All posts by Brett Tieman

Boys 4×400 team dominant despite changing lineups

By Brett Tieman

“When you have a relay team and everyone does their part, it all works out well. They’re believing in what they can do and running with confidence, and that is what makes a relay team special.” – Head Coach Joseph Cusack

The boys 4×400 relay team has been one of the key factors in the success of the track team. Last year they placed second in the finals at state, pulling them four points ahead of Lafayette to win the championship. This year, the squad has only seen defeat once. Continue reading Boys 4×400 team dominant despite changing lineups

Hubner, Valdivia dominate as distance duo

By Brett Tieman

The names of both of these girls can be found all over the cross country and track record boards. They are two of the top female distance runners ever to come through BSHS.” – Head cross country and track distance coach Matthew Johnson

The girls track team has seen plenty of success this season, earning a top-three finish in every meet so far and winning two. A large part of this success is girls distance runners senior Elaina Hubner and junior Tessa Valdivia.

Their accolades are many: both girls have been varsity in cross country and track since their freshman years.  Both are two-time All-State runners in cross country. Hubner has one All-State medal in track; Valdivia has earned four. The success seen from these two is unprecedented at BSHS.

The names of both of these girls can be found all over the cross country and track record boards. They are two of the top female distance runners ever to come through BSHS,” head cross country and track distance coach Matthew Johnson said.

Johnson noted that earning all the honors that these two have achieved takes a large amount of “commitment and effort” which is the backbone of the track program.

“Tessa and Elaina are the epitome of these most important values that our girls distance running program stands by. Tessa and Elaina are both talented athletes, but the growth they have both experienced as runners proves how commitment and effort are the most important factors,” he said.

Johnson discussed not only their practice habits but their work ethic outside of practices as well. “Their dedication extends well beyond the seasons in which they compete for the team. Tessa and Elaina put so much of their free time in the offseason into improving as runners and it has been great to see their hard work pay off. They have sacrificed so much to achieve team and individual success,” Johnson said.

Having each other is one thing about the two that helps them compete at such a high level as well. Over the years they have formed a strong bond that has helped them elevate their skills.

“Tessa’s like my best friend. I love her so much. We really pull each other; like if I’m having a bad race, or if I’m not pushing hard enough, she’ll get in front of me and pull me forward, and if she’s having a bad race, I’ll get in front of her and pull her forward. We just switch off taking the weight of the race, and it allows us to compete against each other just like we do at practice,” Hubner said.

Competition at practice is another thing that really prepares both for meets, as being able to compete with someone at the same level at all times pushes both to new heights.

“Tessa is always there to push me through workouts. It’s nice to know I have someone next to me who is just as fast as me. It’s always great to have that reminder that there is someone who trains just as hard as you, and it motivates you to work harder,” Hubner said.

The relationship that has formed between Hubner and Valdivia extends to the entire distance team as well. Hubner cites the main reason she loves running, other than winning, as the family that she gets from the team.

“The distance team is always together. We meet up in the morning and walk to class together, and we hang out outside of school which is like having my best friends around me all the time,” Hubner said.

Hubner and Valdivia have become great leaders for their teammates to go to for help as well, and their teammates can find that help, not only by asking them but by watching them too.

“Both girls have a wealth of experience to share with the other runners, they compete hard in races and work hard in practices as much for their teammates as they do for themselves. The other girls on the team don’t have to look any further than what they see Tessa and Elaina doing every day to know what it’s going to take to advance themselves to the next level as a runner,” Johnson said.

Valdivia and Hubner each share that experience in a different way. Johnson describes Valdivia as a “silent leader” who teammates can watch and see the example of what hard work and dedication looks like, while Hubner is a “vocal leader” who teammates can go to if they have a question or need advice.

“I say what needs to be said, and then Tessa just does it. She leads by example; if you look over at Tessa, she is always doing what she needs to be doing and when people come to me, I’ll tell them what to do if they don’t know,” Hubner said.

Different personalities and ways of showing leadership have formed a great dynamic between the two. With Hubner ready to graduate and head out to compete at Washburn, Valdivia will have to overcome losing her main partner for the last three years.

“It has worked well having two leaders that are very different, yet complementary to each other. The part that Tessa might miss the most, is that she is losing a training partner to graduation. At the same time, this could be considered an opportunity for Tessa to take the next step forward in her running career,” Johnson said.

Even without her partner, Johnson feels that the experience Valdivia has had with Hubner will allow for a seamless transition of leadership.

“I think what Tessa and Elaina have learned from each other through different experiences will help Tessa to step into that ‘Senior Captain’ role. Tessa, along with junior Reese Howard, will be able to lead this team to the next level of our development as a program pretty much seamlessly,” Johnson said.

With another year nearly wrapped up, Johnson looks at the toll that all the running puts on a person, and how the endurance that they show through it all will help each of these girls in the future.

