Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!
Well, for the Kansas Track and Field scene, how about we let those engines go full bore? While several teams have already dipped into the 2017 season with smaller meets the past 14 days, many other teams will see their first action of the season this week.
Each Wednesday during the 2017 season, I'll preview the upcoming weekend of meets, including some athletes to watch and maybe even a few exciting matchups. Then, on Sundays, I will recap some of the best performances from the previous week.
If you've got questions, corrections, or suggestions for stories, please send them my way at melgares@LetsGoRun.com.
Let's get this rolling....
Nemaha Central senior Jacob Koelzer gets a new season started when he competes at the Silver Lake Invitational on Thursday. Koelzer is the Class 3A defending champion in the long jump and 100 meters - events in which he's been beaten only once by 3A competition the past two years - and was the state runner-up last year in the 200.
Silver Lake senior Alex Ferguson, who committed this spring to run at Kansas State University, is on a comeback trail. She missed the 2016 season with an injured knee, but will finally get back to the track at her home meet. She won the Class 3A 400 meters in 2014 and 2015, and the 800 meters in 2015. She has only been beaten once in those events during her high school career - a third place finish in the 400 at the Kansas Relays in 2015.
Pittsburg standout Taylor Muff (shown at left) kicks off her senior campaign at the Baldwin Relays Friday. Muff is the defending state champion in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, as well as one of the division's best in the discus.
We have not yet seen nationally-ranked hurdler Noah Green compete in the hurdles this high school season, but he has been burning up the track. Green won the 200 (21.97, so far the best in Kansas) and 400 (49.60) at the Lansing Quad earlier this week.
He and his St. Thomas Aquinas teammates will compete Saturday at the Shawnee Mission South Relays, which are being held at Shawnee Mission North's stadium (due to construction at SM South). If Green runs the 300 hurdles this week, look for a good race with Shawnee Mission West's Kenny Dorsey, who has the state's fifth best time in that event so far this year.
Shawnee Mission East's Destiny Ray has the state's best time in the girls 200 (26.43) so far, and second best in the 100 (12.89). She'll be at the SM South Relays on Friday. Blue Valley Southwest sophomore Macy Ruffalo has the state's best time in the 100 (12.83 in beating Ray last week) and will be at the Blue Valley Spring Classic.
Leavenworth junior Aarika Lister, the only female sprinter to run under 12 seconds for the 100 meters at last year's state meet, is the defending state champion in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. She gets her 2017 season started Friday at the Blue Valley West Invitational.
Olathe South senior Cameron Waldo has the state's best time in the 400 meters so far, clocking 48.95 at the Belton Pirate Invitational last week. Teammate Emmanuel Okwuone tops the early-season times in the 300 hurdles (40.13). They are scheduled to compete Friday at the Blue Valley Spring Classic
St. Thomas Aquinas' distance crew is off to a hot start. They swept the top five places in the 3200 at the Lansing Quad, with all five runners posting times under 10:00. That's impressive any time of the season, but in the first meet of the year? Wow....
Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born may get her season started at the SM South Relays. Born, a junior, is the two-time defending 6A girls champion in the 1600 and 3200 meters.
Girard senior Cailie Logue, a four-time 4A state champion in cross country and six-time champ on the track, is expected to kick off her season Saturday at the Labette County Invitational. Logue won the 800, 1600 and 3200 last spring, setting 4A state records in all three events.
Olpe's Kyler True, a nationally-ranked middle distance runner who will run at Oklahoma State University next year, is scheduled to compete at the Silver Lake Invitational. True is a five-time individual state champion in track and field, and three-time champ in cross country.
Throwing their Weight Around
At the Washburn Rural Invitational on Thursday, an event you need to catch is the boys' javelin where the top three throwers in the state may be competing. And, they all wear the same uniform.
We already knew about Manhattan seniors Josh Haus (6A state runner-up in 2016) and Ian Trapp (4th in 6A last year), but now, freshman teammate Sam Hankins joins a loaded group of Indian throwers. Hankins won the Topeka West Charger Invitational two weeks ago with a throw of 175-3 that is so far the best mark in the state this season.
Haus also has the state's best throw in the discus, putting up a season-opening 154-2.5 two weeks ago. That mark is about 18 feet further than anyone else so far this season.
Olathe North junior Dana Baker has state-leading marks in two events, the javelin (133-7) and discus (114-4). Baker set her school's record in the javelin last year with a state championship-winning throw of 149-1. Olathe South senior Simone Baldeh tops the state's shot putters so far, with a mark of 39-1.5. Both athletes are expected to compete at the Blue Valley Spring Classic.
In the boys' shot put, Piper senior Micaiah Noel (49-8) and sophomore teammate Cooper Beebe (46-8) are expected to go head-to-head with Ottawa's Brock Reed (shown at left) at the Ottawa Invitational on Friday. Reed placed 4th in the Class 4A state meet last year, while Noel was fifth but has the state's best throw so far this year. Beebe has the state's third-best throw so far.
Valley Center senior Taylor Latimer, the defending state champion in the discus, kicks off her season at the Andale Relays. She's also a contender for the state title this year in the shot put and javelin.
Manhattan's Tom Haug, who will compete at the Washburn Rural Invitational Thursday, is the state's best so far in the high jump, clearing 6-6 already this season. He's trailed by a pack of seven jumpers in a logjam at 6-0.
Olathe Northwest teammates Maddi Righter, a sophomore, and Audrey Fisher, a senior, have the best marks in the state so far - each clearing 5-4 last week. They are at the Shawnee Mission South Relays on Friday where they could meet up with Shawnee Mission East junior Jessie Stindt, who has the state's fourth-best mark at 5-2.
At the Blue Valley Spring Classic, watch for Olathe South senior Robert Adger III to fly in the long jump. He's already jumped 21-1 this season, a career best, and has the state's second best mark so far.
Across the city, Shawnee Mission West's Reggie Edwards has the state's third best long jump, at 21-0, also a career best. He'll be in action at the SM South Relays.
Shawnee Mission North senior Carlitos Hernandez and Shawnee Mission Northwest junior Zhanarden Vil are likely to put on a good show in the triple jump at the South Relays. Hernandez has the state's best jump so far at 45-0, while Vil is not far behind with the second-best mark, 43-2. Those jumps are career bests for both athletes.
Rain, Rain, Stay Away
Wet weather threatens this week's meet schedules. Be sure to check with your local school to make sure the meet is on, or if there are delays caused by weather.
Coaches - send us your results! Email results immediately after your meet to
We also encourage all fans and spectators to remind your coaches to send us results for Kansas MileSplit.