Great weekend for MHS, Mac thinclads

By Steve Sell
May 31, 2016

The general rule is that things — good or bad — happen in groups of threes.

And it was all good for both McPherson High’s girls track and field team as well as McPherson College’s men’s track and field team as both performed on the grand stage this past weekend with tremendous aplomb.

McPherson High’s girls didn’t have a lot of entries, but did they ever make the most of what they had.

The Bullpups won not one, not two, but three gold medals at the Kansas State Track and Field Meet at Cessna Stadium.

What a great weekend it was for the Bullpups’ Elle Barrett, who won both the long and triple jump to earn a spot on to the MHS Wall of Fame.

Perhaps key for the MHS sophomore is that she popped her winning jump in both events on her first attempt as that put a lot of pressure on the rest of the field. It was like “catch me if you can,” and none of them were able to do that.

MHS’ Amy Suenram, the 2014 state long jump champion, finished right behind Barrett in the triple jump and was fourth in the long jump. It was an outstanding cap to her career, one that also will have her on the Wall of Fame. She’ll continue on next year at Pittsburg State and if you ask the MHS coaches they believe the sky is the limit as Suenram has only gotten better and better.

Barrett, meanwhile, has two more years to add to her resume, which should be rather lengthy by the time she’s through.

The Bullpup weekend started in spectacular fashion as sophomore high jumper Mandi Cooks also won the gold to earn her berth on to the Wall of Fame. Cooks did not miss a jump through 5-4 and she was the only jumper left when the time came for the 5-6 height.

Cooks, like Barrett, has two more years. In addition, she should be one of the state’s top basketball players for the next two years as she’s been a mainstay from Day One for the Bullpups.

Even with minimum entries, the Bullpups still took fourth place as a team. 

As for McPherson College, few schools its size produced three All-Americans at the National Meet that spanned three days in Gulf Shores, Ala.

The finale was Art Hop winning only the third national championship in Mac history, the first since Antowine Lamb won the high jump. 

Hop went 16-8 3/4 to prevail and it came as no surprise as he’s been among the national leaders all year. It was his final competition as a Bulldog and he’s a sure-fire Mac Hall of Famer down the road.

Hop was only part of the story. Brandt Wolters was third in the javelin and Chris Linnin was eighth in the high jump to earn All-American honors. Both are just freshmen and have limitless futures.

The Mac track and field program has come a long way. I can remember the days when it was little more than intramurals, a way for the fall athletes to keep in shape in the spring. Mac was the highest finisher among the KCAC schools in the meet and the program seems to only get better every year.