Class 3A track and field has had its dominant teams, such as
Silver Lake's girls in 2015 and Beloit's girls last year. But the field in both
the boys and girls divisions seems to be a bit more close this time around.
That tends to set up to each team's strengths; it may come
down to whether one team's field event strength can overcome another team's
sprint strength or distance strength. Each of the contenders in this division
will have to get all they can from their areas of strength, then chew their
nails when other teams have their athletes competing.
Boys - Norton, Hugoton and Beloit
Girls - Beloit, Cheney and Nemaha Central
Events that I'm
excited to see
No doubt...the boys 100 meter dash. The division's top 8 times
are 10.96 and faster, so this could be the classic blanket finish with a
hold-your-breath gasp until the results pop up on the scoreboard. The 200
should be fun, too, with the top 8 times all within .7 of a second of each
The girls' 400 meters. Alex Ferguson of Silver Lake was the
state champion in the 400 as a freshman and sophomore, and the 800 as a
sophomore, but suffered a knee injury that put her out for her junior campaign.
She's back and has recently gotten back under 1:00 in the 400. She'll have a
tough battle to regain her state title in the 400, as Paige McDaniel of
Wellsville has the division's top time of 58.63, and defending champion Emerson Tice of Garden Plain is back, as well.
Allison Rottinghaus of Nemaha Central is the defending
champion in the triple jump, but she's ranked No. 2 in class 3A this year
behind Russell's Alaina Gfeller, who won the long jump at state last year.
Should be a great battle between two champions.
Similarly, Lucas Broxterman of Royal Valley is the defending
state champ in the high jump, but he'll have to deal with Hugoton's Tony Kinser, who has the No. 2 jump in Kansas and No. 1 in 3A this year at 6-10. Kinser was third in
the class 4A championships in 2016.
champions (with current grade level)
400 - Emerson Tice, senior, Garden Plain
3200 - Elizabeth Kettler, sophomore, Hiawatha
Discus - Sydney Johnson, junior, Beloit
Javelin - Kourtni Hubert, senior, Beloit
Pole vault - Grace Stohs, junior, Marysville
Long jump - Alaina Gfeller, senior, Russell
Triple jump - Allison Rottinghaus, junior, Nemaha Central
110 hurdles - Nick Ast, senior, Cimarron
100 - Jacob Koelzer, senior, Nemaha Central
200 - Kaden Davis, senior, Ellsworth
3200 - Jack Thomas, sophomore, Scott Community
High jump - Lucas Broxterman, senior, Royal Valley
Long jump - Jacob Koelzer, senior, Nemaha Central
2016 Team Champions
Boys - Norton Community and Scott Community
Girls - Beloit
Beloit's girls are really good again, and with defending state
champions Sydney Johnson (discus) and Kourtni Hubert (javelin), they are going
to get the big points. The question is whether graduation has taken enough of
their depth to help Cheney or Nemaha Central catch up. I don't think it will
happen; Beloit should win two in a row.
Norton Community and Scott Community went down to the wire
before sharing the title last year, but Scott Community was hurt worse by
graduation. It leaves Norton as the pre-meet favorite, but I like Hugoton's
chances. That school moved from 4A this year, and won the cross country state
title in the Fall. I think their distance and relay strength could prove to be
a difference-maker on the track, as well.