WEEKLY PREVIEW: Meets at Beloit, Seaman Highlight Weekend Action

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The thrill ride that is Kansas track and field gets another full infusion of excitement this weekend, with key meets in Beloit and Topeka highlighting the last weekend of April.

Yep, folks, we're about to hit the homestretch of the 2017 season. The month of May and all its glory are just a few days away.

 

But no need to hurry. This Friday, the Beloit Relays will feature 34 teams and a long list of the state's stars in classes 1A through 4A.

 

For starters, how about a showdown in the girls 100 between Concordia's Cydney Bergman, Chapman's Ninti Little, and Lakeside's Rachel Miller. Bergman and Little are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in class 4A, while Miller is the reigning state champion in class 1A.

 

Little was the top Kansas finisher at the Kansas Relays last weekend. She is also expected to battle Miller in the 200.

 

The girls 3200 also promises high drama. Class 1A state cross country champion Autumn Princ, a freshman, takes on class 2A runner-up Kya Johnson of Bennington (who was also the 2015 state cross country champ) and class 3A third place finisher Hannah Burks of Beloit.

 

Some other top girls' performers, by event, expected to compete at Beloit include:

 

Javelin - Kourtni Hubert of Beloit has thrown 148-0 this season, good for the No. 1 ranking in 3A and No. 2 in Kansas.

 

Discus - Sydney Johnson of Beloit is No. 1 in 3A and No. 3 in Kansas, with a toss of 141-3.75.

 

Shot put - Logan Batchman of Sylvan-Lucas is No. 2 in 1A with a throw of 41-5.25.

 

Pole vault - Jessica Williams of Concordia has soared 11-9.75 this season, the second best mark in class 4A.

 

Long jump - Chapman's Little is ranked No. 2 in 4A.

 

Triple jump - Alaina Gfeller of Russell is No. 2 in 3A with a jump of 36-8.5.

 

300 hurdles - Beth Holmes, a freshman from Abilene, is No. 3 in 4A with a season best time of 47.10.

 

800 and 1600 - Halle Johnson of Bennington is No. 1 in class 2A in both of these events.

 

Beloit, Chapman and Concordia should battle it out for the girls' team title at this meet.

 

The boys' field events feature four athletes who are currently ranked No. 1 in their classification.

 

That includes Clay Center's Peyton Lane in the pole vault, whose 15-0 mark is also the best in Kansas. He'll go against Smith Center's Kaden Meitler, who has the state's sixth-best jump at 14-0.

 

Others ranked tops in their classification include Jerrod Hoover of Washington County in the high jump (2A, 6-8); Jae Eaton of Washington County in the shot put (2A, 54-2.25); and Tyler Palic of Marion in the discus (3A, 171-4.75).

 

Other key events in the boys' meet include:

 

Javelin - Four throwers have marks over 170-0, led by Gareth Petitjohn of SE of Saline (178-11.75).

 

Long jump - Cole Strickler of Pike Valley is ranked No. 2 in 1A currently with a jump of 22-2.

 

100 - Six athletes have times under 11.00 this season, led by Jacob Faerber of Sacred Heart (10.59).

 

200 - Kaden Davis of Ellsworth is the 2016 state champion in class 3A. He has run a personal best of 22.08 this season, the fourth best time in Kansas.

 

400  -- Davis is also the one to beat in this event. He was the runner-up at state last year, and finished fifth at the Kansas Relays last weekend.

 

110 hurdles - Zack Gaskill of Sacred Heart has the No. 1 time in 2A this season, at 14.75. It's also the seventh best time in Kansas.

 

Relays - Expect a great battle in the 4 X 100 between Bennington and Sacred Heart, who are tied for the second best time in 2A at 44.60. In the 4 X 400, Republic County is No. 1 in 2A (3:29.75) and Smith Center is No. 3 in 2A (3:31.00).

 

Smith Center and Abilene are likely to do battle for the boys' team title at Beloit.

 

In Topeka, the Seaman Relays feature numerous state medalists and champions from class 5A and 6A. The meet has a reputation for producing some of the fastest times and best marks in the state each year.

 

This meet has especially been a distance runner's delight over the years, and the girls' division has some of the best. Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born (two-time champ in the class 6A 1600 and 3200) and Lawrence Free State's Emily Venters (1600 and 3200 champ in 2014) are expected to match up. Last year, they posted the two fastest 1600 times ever at this meet, with Born getting the record at 4:50.87).

 

Olpe's Kyler True is the state leader in the boys' 800, 1600 and 3200. He's not likely to run all of those events at Seaman, but anytime he's on the track, it's well worth watching.

 

Manhattan's Cara Melgares (fourth in class 6A 1600 last year), and Shawnee Mission North's Amber Reed (fourth in 6A cross country) also boost the distance strength at Seaman.

