at Hillier Stadium. Jones won the shot put with a distance of 40 feet-5 inches; and also claimed the discus title with a throw of 108-11.

    Brianna Weakley finished second in the high jump and fourth in the triple jump for the Lady Orioles; while Nellie Gillies was third in the high jump. Ashley Schwemmer and Ashley Yoder placed in both of the hurdles events. Schwemmer finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300; while Yoder was one place behind her teammate in both events. Augusta was also third in the 4x100 relay with a time of 52.30.

    Andale ran away with the team title after scoring 135 points. Andover Central and McPherson tied for second with 77, followed by Clearwater (72). Valley Center tied with the Lady Orioles, followed by Douglass (42) and Independence (41).