Friday was forecasted to be a rainy day as athletes all over the state tried to punch one of the 3,456 tickets issued to next week’s state meet, but the weather was great for much of the state. Here are the highlights from the local regionals.
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At Wichita Heights - Click Here for Complete Results
The big showdown at this meet was in the boys’ 100-meter dash as several of the state’s top sprinters were entered in the meet. Things got off to a rocky start after a false start that was charged to the field, but it did not improve from there. Two more false starts followed the first one, disqualifying Heights’ Daniel Deshazer and Wichita Southeast’s Steven Calloway.
The runners appeared to be a little timid coming out of the blocks on the fourth attempt to start the race. Heights’ Skylarr Gatson and Billy Littlejohn went one-two to join Junction City’s Devonte Lane and Southeast’s Tyrone Wright at next week’s state meet.
Littlejohn was not fazed with the false starts.
“I just focused on my race and nobody else,” Littlejohn said.
The Heights sprinters got things back on the right track by blowing away the competition in the 400-meter relay with a time of 42.11.
Wichita Southeast’s Dexter Hayes may only be five-foot-six, but he sure does not jump like it. Hayes took down the state’s top-ranked jumper in Manhattan’s Will Kern as he cleared six-foot-six to win, a full foot above the top of his head.
Hayes thought he could have gone higher on Friday.
“That last jump I felt like I had it. I’m over it; I just have to finish it,” Hayes said.
Derby’s Bryce Fisher is heading to state in both the shot put and the discus after winning the shot and taking second in the discus.
In the distance events, Manhattan’s Reid Buchanan won the 800 and 1600-meter runs and was second in the 3200-meter run. The Manhattan star had one goal on the day: qualify for state.
“There’s still two events left, so might as well just run as hard I need,” Buchanan said after his win in the 1600.
Wichita North’s Amber Eichkorn had very different thoughts about what to do at the regional meet in her sweep of the distance events that included a big personal best in the 1600 of 5:04.93.
“I hoped to (get out fast) after City and all the boxing in. I was getting tired of it, so I just decided I’m not going to play any more games,” Eichkorn said.
Eichkorn destroyed the field in the 3200-meter run as well, winning by 35 seconds. She also took the 800-meter run by one second.
Wichita East’s Haleigh Lewis was back in the throwing events just one week after getting hit in the face with a discus at the GWAL League meet. She was able to qualify in all three of the throwing events with a second place finish in the javelin, third in the shot and fourth in the discus.
Manhattan swept the team titles at Heights.
At Goddard - Click Here for Complete Results
Goddard’s Kevin Triplett was able to win the long jump title at his home regional on Friday, which was something that did not seem at all possible just last year in his junior season.
“Last year was my first year jumping and I just wanted to go out and do whatever. I listened to her (his coach) more and focused on what she told me to do like I should have done last year and now I am a league champ, regional champ and hopefully a state champ,” Triplett said.
Last season Wichita Northwest rode the distance events to prominence, but this season it is the sprinters carrying the banner. The Grizzlies won the Goddard Regional as a team thanks in large part to a 1-2-3 sweep in the open 100-meter dash, a 1-2 finish in the 200-meter dash and a win the 400-meter relay. Jacob
Pope also was a star for the Grizzlies as he qualified in all three jumps.
Cross Country standout Chris Wise of Hutchinson will be going to state in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs this year.
Maize was a dominant force on the girls’ side with a 40-point win over second-place Goddard. It was total team effort by the Eagles and it showed as they will be sending all three of their relays to next week’s state track meet.
Goddard’s Megan Ballinger swept the 1600 and 3200-meter runs.
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The race of the night at the Carroll Regional hosted at Friends University was set up to be the 3200-meter run where the state’s top seven times were in attendance. Valley Center’s Morgan Wedekind led the way with a season-best time of 11:21.99. Carroll’s Kaelyn Balch was second, Kapaun’s Mackenzie Maki third and
Great Bend’s Rubi Torres took the fourth and final spot at state.
Wedekind came into the meet looking to get after it in both of her races.
“We had nice weather for once and I just wanted to go after both races really, really hard,” Wedekind said.
She also threw down a personal-best time in the 1600 with a finish at 5:10.80.
Maki, Balch and Torres were also the other qualifiers out of that race.
Carroll won the meet on the girls’ side thanks in large part to the Eagles’ hurdling prowess. Carroll swept the 300 hurdles and went 1-2-4 in the 100 hurdles.
Cara Detmer cleared 12-6 in the pole vault to post the state’s best mark for girls pole vault heading into next week’s state meet with her eyes on her first Class 5A title.
Hays’ Hanna Pfannenstiel won the 400-meter dash in a time of 59.57 and was second in the 200-meter dash.