“Distance running is very hard on a person’s body, not just physically, but emotionally, and mentally as well. Throughout their three or four years in the program, they have had to endure many ups and downs; successes and failures. I firmly believe that what they have put themselves through as teenagers has helped to prepare them for the ups and downs; and successes and failures that life will bring,” Johnson said.

While Johnson looks towards their futures, Hubner reminisces on the bonds that she has formed in her four years running and how that will help her in the future.

“I learned to love so much from my teammates. They’re like the best people I’ve ever met and they’ve taught me so many lessons, so I’m going to cherish all the time that I’ve had with them,” Hubner said.

The final stretch of the season is in sight as these two girls and their teammates look to continue to show their skills at Blue Springs South for the Conference Championship Meet tomorrow.

Gary Parker Invitational showcases Wildcat pride, tradition, success

By Brett Tieman

“(Having it named after Gary Parker) is the best part of (the meet). Coach Parker, 31 years here, was the one who built the foundation of this track program. Blue Springs had track long before Coach Parker, but had very little history in the sport.” – Head Boys Track Coach Joseph Cusack

This past Thursday, 21 track teams came to Blue Springs to compete in the Gary Parker Invitational. The boys track team took first in the event for the ninth straight year, while the girls finished third. Both teams represented the school well in a meet filled with tradition and honor. Continue reading Gary Parker Invitational showcases Wildcat pride, tradition, success

Xavier Hall hurdles through track and life

By Brett Tieman

“Hurdles are like life: you get an obstacle thrown your way you have to jump over it. Even if you hit it or stumble a little bit, you just can’t quit.” -Senior Xavier Hall

Around 4:45 pm at a track meet, fans would have plenty to listen in on as team’s prepare for the next event, the 110-meter hurdles. Indistinct chatter will be replaced by complete silence as runners get into place for the fourth race of the day. A ‘BANG’ sounds and runners explode. Runner’s feet take three forceful strides before a brief pause as they sail over hurdles; a startling pound breaks the silence as they land, followed by another three strides. As the race winds to a close, it will be hard to focus in on these subtle sounds as they will be drowned out by roars and chants for “X”. “Let’s go X.” “Atta boy X.” That “X” cheer is directed at senior Xavier Hall– BSHS top hurdler, and an athlete who feels he always has something to prove. Continue reading Xavier Hall hurdles through track and life

Trust, chemistry pave the way for girls 4×100 relay

By Brett Tieman

“The most important part about being on a relay team is having that good chemistry. If you  don’t get along with each other that interferes with your handoffs and that can slow you down or cause you to get disqualified, so having that relationship is really important.” – Junior Ty’le Whitmill

The girls track team has gotten off to an impressive start, winning both the Rusty Hodge and Ron Ives Invitationals and taking third at the Girls Night Out meet in Springfield. A large factor in their success has been the 4×100 meter relay team. Though they have won two out of their three meets and placed second in the other, what makes this group successful is the chemistry among all five girls capable of running this four-person event. Continue reading Trust, chemistry pave the way for girls 4×100 relay

4/5/18 Spring sports update

By Brett Tieman

Spring sports are in full swing at Blue Springs High School, and that has brought plenty of competition for each team.

Despite the cold weather, the baseball team got off to a hot 4-0 start which included winning the Metro Leadoff Tournament. The great start is thanks in large part to a strong group of seniors which includes great pitching in the likes of Peyton Smith and Ryan Urfer, as well as great hitting from Jake Lufft and Caleb Marquez just to name a few. Since the 4-0 start, the Cats have cooled off going 2-3 in their last five. Their next game is tonight at home against Park Hill. Continue reading 4/5/18 Spring sports update

District Champion girls basketball team looks to continue Cinderella run in Sectionals

By Brett Tieman

“We’re playing with house money right now. We weren’t supposed to still be playing and we are, so they shouldn’t feel any pressure. We’re playing a team with seven losses so we have a good shot at winning, and hopefully, we can get through to Saturday.” – Head Coach Mark Spigarelli

The girls basketball team is headed off to sectionals tonight to face Camdenton. This matchup comes after the Cats earned the district championship last Thursday night when they upset heavy favorite Rock Bridge. Continue reading District Champion girls basketball team looks to continue Cinderella run in Sectionals

State meet “good learning experience” for girls swim/dive

By Brett Tieman

“State…offers a pretty crazy atmosphere that’s unlike any swim meet these kids go through, so just being able to be there, in contention, under the bright lights and feel that pressure is going to give us the sense of what we need to look for and what we need to expect next year.” -Head Coach Kevin Bigham

The girls swim and dive team headed out for the state meet in Columbia on February 15 after claiming the conference championship. After a season full of highs, the Cats finished tenth overall. It was the first top ten finish since 2014 and even though they believe they could have done better, the young team looks to take the experience and use it as motivation for next season. Continue reading State meet “good learning experience” for girls swim/dive