WEEKLY PREVIEW: 43 Teams Expected for Shawnee Mission North Invite

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If you dare, take a deep breath from the Kansas Track and Field excitement this week.

It's likely that many of the state's athletes will be doing just that, considering that the important league, regional and state meets are all taking place over the next 21 days.


Coaches play this week of the season a bit differently. Some choose to rest their top athletes altogether, while some put them in shorter or even longer races to get that last bit of sharpening before championship season begins.


What often happens, though, is that because many of the state's stars get a lighter workload, they're likely to bust their best marks of the season in the events that they do compete in - especially if they're on the track.


Cue the Shawnee Mission North Invitational.


That's my featured meet of the week because it's where many of the state's best get together for a wild afternoon and evening of track and field. Forty-three teams are expected to compete Friday; it's the largest meet hosted by a high school in Kansas each year.


Last year, Girard's Cailie Logue won the 1600 in a state-leading time of 4:44.08, which is also the meet record. She beat her friends and rivals, Molly Born of Shawnee Mission Northwest and Emily Venters of Lawrence Free State in a race that had the fans on their feet.


At the Kansas Relays three weeks ago, Logue beat Born and Venters in the 3200 meters with a time of 10:09.97, a state record in Kansas. Born was second in 10:10.64 and Venters third at 10:16.61.


Those three are again entered to run against each other in the 1600 meters on Friday. The fastest 1600 ever run in Kansas is by Amy Mortimer of Riley County in 1999, with a time of 4:42.29. That record could be in jeopardy at this meet.


I wouldn't wait until the track races start, however. Go early and watch Dana Baker of Olathe North throw the javelin. Her season-best of 159-4 puts her at No. 3 in the United States as of this week; she threw 157-10 in winning the Seaman Relays last weekend.


The meet record in the girls javelin is 156-0, set in 2008 by Roxanne Grizzle of Tonganoxie.


The longest standing record at the Shawnee Mission North Relays is in the 300 meter hurdles, where Bob Bornkessel ran 36.50 in 1968. St. Thomas Aquinas' Noah Green has the potential to challenge that record. His season-best is 37.45, which ranks him at No. 24 in the United States currently. Breaking the record would get Green into the top 5 in the country.


Other state leaders that are expected to be competing at Shawnee Mission North, with their state-leading times, include:


* Cameron Waldo of Olathe South in the 400 (48.95);

* The Olathe South boys' 4 X 400 relay team (3:21.70);

* Audrey Fisher of Olathe Northwest in the triple jump (39-0.5);

* Maddi Righter of Olathe Northwest in the high jump (5-9); and

* Rachel Mayberry of Olathe Northwest in the pole vault (12-0).


Field events begin at 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Mission North High School track. Prelims on the track begin at 3 p.m. and finals are expected to get rolling 45 minutes after prelims are done.


Around the state...


Bragging rights are up for grabs when eight teams get together for the Joe Schrag City Invitational in Topeka on Friday. High jumpers Richard Newman of Topeka and Michael Hoffer of Shawnee Heights will square off in what should be an exciting dual - both have cleared 6-8 this season to lead their respective classifications in that event.


Hoffer is also the state's best in the long jump (23-1.5), and the Topeka boys' 4 X 100 relay jumped to No. 1 in the state last week when they won the Seaman Relays in 42.37.


Seaman swept boys' and girls' City titles last year, and should be right in the mix again.


Bishop Carroll hosts its home invitational with 10 teams expected to compete, all from the Wichita area. This meet could feature state leaders in several events, including Phillip Landrum of Wichita South (100 meters); Isaac Smallwood of Wichita Heights (triple jump); and Christal Mosley of Wichita Southeast (200).


The Derby Invitational will feature 11 teams including the sprint-rich Newton girls' team. Sophomore Kalli Anderson of Newton is No. 1 in Kansas with a time of 11.76, and she leads the school's state-leading 4 X 100 meter relay team.


Also at Derby, Maize South's Kassidy Johnson is No. 1 in Kansas in the 800 meters (2:13.32); Newton's Maggie Remsberg is No. 1 in the 300 hurdles (45.92); and Ethan Kossover of Maize South is No. 1 in the 4A 1600 meters with a time of 4:23.68.

Another Newton speedster, Kade Remsberg, is slated to complete in the 100 and 200, where he ran a career best of 21.69 to win the El Dorado Invitational last week. Remsberg is the 2015 class 5A state champion in the 100 and 200 sprints.


Also in the Wichita area, 12 teams are set to compete at the Goddard Invitational. That meet will have plenty of starpower, but among the best to see will be Andover Central's Jewell Bolden, who is the state's No. 1 in the 100 hurdles (14.59) and long jump (19-4).


More than 30 meets will be held around the state Thursday through Friday. Some of the featured meets with smaller schools include the Red Aces Relays in Bucklin, the Riley County Invitational, the Wamego Invitational, and Circle Invitational.


True lights it up...again!


Olpe senior Kyler True lowered his state-leading times in the 1600 and 800 meters on Tuesday, winning both races at the Burlington Invitational.


He ran the fastest times he's ever run in a meet on Kansas soil, clocking 4:10.69 in the 1600 and 1:51.26 in the 800. Hadley Splechter of Yates Center was second in the mile, and his time of 4:30.75 put him at No. 2 in class 2A this season.


Also at Burlington, Madeline Hess of Wabaunsee jumped to No. 1 in the 2A girls 3200 meter run, winning in 11:37.93. And Bennington won the girls' 4 X 800 in a time of 10:14.37, good for the best mark in 2A this season.


At the Moundridge Invitational Tuesday, Hutchinson Trinity's Celia Biel - the class 3A state cross country champion last Fall - won the 1600 in 5:25.70 to lower her own division-leading mark in that event. Shae Ware of Sedgwick won the 200 in 25.93 to move to No. 1 in class 3A, and Sedgwick's 4 X 400 meter relay team grabbed the top spot in 3A girls with a winning time of 4:13.21.


At the Tescott Invitational, freshman sensation Autumn Princ of Sylvan-Lucas - winner of the 1A cross country state title last Fall - nabbed class 2A No. 1 marks in both the 800 (2:27.81) and 1600 (5:24.31). She also holds the division's best mark in the 3200 meters.