CLASS 3A STATE PREVIEW: A Repeat for Beloit's Girls and Norton's Boys?

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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.

 

Pre-meet favorites

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 other.

 

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.

 

Returning state champions (with current grade level)

 

Girls

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

 

Boys

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

 

My prediction

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.


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