WEEKLY PREVIEW: State's Best Go Head-to-Head at Several Meets This Week

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Many of the state's top track and field athletes will go head-to-head as the 2017 season rolls into its second full week beginning Thursday.


And from the standpoint of seeing many of the state's top performers so far, it doesn't get much better than a pair of meets taking place Friday in the Kansas City area.


Class 6A's top ranked Olathe Northwest girls and Olathe East boys are among the teams competing at the Olathe Invitational, hosted by Olathe Northwest High School. The meet features several teams that hit the top 10 in the Kansas MileSplit's weekly rankings, released Wednesday.


Yet, while the team standings may provide some drama, it's several individual events that are going to keep fans intrigued.


Gardner-Edgerton's Matt Summerlin and Olathe South's Cameron Waldo will be two to watch in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. They're both ranked in the top 5 among early season times.


Waldo is also the state's top-ranked 400 meter runners, clocking 48.95. But he'll be challenged by the only other Kansas runner to have broken 50 second this year, Topeka West's Jordan Walker, who posted a time of 49.92.


Olathe South, Topeka West and Olathe North should thrill in the 4 X 100 meter relay. The three teams are less than a second apart, with times that rank in the top 10 in the state so far. A good distance race is brewing in the 3200 meter run, with Brian Beach of Olathe North and Trent Cochran of Gardner-Edgerton likely to do battle.


The field events will be highlighted by Olathe South brothers Tre Adger and Robert Adger III, who have both jumped over 21 feet this season. The shot put has some intrigue, as well, with Gardner-Edgerton's Marshall Carpenter and Sam Stranathan doing battle with Mill Valley's Christian Roth and Trey Callahan.


On the girls' side, look for a couple good battles between Olathe South's Grace Williams and Pittsburgh's Faith Turner in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. In the 800, Pittsburg's McKenzie Wilks and Mill Valley's Delaney Kemp have already run in the mid 2:20s this season.


The high jump event at the Olathe Invitational features four who have cleared 5-4 this season, the third best mark in the state so far. They include Bailey Turner of Olathe East; Audrey Fisher of Olathe Northwest; Brea Turner of Olathe North; and Abbie Casper of Pittsburg.


At the Blue Valley Relays, hosted by Blue Valley High School in Stillwell, some monster battles are brewing in the girls distance races. There are seven girls who have run under 12:00 in the 3200; five under 5:20 in the 1600; and five under 2:30 in the 800.


Those runners include Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born and Lawrence Free State's Emily Venters, who finished 1-2 at the Kansas State Cross Country Championships, as well as in the 3200 and 1600 meter runs at last year's track and field championships.


Other girls to watch in the distance races and distance relays include Blue Valley North's Sophie Scott, St. Thomas Aquinas' Olivia Sovereign, Shawnee Mission North's Amber Reed, and Shawnee Mission East's Ingrid Worth.


 The girls' pole vault features the state's No. 1 and No. 3 ranked pole vaulters currently. Shawnee Mission Northwest junior Abigail Kelly-salo has cleared 11-6 in the event this year, and Shawnee Mission North's Natalie Lanman is not far behind with a season-best 11-0.


Speaking of pole vault, you'll have a chance to see one of the nation's best at the Blue Valley Relays. Lee's Summit (MO) junior KC Lightfoot has cleared 17-0 already this season, placing fourth at the Texas Relays last week. He is currently ranked No. 4 in the United States and was the runner-up at the New Balance Nationals in February.


Baqarius Stokes of Shawnee Mission Northwest leads the boys' sprinters at the Blue Valley meet. He has a season-best 11.15, but he'll get a good fight from Lee's Summit junior Bruce Andrews (11.16 on the season) and Shawnee Mission East senior Nigil Houston (11.19).


Nationally-ranked hurdler Noah Green has pretty much lit up the state's rankings every time he runs. He's already the state's best in the 100 hurdles, 200 and 400. We're waiting to see if he'll run the 300 hurdles for the first time this year; he is the defending 5A state champion in that event.


Christian Moreno of Lee's Summit would be waiting for Green in the 300 hurdles. He's got a season best of 40.06 and could be the closest contender.


The 4 X 400 should provide quite a bit of excitement to close the meet. Blue Valley Southwest has the best time going in at 3:28.6, but will be put to the test by Lee's Summit (3:29.6) and St. Thomas Aquinas (3:30.6).


Maize High School will host the KT Woodman Invitational on Friday in what looks to be another loaded meet.


The state's No. 1 ranked discus and shot put thrower, Konner Swenson of Maize, highlights the field events. Swenson is also the defending state champion in the javelin, though he has not registered a mark in that event yet this season.


Swenson will get some good competition in the shot put from the state's No. 4 ranked Xavier Cason of Junction City, and No. 5 ranked Josh Carter of Wichita Northwest.


That meet also features the state's best triple jumper so far, Isaac Smallwood of Wichita Heights, who has soared 45-8.5 already this year. And in the long jump, five athletes have jumped further than 21 feet this season, including Cadin Gustafson of Derby (22-2.25), Devin Johnson of Salina South (21-6), Malik Bolton of Wichita Southeast (21-4.25), K'Vonta Baker of Wichita Heights (21-1.25) and Sencere Devlin Wolke of Maize (21-1.25).


Phillip Landrum of Wichita South is the state's No. 2 ranked sprinter in the 100 (10.98) and 200 (22.28). In the 200, he'll face Jaden Powell of Wichita Heights, who is currently No. 4 in that event with a season best of 22.39.


Sprint-rich Junction City will likely shine in several events at Maize. They've got budding stars in the 100 (Amaya Booker and Lyric Holman), 200 (Booker), 400 (Tiara Smith), 100 hurdles (Keina Newman, who has the state's best time of 15.29), and 300 hurdles (Alana Kramer).


That sprint depth also makes the Jays a force in the relays, especially the 4 X 100, where they have the state's third best time so far.


Wichita Southeast's Christal Mosley is capable of winning the 100 and 200 meters at this meet. She's also one of the state's best in the high jump.


For an in-depth listing of meets taking place in Kansas this weekend, check out the calendar on MileSplit KS.


Quick look at Valley Heights Invitational


On Tuesday, Valley Heights junior Kayla Smith picked up fourth first place finishes at her home meet, winning the 100 (13.30), 200 (27.12), long jump (17-3) and triple jump (38-1.5). Smith is the two-time defending state champion in the triple jump.


Valley Heights also got wins from sisters Shelby Vermetten (discus and shot put) and Samantha Vermetten (400 and 800).


Class 1A defending pole vault champion Breanna Schmitz of Centralia won that event at the Valley Heights meet.


James Montgomery of Southern, Neb. swept the sprints, winning the 100 in 11.72 and the 200 in 23.89.