Hannah Wondra, who recently signed to run track and cross country at Benedictine College in Atchison this fall, is adding one event and subtracting another.
The Great Bend High School senior, a strong competitor in the both the 200- and 400-meter dashes for the Lady Panthers the past few seasons, is adding the 800 run to her repertoire.
“I feel like it would be neat to do something new that would be fun for my senior year,” Wondra said. “I have run the 400 before, but never the 800. I wanted to give it a shot and see how it goes.
“(The 200) just wasn’t one of my favorite races. Last year, I had decent times (in the 200) and this year I felt like I could do more for the team running in the 800 and I could get better times. I guess I’ll find out (today).”
The Great Bend Invitational will be held today at Memorial Stadium, starting at 2:30 p.m., with the boys and girls javelin. Field events, led off by the high jump, start at 3:30 and track events are slated to start at 4.
There will be no preliminaries.
Back to Wondra.
“She’s been a huge part of our track program now for four years,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said. “She’s just a really, hard-working dedicated young lady.
“She’s a lot of fun to coach, has a good personality and works to get better every single day. She’s been a sprinter her first three years. Now this is the first year where she wants run the 400 and 800.”
Black said Wondra’s transference to a longer race should benefit her as she prepares for running in college while at the same time performing at a high level in her final year at GBHS.
“I think that’s what she wants to do in college, and that’s what they want her to do in college,” Black said. “She’s always been a 400 runner, and a good one for us.
“She’s just going to keep getting better.”
Wondra said she wavered on her decision before speaking with Benedictine head track and field/cross country coach Rex Lane, who talked to her about the upside of signing there.
“I wasn’t expecting myself to go there, and (Lane) was very persistent,” she said. “He was telling me, ‘We can do this for you and that for you.’
“I’ve decided to test the waters and give it a shot. Just going and running at the college level is important to me. It will be a whole new level of competition, and it seems like a perfect match for me (at Benedictine).”