Skyline’s Natali Jones found herself with a bronze medal at the 2008 KSHSAA 1A track and field championships at Wichita State Saturday.

Skyline’s Natali Jones found herself with a bronze medal at the 2008 KSHSAA 1A track and field championships at Wichita State Saturday.
Skyline experienced heartache and “oh, so close” moments during the two-day championships. An annoying wind arrived Friday, May 23, and threatening, but mostly unproductive rain clouds taunted competitors Saturday.
The long and triple jump pits are smooth. After competitors land, it appears the pit has been scooped like a tub of ice cream.
Natali Jones’s 34-7.5, a personal best, captured third in the technically demanding triple jump. The distance exceeded her 33-8.75 jump at the South Gray regional.
“I am,” said Jones when asked if she was pleased with her finish. “It is exciting to stand up there (medal stand).”
She was surprised with her finish.
“I thought I was going to be at the bottom,” she said. “I don’t jump very far.”
At South Gray, she wound up second to Cunningham’s Ashley Shearer.
The freshman Shearer sailed 36-5.75 at Wichita State and secured the championship.
Jones’s teammate, Hannah McPherson,  was sixth (34-3). She surpassed her regional jump of  33-3.75.
Was she happy with her finish?
“Not particularly,” said McPherson, who foresaw a top 4 finish prior to states.
She added:?“I am happy to medal.”
The senior was competing at states for her fourth straight season.
“I think I did all right for the rain and the weather,” said McPherson of the conditions.
The 2-5 finishers were within one foot of one another.
McPherson added another sixth-place finish in the long jump.
Her best jump 15-5.5 was one of three over 15 feet. The senior had measured out at 16 feet in South Gray.
Again, a South Gray regional winner donned the state title.
Greensburg’s Kacey Fulton took gold 16-6.75. The 16-6.75 was her only pro-16 foot jump.
Paige Wahrman was 3.25 inches from earning a shot put medal.
The Lady Thunderbirds’ 35-9.25 sat back of the 36-5 of Immaculata’s Shelbie Wolk.
Defending champion, Nickie Weir, of Pike Valley, repeated, with a winning put of 39-9.5.
Four of the top eight finishers were underclassmen.
The Lady Thunderbirds 4x100M relay: Rosena Startzman, Hannah McPherson, Natali Jones, and Leah McPherson finished fourth in their prelim to qualify for the finals.
Their times their last three races became progressively slower.
At the South Gray regional they ran a 52.86. In their state prelim they recorded a 53.23 then a 54.17 in the finals.
The Lady Thunderbirds will return Startzman and Leah McPherson, both freshman, in 2009 along with Jones, a sophomore.
Minneola, the South Gray champion, held off South Barber, the South Gray runner-up, in the state final.
Minneola out-ran the Lady Chieftains 51.89 to 52.55. Bucklin, third at South Gray, was fifth (53.17).
Mark Jones did not place in the 110M or 300M hurdles.
The senior missed qualifying for the 110M finals, finishing 12th in the prelims (16.54).
Misfortune struck Jones in the 300M prelims.
According to his sister, Natali, Jones was third midway through the race when he hit a hurdle and fell. He gathered himself and completed the race (50.05). 
Darryl Willard’s 4:57.09 1600M time captured 10th. Greeley County’s Kaman Schneider won the title (4:36.79).
In the 3200M, Willard recorded an 11:01.06 and ended 11th. Colton McNinch, of Ness City, one of the pre-race favorites, claimed the top spot with a time of 10:07.80.
In the team competition, the South Barber girls scored 59 points for the title. Minneola was second (32) and Greensburg, thanks to Fulton, third (37). Skyline sat 20th (11).
The Cunningham boys won three events and the team title (64). South Gray was second (35).