Sterling's Tyus Wilson proved the point on Friday when the freshman high jumper won the class 3A state title despite missing on five of six tries. The one he made -- at 6-6 -- was enough to win the gold medal as no one else in the competition managed to do better than 6-4.
Wilson, who earlier this year cleared 7-0 to claim the No. 1 ranking in the United States among high school freshmen, opened the competition by passing all the way to 6-6. The strategy almost backfired as he missed on his first two attempts at that height.
Scott Community's Marshall Faurot missed on all three of his attempts at 6-6, leaving just one more jump for Wilson. Imagine being a freshman and facing the pressure of the country's largest track and field meet taking place all around you. One good jump would give you first place and a state title -- another miss would put you in last place.
In his all-or-nothing jump, Wilson managed to get over the bar, winning the state title, but then missed on three consecutive tries at 6-8. Six jumps, five misses and one clutch clearance.
Also on Friday, Valley Heights' Kayla Smith won the class 2A triple jump, her fourth state title in the event in four years. Smith, whose winning jump was 38-10.25, had six jumps in the competition that were all better than the second place finisher -- Brianna Vogts of Olpe (36-1.25). Tracey Kaiser of Bennington was third at 36-1.
However, earlier in the meet, Smith was victim to an upset by Heritage Christian Academy's Kate Allen, who won the class 2A girls long jump with a leap of 17-3. It was half an inch further than Smith, who had won the event last year. Casey Erickson of Kiowa County was third at 16-11.
Beloit's Sydney Johnson took care of her business, dominating the field in the class 3A girls discus. Johnson, a senior who entered this week's meet with the No. 17 ranking in the United States, unleashed a throw of 151-8 to win the competition by more than 11 feet.
It is the second state title for Johnson, the other coming in 2016. She finished fourth in the discus a year ago. She is heavily favored to win the class 3A girls shot put on Saturday.
Valley Heights' Skyler Saunders gave a boost to her school's quest for a third state title in four years by winning the high jump for the third year in a row. The senior got a good battle from Destiny Masters of Bluestem with both clearing 5-4. But Saunders had one fewer miss leading up to 5-4 to get the win.
Wesley Shaw of Hillsboro continued his dominating late-season run by winning the class 2A boys shot put with a throw of 60-11.5 -- nearly 11 feet further than second place Avery Hawkins of Smith Center, who threw 50-1.75. It's the first state title for Shaw, a junior. Jared Casey of Plainville (49-9.25) finished third.
Later on Friday, Shaw finished second in the class 2A discus throw behind nationally-ranked Marion senior Tyler Palic, whose winning toss was 182-6. Palic entered the meet with a season-best of 191-11, good for No. 2 in Kansas and No. 17 in the United States. He finished second to Shaw at last week's regional meet.
In other field event action Friday:
Shelby Ohlde of Linn squeaked by Alexandra Hart of Rolla in the class 1A girls high jump. Both cleared 5-6, but Ohlde was clean from 5-0 to 5-4, while Hart missed once at 5-4. It was the second consecutive state title for Ohlde, after having finished runner-up in 2015 and 2016. Sheridan Rodriguez of Deerfield was third at 5-4.
Breanna Schmitz of Centralia regained the state title she won two years ago in the class 1A girls pole vault, clearing 11-0. Schmitz was the runner-up in the event a year ago. Summer Casey of Central Christian was second at 10-0 and Chaylee Lowry of Northern Valley was third at 9-6.
Kylar Williams of Stockton won the class 1A boys long with a leap of 21-10.25, a foot ahead of Trever Medina of Wallace County, who leaped 20-10.25. Nathan Pickerell of Valley Falls was third at 19-4.75.
Madison Lueger of Centralia successfully defended her class 1A girls title in the javelin, throwing 144-2. It was just five inches off her career best, but two feet further than she threw to win state last year. Shade Torres of South Gray was second at 133-7 and Rhyann Brown of Osborne was third at 131-8.
Blake Harnden of Attica captured his first-ever state championship with a leap of 43-5.5 to win the class 1A boys triple jump. He was third in the event a year ago. Trever Medina of Wallace County was second (42-9) and Ty Brummer of Tipton Catholic placed third (42-5.5).
Samantha Simoneau of Burrton also became a state champion for the first time when she won the class 1A girls discus with a toss of 122-6. It was four inches better than Maycee Callihan of Clifton-Clyde (122-2). Logan Batchman of Sylvan-Lucas was third at 118-4.
Batchman, though, earned her first-ever state championship in the class 1A girls shot put with a throw of 40-4.75. Krysten Bartlett of Central Christian was second with a toss of 39-7 and Jada Lee of White City was third at 36-2.5.
Ryan Stanley of Bennington won the class 2A boys pole vault, clearing 14-0. Jayce Hamel of Hill City and Trey Summer of Stanton County both cleared 13-0, but Hamel got the second place medal based on fewer misses.
Colton Hutchinson of Smith Center made his opening throw of 186-7 stand up to win the class 2A boys javelin. Hutchinson did have two more throws over 180 feet, but it was his first one of the day that got him the title. Hesston Maxwell of Smith Center was second at 180-9 and Jerrick Baxa of Republic County was third at 166-7.
The class 3A boys javelin was a tight affair that went to Gareth Pettijohn of Southeast of Saline, whose best throw on the day was 188-1. It was just a few inches ahead of Jonny Becker of Garden Plain (187-8) and Carter Swindale of Osage City (187-4). Trey Patterson of Cheney was also in the mix, throwing the javelin 183-6.
Remington Cravens of Ellsworth hung on to win the class 3A boys triple jump, soaring 44-7.75. Jeremiah Wald of Riverton nearly pulled out the win on his last jump, but came up an inch and one-half short at 44-6.25. Tevin Petrie of Norton Community was third at 43-3.75.
Kylie Klassen of Hesston cleared 10-9 to win the class 3A girls pole vault. Maleigha Schmidt of Hoisington and Aaliyah Jones of Lakin each cleared 10-6, but Schmidt got the second place finish based on fewer misses.
The class 3A boys pole vault went to Chandler Heid of Caney Valley, who thrilled the crowd when he cleared 15-6. He had three tries at 16-0.25, but couldn't quite get over the bar. Pre-meet favorite Marshall Faurot of Scott Community cleared 15-0 for second place -- his second runner-up finish of the day -- and Wyatt Packard of Southwestern Heights was third at 14-6.
Sam Thimmesch of Garden Plain had three throws better than the second place finisher in winning the class 3A boys shot put with a toss of 56-0.5. Connor Winter of Horton was second at 53-0.25 and Tucker Day of Council Grove third at 51-7.25.
Jeremiah Wald of Riverton put up a season- and career-best leap of 21-10.75 to win the class 3A boys long jump. It beat his previous best of 21-5 in the event. Xavier Robinson of Hoisington soared 21-2.75 on his last jump to grab second place, while Harley Stone of Jayhawk Linn was third at 21-1.