The Kansas State High
School Activities Association has a full listing of regional track and field
meets at this link.
It is showtime in Kansas track and field.
This is the week when regional meets will be held in every
classification, with the top four finishers in every event qualifying for the
largest state meet in the United States - the Kansas High School Track and
Field Championships at Wichita State University.
That amounts to 720 athletes in individual events, and 36
relay teams in two days of action-packed track and field.
To get there, you've got to 'Survive and Advance'. It
doesn't matter if you finish in first place or fourth place at the regional
meet - you will have earned your spot at state.
Teams do not advance based on their finish at regionals;
only individuals advance to represent their team at the state meet.
For Kansas' athletes and coaches, this is when you put all
your cards on the table. No more experimenting with events, or resting athletes
or even trying to hide your entries from opposing coaches.
If you want to be a state champion, it starts this week.
I've been doing quite a bit of looking at virtual meets for
the state championships, trying to figure out what schools need to get their
athletes through regionals to keep their team title hopes alive. By
classification, here are some of my thoughts of things to watch for at
You might think that class 2A defending boys champion Olpe
is the team to beat after their move to 1A earlier this school year. But, they
South Gray, also a 2A school last year, is a strong favorite
to win this year, with a squad that is loaded in the field and on the track.
The key for South Gray, though, is making sure that all of that depth gets
through the regional meet.
They'll have a good chance to do that on their home track as
they host the class 1A, region 23 meet in Montezuma on Friday.
Olpe's Kyler True is the best middle distance and distance
runner in Kansas, regardless of classification. He's the class 2A defending
champion in the 800, 1600 and 3200, and we expect him to run those events at
the region 22 meet in Burlington, where he clocked a career best 4:10.69 for
1600 meters earlier this season.
At Fort Hays State University, Lakeside's girls need a good
day to remain the favorite in class 1A girls. They are led by 100 meter hurdle
champion Rachel Miller, but it will be the qualifiers in other events that will
boost their state title chances next week.
A two-team battle looms in class 2A girls between defending
state champion Valley Heights and Kiowa County. Valley Heights has star power
and is likely to get its primary state-scorers through at the region 20 meet at
Jefferson County High School. Kiowa County is at the region 18 meet at Stanton
County High School.
The class 2A boys chase begins with some intriguing regional
battles this weekend. Plainville, a team with a strong shot at the 2A boys
state title, will host the region 19 meet which features two other very strong
teams - Sacred Heart and Smith Center. It will be interesting to see if any of
those teams are able to knock off state qualifiers from the other teams this
Washington County and Stanton County are also in the mix for
the 2A boys title. Washington County will be at the region 20 meet at Jefferson
County North, and Stanton County hosts the region 18 meet.
Beloit will kick off its quest to win boys and girls state
titles when they compete at the region 15 meet, hosted by Russell High School.
The boys' squad will get a close-up view of the defending 3A champions and the
team that is likely the early favorite for the 2017 state title - Norton.
Beloit's girls are the defending 3A champions and are loaded
again. The regional meet is the first step in defending their crown.
Hugoton's boys and Cheney's girls are solid contenders in
class 3A. They'll be competing at the region 13 meet, hosted by Cheney. Nemaha
Central's girls are in the mix for the state title this year; they'll try to
push their athletes through at the region 16 meet, hosted by Silver Lake.
Girard's Cailie Logue is a treat to watch anytime she steps
on the track. This week, she takes the first step toward becoming a four-time
state champion in the 3200 meter run when she competes in the region 11 meet at
Paola. She has never been beaten in the 3200 meters in Kansas during her high
Logue became just the seventh Kansas runner to win four
cross country championships last Fall. She's also won two 1600 meter titles and
one 800 meter title, and will probably run all three of the distance and middle
distance events this year.
Maize South, which won boys and girls cross country state
championships last Fall, will also be a strong challenger for the track and
field titles next week. The Mavericks moved down from 5A this school year and
already are showing their strength.
They will be competing in Winfield at the region 12 meet
where they will face off against Andale, which has strong boys and girls teams,
as well. Those two teams will either dominate the regional, or knock a few
individuals out before state...and maybe both.
Pratt and Buhler are also contenders for the boys' state
title. They'll face each other at the region 10 meet, hosted by Buhler.
Defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas is a dominant
force in boys 5A, and I'm not sure anyone can slow them down. They have perhaps
the best star power and best overall depth in the division, which they'll put
on display at the region 5 meet at DeSoto High School.
At that same meet, two of class 5A girls' best teams
will do battle. Pittsburg and St. James Academy have already met on the track
this season, but this one will be with state berths on the line. The two teams
are very similar, with a host of contenders for individual titles. St. James
has some of the state's best relay teams, while Pittsburg has hurdle champion
Taylor Muff and field event firepower.
Sprint-rich teams Leavenworth and Liberal are the schools
with the best chance of beating St. Thomas Aquinas' boys. Leavenworth takes on
the field at the region 8 meet at Shawnee Heights High School, while Liberal
will be at Eisenhower High School in Goddard for the region 7 meet.
One storyline to watch among individuals: Leavenworth's
Aarika Lister is the class 5A defending state champion in the 100 and 200 meter
sprints, posting the state's only sub-12.00 time for girls at the 2016 state
meet. However, we haven't seen her run since early this season and it will be
interesting to see if she's back for regionals and a chance to defend her crown
as the "Fastest Girl in Kansas."
Topeka's boys and Junction City's girls have plenty of
swagger to carry them to the class 6A state championship this season. Make
that, swagger, and speed, as their
power in the short sprints also translates well to the relays.
It could carry each of those Centennial League teams to
state titles next week. They look to take the first step toward that goal when
they compete at the region 2 meet at Lawrence Free State.
Shawnee Mission Northwest and Olathe South have emerged as
contenders for the 6A boys state title. SM Northwest will host the region 4
meet, while Olathe South will compete in the region 3 meet at Olathe North.
In 6A girls, Olathe Northwest and Hutchinson are trying to
take the next step toward contending for the state championship. Olathe Northwest
is also at the region 3 meet at Olathe North, while Hutchinson competes at the
region 1 meet in Dodge City.