 

Here are some other events with key competitors at Seaman:

 

100 - The boys race features four of the top 10 sprinters in class 6A, led by Leavenworth's Clifford Robinson, who was third at the Kansas Relays last weekend. Also look for Baqarius Stokes of Shawnee Mission Northwest, and Topeka High speedsters Jai'mein Berry and Calvin Coleman.

 

The girls' 100 may feature a classic matchup between Amaya Booker of Junction City (No. 1 in 6A this year with a time of 12.19) and Leavenworth's Aarika Lister (the 6A state champ last year). Lister, however, scratched from the Kansas Relays last week, so it's not certain if she's healthy to run right now.

 

400 - Jordan Walker of Topeka West (49.56) is ranked No. 1 in 5A, while on the girls side, Evann Seratte of Lawrence (58.23) is No. 3 in Kansas.

 

100 hurdles - Kienna Newman of Junction City is No. 1 in 6A with a season best of 15.05.

 

300 hurdles - Alana Kramer of Junction City tops the 6A rankings with a time of 46.95, also the fourth best in Kansas. Benton McCann of Seaman is No. 3 on the 5A boys list, at 39.96.

 

4 X 100 - Topeka (No. 3 in Kansas) and Leavenworth (No. 5) will battle on the boys' side, while Junction City, Manhattan, Shawnee Mission South, Lawrence and Olathe North could provide a blanket finish in the girls' race.

 

High jump - Richard Newman of Topeka and Tom Haug of Manhattan are tied for the second best mark in 6A (6-6), and the fifth best in Kansas. Olivia Young of Emporia (5-3) is No. 3 on the girls 5A list.

 

Javelin - The state's best thrower will be at Seaman. Dana Baker of Olathe North won the 6A title last year, and has a state-best throw of 159-4 this season. There are five boys who have thrown over 180 feet, led by Manhattan's Sam Hankins (185-0) and Kansas Relays champion Anthony Gallardo of Bishop Carroll (184-7).

 

Long jump - Three of the top five jumpers in Kansas will battle it out, including Jordan Berry of Leavenworth (23-9.75, No. 2); Richard Newman of Topeka (22-10, No. 3); and Stephaun Carter of Topeka (22-6.5, No. 5).

 

Triple jump - Jaylene Brime of Junction City has the top jump in class 6A boys (45-2.25), but he'll get a test from the No. 2 jumper in 6A, Carlitos Hernandez of Shawnee Mission North (45-0). Mariah Murdie of Jefferson West is the pre-meet favorite on the girls side; she's jumped 37-6.5 this season, good for No. 2 in 4A.

 

Pole vault - Natalie Lanman of Shawnee Mission North has a season best of 11-9, the second best mark in 6A and No. 4 in Kansas.

 

Shot put - Xavier Cason of Junction City is No. 1 in 6A with a throw of 53-11.5.

 

Around the state...

 

Valley Heights will host a small meet with big starpower this week. Five teams are expected to attend, but spectators will be able to see defending state champions Kayla Smith (triple jump) and Skyler Saunders (high jump); and two time state runner-up Shelby Vermetten (discus), all from Valley Heights.

 

Smith has also placed in the top 4 at state in the long jump, 100 and 200. The Mustangs also feature freshman middle distance and distance ace Samantha Vermetten (No. 2 in class 2A in the 1600 and No. 3 in the 800).


St. Thomas Aquinas will host a meet with 13 Kansas City area teams, and 11 teams are expected to compete in the Hutchinson Invitational. A few other meets to watch closely include the James Thomas Invitational in Hillsboro (10 teams), the McPherson Invitational in Linsborg (9 teams) and the Shawnee Heights Invitational (7 teams).

 

In case you missed it...

 

There were some great performances at the Buhler Invitational on Tuesday. Yazmine Wright of Hutchinson, the class 6A state champion in the 400 meters last year, put up the second best time of her career, winning in 57.45. It's not far off her state-winning time of 57.19 last May.

 

Teammates Jayla Bynum (shot put) and Martavius Johnson (110 hurdles) also won their events in impressive fashion. Bynum had a career best throw of 40-11.75, currently No. 3 in 6A; and Johnson clocked 14.39. Johnson is the state leader in 6A and No. 2 in Kansas.


At the Wichita East Invitational, Trinity Academy's Megan Elliot put up the state's second best mark in the girls high jump this season, clearing 5-7.75 to win that event. Astrid Same of Wichita East won the girls shot put with a throw of 41-8, and Jaden Damon of Eisenhower won the girls triple jump at 36-8.5.


At the Caney Valley Invitational Tuesday, Kyndal McIntosh of Caney Valley won the javelin with a throw of 122-7.75.


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