The Hays boys are the defending Class 5A champions and beat Carroll by 30 points on Friday. Zach Gaughan led the way in the throws for the Indians with titles in the discus and shot put and he also qualified in the javelin. Adam Deterding cleared 6-8 in the high jump to win for Hays, and the Indians are also
sending all three relays to the state meet.
Carroll got a boost from David Thor’s distance sweep in the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs. He helped along his teammates in the 3200-meter run as the Golden Eagles will send three to state in that event.
Sprinting star Joe Fisher of Valley Center continued to set the track on fire with a blazing 10.35, which is tied for the second-best time in state history. He also won the 200 in convincing fashion with a time of 21.60, almost a second faster than second place.
Mikel Anderson of Wichita West edged Great Bend’s Alex Reed in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.96 to Reed’s 49.21.
At Blue Valley-Stilwell - Click Here for Complete Results
Gardner Edgerton took care of business with a sweep of the team titles at Blue Valley. The Blazer boys were led by their stacked pole vaulting corp and Casey Bowen was the star there. Bowen broke a 33-year-old Gardner Edgerton school record with a vault of 17-1, which is also the second-best in state history. Tommy Brady cleared 15-3 for second place and Ryan Weisenburger was third at 14-0.
The Gardner Edgerton boys were on a mission to win the title on Friday according to coach Brian McGee.
"Our boys were runner-up at the EKL (Eastern Kansas League) League meet a week ago and that left a bad taste in their mouth. Then one of our team's senior leaders and leading point-scorers, Deion Shump (EKL champ in long jump), was a serious car accident last weekend and was unable to compete at Regionals," McGee said in an e-mail. "I've never seen our boys so focused on the task at hand. Without Deion, they pulled together and won a Regional championship. 21 Trailblazer boys and 12 girls are now headed to the State meet."
The girls may not have the depth going into the state meet next week, but they were on par in quality for Gardner Edgerton as the Lady Blazers have several threats to make a run at individual state titles. Jalisa Brice and Kyla Martin led the way in sprints. Martin won the 100-meter dash and was second in the 200 to Brice, who won the event.
The Blazer girls also won the 400-meter relay. Dani Plank, the prohibitive favorite in the javelin next week, unleashed a throw of 146-8 to beat teammate Ashlee Bilhimer's second-place performance by almost 30 feet.
Gardner Edgerton will now look to defend its Class 5A girls title next week, while the boys are hunting the defending champion Hays Indians that look strong again this season.
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The Salina Central girls edged Newton for the team title with 103 points the Railers’ 100. Aleni Zaveksy was a big part of that as she swept the sprints in her senior season. Sadie Suenram was equally as valuble in the field with wins in the discus and shot put and a third-place finish in the javelin.
Newton also finished second on the boys’ side, but the boys were second to host Emporia. The Railers won all three of the relays at Emporia to go along with a sweep of the 100 and 200-meter dash gold medals by Peter Nelson and Cristian Valdez, respectively.
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At Concordia - Click Here for Complete Results: Boys and Girls
Buhler, Hesston and Smoky Valley battled for the boys’ team title, but it was the Crusaders from Buhler that came out on top with 82 points. Hesston was second with 79 points.
Nick Deterding of Smoky Valley won the 200 and 400-meter dashes along with a six-foot-eight clearance in the high jump to take that event as well.
Skylar Arneson won the shot put and discus in convincing fashion for Nickerson as he is a threat to do the same thing at Cessna Stadium next week.
Colby won the girls team title thanks in large part to the efforts of the distance duo of Emilea Finley and Katrina Kaus. Finley won the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, while Kaus was right behind in second for both. Finley also is a qualifier in the open 800.
Hesston picked up wins in the 400- and 1600-meter relays to go with Mollie Nebel’s win in the 400 and Ali Jost’s victory in the 200.
Cassie Caswell pulled the second discus and shot put sweep of the day for Nickerson with easy wins in both those throws.
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Rose Hill was dominant on the boys’ side with a 94 to 55 win over Andale and Maize South, who tied for second place.
The Rockets did not pick up many wins outside of the 400 and 1600-meter relays, but there was great balance from the regional champions throughout all the events.
Mulvane’s Evan Landes won the 1600 and 3200-meter runs to be the favorite going into next week’s state meet.
Wichita Trinity’s Morgan Burns will be seeking the difficult sprint-sweep next week as he won the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes at the Winfield Regional.
Kerry Graber of Maize South has the state’s new No. 1 mark in the high jump with a clearance of six-foot-nine. Winfield’s Jeremy Groene unleashed a monster throw of 192-4 in the discus to improve on the previous best mark in the state by almost 20-feet. That throw is the 13th-best in the state’s history and the
first throw of more than 190-feet since 2008.
