Not rain or wind or cold evening temperatures could keep
Kansas' track and field athletes from busting the door wide open on the 2017
In what amounted to the first full week of competition in
the state, several athletes put up mid-season and even late-season
performances. If this is how this season is starting, well, the rest of the
spring could be one for the ages.
Maybe most evident is some early marks we saw this week in
the middle distance and distance races. You'd think that the cold, windy days
would have slowed those in the longest of the track races, but Lawrence Free
State's Emily Venters stared Mother Nature in the face and put up a career-best
time of 10:26 for 3200 meters in her school's annual dual with Lawrence High.
Two other girls -- Shawnee Mission's Northwest's Molly Born
and Manhattan's Cara Melgares -- put up the state's top marks so far in the 800
and 1600 meter events, respectively. Born clocked 2:18 at the Shawnee Mission
South Invitational, and Melgares ran 5:10 at the Beardslee Invitational at
The boys got into the act, too. Spring Hill's Dylan Brenneman put himself on top of the state list in the 800 meters, winning in
1:58.62 at the Blue Valley Northwest Spring Classic in a close finish with St.
Thomas Aquinas' Alex Gill (1:59.73). Olpe's Kyler True kicked off his senior
campaign by winning the 1600 at the Silver Lake Invitational in a time of
St. Thomas Aquinas' Will Cole and Leavenworth's Daniel Bohnemann finished in a virtual dead heat in the 3200 meter run at the Blue
Valley Northwest Spring Classic. Cole got the win, but both were given times of
9:42.58, the fastest run in the state so far this season.
There was fire in the sprints this week, too, with Newton's
Kade Remsberg clocking 10.86 for 100 meters at the Joe Vann Invitational hosted
by Winfield, and St. Thomas Aquinas' Noah Green winning the 200 at the Lansing
Quad in 21.97. Green, a nationally-ranked hurdler, also ran the 110 hurdles for
the first time this season, putting up a state-best 14.10.
The Queen of Kansas sprinting right now is Leavenworth's
Aarika Lister. In her first outing of the season, she won the 100 meters at the
Leavenworth Invitational in 12.25. Wichita Southeast's Christal Mosley is pretty
darn good, too; she won the 200 meters and 400 meters at the Wichita
Southeast Invitational in times of 25.36 and 58.15 -- both state bests.
Junction City sophomore hurdler Keina Newman put up the
state's best mark in the 100 hurdles, winning in 15.29 at the Junction City
Invitational. Andale junior Abby Smarsh put her name atop the state's rankings
in the 300 hurdles, clocking 48.09 at the Andale Relays.
Austin Mullins of Liberal smoked the 300 hurdles at the Joe
Vann Invitational. His time of 38.53 heads the state rankings, and is a time
that would have placed second at the Class 5A state meet last year. He's
certainly in the conversation as someone who could challenge Green in that
event this season.
Konner Swenson of Maize put up two state-leading marks this
weekend -- winning the shot put (56-2.25) and discus (170-10.75) at the Wichita
Southeast Invitational. Davon Spexarth of Andale is now the state leader in the
javelin; he threw 180-11.75 to win the Andale Relays.
Michael Hoffer of Shawnee Heights soared 6-8 to put up the
season's best high jump mark, while Wichita Heights' Isaac Smallwood (45-8.5)
and Topeka's Richard Newman (22-10) sit atop the leaders in the triple jump and
long jump, respectively.
Bailee Swift of Chase County put up the state's best javelin
throw among the ladies, winning the Lyndon Invitational with a mark of 134-6.
Taylor Latimer of Valley Center won the discus at the Andale Relays with a toss
of 142-11.25 and Dighton's Jordan Speer won the shot put at the Greeley County Early
Season Meet (46-9.5).
In the girls' jumps, Eisenhower senior Jaden Damon took over
the top spot in the state with a jump of 17-11 at the Eisenhower Participation
Meet, and Trinity Academy's Megan Elliot won the high jump at the Joe Vann
Invitational in Winfield with an effort of 5-5.75.
St. James Academy's girls won the 4 X 400 meter relay at the
Show Me Showdown with a state best 4:09.80, and also took the sprint medley
relay at that meet with a time of 4:43.82. In a non-traditional relay race,
Shawnee Mission Northwest won the 4 X 1600 in 22:21.52 at the Shawnee Mission
Newton's girls, the class 5A state champs in the 4 X 100
meters a year ago, kicked off the new season in fine fashion, winning the Joe
Vann Invitational in a solid time of 49.24.
Olathe South's boys had a couple state-best efforts in the
relays. They won the 4 X 100 in 42.92 and the 4 X 400 in 3:26.35 at the Belton
Pirate Invitational. Maize South's boys won the 4 X 800 in 8:08.93 at the
Wichita Southeast Invitational.
While the avalanche of state-best times is to be expected
this early in the season, the bar has been set pretty high for the next eight
weeks. Here's to hoping the weather will take a cue from the hot marks Kansas'
athletes are already putting up.