CLASS 4A STATE PREVIEW: Star Power Abounds, But Andale's Girls and Maize South Boys Should Prevail

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Kansas' class 4A track and field is dripping with star power. The girls' division truly takes a back seat to no other division in the state, with state champions returning in 12 of the 18 events, and 4A girls holding state-best marks in five events.

The 4A meet also has a chance to see a rarity: Cailie Logue of Girard is going for her fourth straight title in the 3200 meter run, which will make a nice senior-year bookend to the fourth straight cross country title she won in the fall. She is a huge favorite to do so, having run the nation's sixth-best time of 10:09 in winning the Kansas Relays earlier this season.

 

Class 4A newcomer Maize South won the boys and girls cross country titles in the fall and seemingly will make their mark in track and field, as well.


Noticeably missing from this year's meet: Bishop Miege's Jafar Armstrong, who won the 100 and 200 meters at last year's state championships. Armstrong did not compete at last week's regional meet and thus won't get a chance to defend his sprint titles.

 

Pre-meet favorites

Boys - Maize South, Buhler, Pratt, Andale

Girls - Andale, Maize South

 

Events that I'm excited to see

The sprints. Check this out - Ninti Little of Chapman is the defending state champ in the 100, and Jewell Bolden of Andover Central is the defending state champ in the 100 hurdles. Each of those girls was also a runner-up in at least one sprint event in 2016. In other words, it's state champion versus state champion in pursuit of more sprint titles this year.

 

The girls 800 meters. Logue shouldn't have a problem winning the 1600 and 3200, but it is a whole lot less certain in the 800. Maize South's Kassidy Johnson has the state's best time in the 800, running 2:13.32, and she was the 5A state champion a year ago. Johnson is also a 58 second quarter miler (she won the 5A title in that event last year), so she's got the wheels to knock off Logue in the 800.

 

Boys pole vault. Not only is Clay Center's Peyton Lane the defending state champion, but he's just a half inch off the best vault in the state this year. He's just a junior, but has already jumped 15-2.5 this season.

 

Boys 400. The shorter sprints will be exciting, but the 400 should provide equal drama. There are eight athletes in class 4A with times that are within .8 of each other. Over the course of 400 meters, that should get the crowd's attention.

 

Returning state champions (with current grade level)

 

Girls

100 - Ninti Little, Chapman

200 - Demitra Carter, Sumner Academy

400 - Sidney Howland, El Dorado

400 -- Kassidy Johnson, Maize South (5A)

800 - Cailie Logue, Girard

800 -- Kassidy Johnson, Maize South (5A)

1600 - Cailie Logue, Girard

3200 - Cailie Logue, Girard

100 hurdles -- Jewell Bolden, Andover Central

High jump - Mandi Cooks, McPherson

Long jump - Elle Barret, McPherson

Triple jump - Elle Barret, McPherson

Pole vault - Jewel Eck, Andale

 

Boys

100 - Jafar Armstrong, Bishop Miege

200 - Jafar Armstrong, Bishop Miege

3200 - Dylan Brenneman, Spring Hill

Pole vault - Peyton Lane, Clay Center

Triple jump - Eric Scott, Basehor-Linwood

 

2016 Team Champions

Boys - Bishop Miege

Girls - Baldwin

 

My prediction

Maize South's boys should win the team title, but they'll need strong performances from their distance crew. Ethan Kossover is the top 1600 meter runner in class 4A, and No. 3 in the 3200. Britt Magnuson and Bryce Merriman could pick up points in those events, as well. I'm betting they'll score enough for the Mavericks to outlast Buhler.

 

Andale is the power broker for the girls' team title. They should easily counter Maize South's distance strength with their own strengths in the jumps and throws. Katy Commons enters as the top-ranked javelin thrower and shot putter in class 4A, and Jacy Anderson is No. 1 in the discus. Plus, Andale returns pole vault champ Jewel Eck and has the No. 1 ranked 300 meter hurdler, Abby Smarsh.


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