WEEKLY PREVIEW: Many of Kansas' Best Converge on the Shocker Pre-State Challenge

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The eyes of Kansas track and field will focus on Wichita this week as several of the state's brightest stars come together for the Shocker Pre-State Challenge at Wichita State University.

The high school events are sandwiched between Wichita's State's KT Woodman Classic, which began Tuesday and Wednesday with the multi-events for men and women.


The high school distance carnival and the boys and girls javelin get going at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and most other track and field events will be held Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m.


College events resume at 6 p.m. Friday and continue through Saturday. A full meet schedule, heat sheets and more information is available online at goshockers.com.


For the high schoolers, this is a sneak preview to the state meet at the end of May, and for fans, it's a great opportunity to see some excellent track and field competition.


Jewell Bolden of Andover Central is among the brightest of stars. The senior speedster has been beaten only once in the 100 meter hurdles during her high school year, that coming as a freshman at the Kansas Relays.


She's the top seed in the high school elite division Friday, with a time of 14.76. Her closest pursuers may be 2016 Class 1A state champion Rachel Miller of Lakeside-Downs, and Newton's Maggie Remsberg, who placed third in class 5A as a freshman last year.


 Martavius Johnson of Hutchinson headlines the field in the boys' 110 hurdles. The senior is the defending champion in Class 6A, and put up a smooth 14.37 to win the Horace Good Hawk Classic in Great Bend on Tuesday.


Johnson may have his hands full on Friday, though, with Liberal's Austin Mullins, who put up a career best 14.59 at the 5 State Meet last week; and Caney Valley's Tyler Watts, whose career best of 14.61 also came last week.


The sprints promise to thrill throughout the two-day meet, including:


100 meters - Kalli Anderson and Savannah Simmons of Newton, both juniors, placed second and third at state in both the 100 and 200 last year. They are likely the best in this field. The boys' race pits another Newton speedster, senior Kade Remsberg, against Wichita Southeast junior Phillip Landrum.


200 meters - Wichita Southeast's Christal Mosley and Newton's Simmons are the pre-meet favorites, with Newton's Jen Andres likely to keep them honest. Landrum is the top seed on the boys' side, Wichita East's C.J. Bell and Newton's Remsberg have run similar times.


400 meters - Class 6A state champ Yazmin Wright of Hutchinson was also second at state in this event the previous two years., but she doesn't have the top seed time heading into Friday's race. That belongs to Jaden Taylor of Derby, at 57.90. Should be a good race between these two.


In the boys' 400, Liberal's Mullins is the defending state champ, just edging out his teammate, Dusty Torres. Both are just juniors this year, and they'll likely thrill fans on Friday.


Relays - Newton is becoming a dominant relay school in the state, with a strong corps of sprinters who can cover many events. The girls 4 X 100 quartet is more than two seconds faster than the next seeded team (Goddard-Eisenhower).


The boys 4 X 100 looks to be a solid fight between four teams: Wichita Southeast, Hutchinson, Wichita South, and Wichita East.


Garden City and Newton seem to be much stronger than the field in the girls 4 X 400 relay, but seven teams on the boys' side are on the mix. Liberal's boys have the top seed time, at 3:24, but the six other are within six seconds of that.


Maize South seems to be the dominant force in the 4 X 800 relays; the girls' team is nearly 20 seconds better right now than its closest competition. The boys, however, will be in a tough battle with Dodge City - both teams enter Friday's race with seed times of 8:08. Newton, Great Bend and Garden City boys' teams are within three seconds of those two pre-meet favorites.


300 hurdles - The girls' race features two athletes who finished as state runner-up in their division last year. Abby Smarsh of Andale enters with a time of 45.95 while Maggie Remsberg of Newton has run 46.25. Hutchinson's Johnson is the pre-meet favorite on the boys' side, but Adrian Brown of Derby will be a strong contender for the win.



The distance events will feature many of the state's best, as well. Maize South's Sierra Mortenson and Destini Eckridge, and Wichita North's Gabriela Reyna headline the field in the girls 3200. Nationally-ranked middle distance runner Kyler True is the top-ranked boy in the 3200, but he'll get a good race from Andover's Alex Moen and Great Bend's Kerby Depenbusch.


True will also run the 800, where he's the top seed with a time of 1:52.64, while the girls' top seed is Maize South's Kassidy Johnson (2:16.36). Johnson may get a push from Garden City's Aileen Gurrola, who comes in with a time of 2:18.00.


Halle Johnson of Bennington seems to be a strong favorite in the girls 1600, but the boys' race could be a blanket sprint between Garrett Doll of Garden City, Quanah Gardiner of Ashland, Hunter Henderson of Shawnee Heights, and Lakelin Conrad of Wichita Heights. All four of those boys have run 4:27 or better.


In the field events, Evan Irish of Salina South and Matt Pile of Goddard-Eisenhower head up the boys' javelin, while Hallie Brown of Arkansas City, Katy Commons of Andale and Taylor Latimer of Valley Center are pre-meet favorites for the girls.


The top seeds in the other field events include:


High jump - Megan Elliott of Wichita Trinity (5-6) and Michael Hoffer of Shawnee Heights (6-10);


Pole vault  -- Jewel Eck of Andale (12-9) and Ruben Huerta of Garden City (15-0);


Long jump - Andover Central's Jewell Bolden (18-11) and Liberal's Markalyn Eatmon (23-9);


Triple jump  -- Goddard-Eisenhower's Jaden Damon (37-10) and Newton's Landon Moore (45-3);


Shot put - Wichita East's Astrid Same (43-3) and Whitewater's Garet Johnson (53-1);


Discus - Hill City's Allyssa Miler (158-0) and Tonganoxie's LeeRoi Johnson (164-0).



Around the state...


There will be plenty of good track and field in other parts of the state, including the Barrier Breakers Meet at Lawrence Free State High School on Friday. The meet features several Kansas City-area schools, as well as schools from Topeka, Emporia and Missouri.


Two Kansas City meets to look for are the Olathe South Mid-Season Meet, and the Shawnee Mission West Invitational. Among smaller schools, Thursday meets include the Washington County Invitational, yates Center Invitational and the Stockton Invitational. Friday's schedule includes the Anderson County Invitational and the Rolla Invitational.