On the girls’ side, Andale was the dominant force with a 15-point win over Maize South. The Indians will be sending all three of their pole vaulters to state next week as they went 2-3-4 behind the 4A pole vaulting star Jaimie House of El Dorado.
Molly Milbourn is seeking to sweep the distance events next week as she cruised to victories in the 800, 1600 and 3200.
There was a great battle in the girls hurdle events as Hannah Grubbs of Maize South and Hannah Tjaden of Clearwater. Tjaden took the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 15.24, but Grubbs got her back in the 300 hurdles as she won with a time of 46.64.
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The Douglass Lady Bulldogs defended their home track with 107 points to take the team title over Fredonia.
Savannah Wright pulled a sweep in the 1600 and 3200 to lead the Bulldogs on the track as an individual. The Bulldogs also pulled a sweep of all three relays to account for another 30 points. Amanda Gardner cleared 10-feet in the pole vault and Taren Houser got over the high jump bar at 5-foot-two to round out the
first-place finishes for Douglass, which made up 70 of the 107 points.
Galena won the boys’ title, fairly easily as the Southeast Kansas schools dominated on the boys’ side. Douglass’ Avery McNelly broke through for local schools with a win in the 400-meter dash and Belle Plaine’s Nathan Jantz took the open 800. The Dragons also took the 3200-meter run.
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Hutchinson Trinity and Conway Springs battled it out for the boys’ team title and the Celtics pulled out the two-point win with 93 points to Conway Springs’ 91.
The Cardinals flexed their muscles in the hurdles with a 1-2-3 sweep of the 110-meter hurdles, but Hutchinson Trinity was present in events all over the place.
Michael Mesh won the 100- and 400-meter dashes and finished second to Collegiate’s Rhys Powell in the 200-meter dash. The Celtics were also victorious in the 1600-meter relay.
Brandon Koenigsman was the other Trinity winner in the discus.
Chaparral’s John Siale qualified in all three throwing events as he seeks to be the first athlete to win all three throws since the late 1960’s.
The Conway Springs girls had a much easier go of it on the girls’ side with 101 points for the win to Independent’s 66.
The Cardinals used depth to win on Friday, but Independent could be a threat next week for the Class 3A team title thanks to its top-end talent.
Imani Fenner and Tina Liu went one-two in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. The two also helped the Panthers cruise to victory in the 400-meter relay. Liu claimed Independent’s fourth gold in the triple jump where she is also a threat to win state next week.
Medicine Lodge’s Shanise Rice won the high jump and javelin; both events are within her grasp next week.
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Lincoln’s Jenna Farris swept the 1600 and 3200-meter runs as the defending cross country state champion looks to do the same on the track. Her brother James, also the defending Class 2A champion, qualified in all three distance events.
Bennington’s Paige Krahl won both the sprints and her teammates combined in various forms to sweep the girls relays for Bennington.
Plainville’s Dani Winters pulled a sweep of the shot put and discus.
Daniel Ellis of Bennington will be looking to win the 400 and 800 next week as he claimed the regional title in both events at Hill City.
At Kiowa County - Click Here for Complete Results
Jenna Snell and Pedro Montoya of Ellinwood took home the 3200-meter titles at Kiowa County. Skyline’s anna Petrowsky and Morgan Flowers went one-two in the 100-meter dash. Petrowsky also claimed the 200-meter dash title, while Flowers was third in that race.
Marcus Moeder of La Crosse won the long jump and is one of the favorites in that event come next week.
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Berean Academy went out to Yates Center and the trip was worthwhile as the Warriors swept the team titles easily.
Lauren Pickens is seeking her 10th, 11th and 12th gold medals at the state track meet as she is the three-time defending champion in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes. She is the favorite in all three next week.
On the boys’ side, Daniel Claassen of Berean Academy won the 800 and 1600. Oxford’s Mark Sutton took the other distance race with a win in the 3200. Karlin Wiebe took the shot put and discus for the Warriors.
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There were sweeps all over the place in the girls’ events. Stephanie Caro of Satanta won the 100 and 200. Pretty Prarie’s Selena Wapelhorst won the 1600 and 3200. South Barber’s Erin Merklein took both hurdling events. Cunningham’s Ashley Shearer easily won all three jumps and is the odds on favorite to do so next
Caldwell’s Braden Lebeda and Pretty Prairie’s Isaac Williams also pulled sweeps. Lebeda got the hurdle sweep and Williams got the long distance sweep. Giles Fox of Ashland won all three of the throwing events and Pretty Prairie’s Hunter Pittman took all the jumps that end in the sand.