CLASS 1A TRACK AND FIELD PREVIEW: Boys, girls team titles up for grabs in 2018

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Last year's high school graduation losses have painted a whole new picture for Kansas' class 1A track and field teams this year.

Both team champions - South Gray on the boys side and Centralia on the girls - have bid farewell to key seniors, opening the door to a handful of teams to chase their own state championship dreams.


South Gray, in particular, seems to have come back to the pack. Last year, the Rebels scored 93 points to win the 1A boys state title by a whopping 28 points over Olpe (which is now a 2A school), but key losses give several teams a shot at taking the title away from South Gray this year.


Among those teams are Pike Valley, which returns senior Lane Peters, who won the 100 and 200 meter state titles a year ago. Fellow senior Cole Strickler was a top six finisher in both of those events, and both Peters and Strickler are among the state's best long jumpers in class 1A.


Add distance standout Anton Reeves, also a senior, to that duo, and Pike Valley appears to be the team best positioned to dethrone South Gray this season.


South Gray certainly won't go easy. Senior Gilbert Peters is the defending state champion in the shot put and discus, while senior Craig Griebel is a top three contender in the 100, 200 and 400. Brock Davis of South Gray, a senior, is another seasoned competitor at state and is likely to score top three points in the javelin and 400.


Two teams that enter the season with a reasonable shot at the boys 1A team title are Beloit-St. Johns and Centralia.


St. Johns won the 1A cross country title last fall, and as expected, will be deep in the distances with senior standout David Lutgen (top-ranked in the 1600 and 3200), as well as senior Adam Bates and sophomore Brandon Bates. Lutgen, a Kansas State University signee, was the class 1A cross country state champion last Fall.


Centralia senior Dylan Boeckman is the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles and pole vault, and begins the 2018 season as the man to beat in class 1A. Fellow senior Josh Hasenkamp is a pre-season favorite to win the class 1A javelin, and is a top four contender in the pole vault. Junior Daegan Steinlage is a state title contender in the discus.


Centralia's girls won the class 1A title a year ago in a battle with Hanover that came down to the last event. Centralia scored 47.5 points to win by 1.5 points.


They'll have a couple of past state champs to help them in a bid to repeat as team champs. Junior Madison Lueger won the javelin last year, while junior Breanna Schmitz was the state champ in the pole vault in 2016 and runner-up last year.


The Panthers also return a pair of solid sprinters in sophomore Morgan Kramer (100 and 200) and junior Maegan Koch (400).


But watch out for Sylvan-Lucas and Lakeside in the girls 1A chase. Sylvan-Lucas will be in contention late into the second day of the state meet largely because of two athletes - sophomore Autumn Princ and senior Logan Batchman.


Princ is 2-for-2 at the state cross country championships, halfway to becoming just the ninth four-time state cross country champ in Kansas. She's pretty good on the track, too, having won the 1600 and 3200 at last year's championships as a freshman. She could win the 800 as well this year, giving her team 30 points.


Batchman is a top three contender in both the discus and shot put - and could win both. She and Princ could be all Sylvan-Lucas scores...and it could be enough.


Lakeside is a bit more balanced, but they do have their stars, as well. Senior Rachel Miller is the defending state champion in the 100 hurdles, as well as a top-four contender in the 100 and 200 meters this year. Senior Bay Lee Brummet could win three events - she's ranked in the top two heading into this season in the shot put, javelin and discus.


A darkhorse at this point in the class 1A girls chase is South Gray, led by senior sprint standout Emily Salmans.


Class 1A Girls returning state champions

100 hurdles - Rachel Miller, Lakeside

300 hurdles - Paige Baird, Northern Valley

400 - Baird, Northern Valley

800 - Claire Zarybnicky, Hanover

1600 - Autumn Princ, Sylvan-Lucas

3200 - Princ, Sylvan-Lucas

High jump - Shelby Ohlde, Linn

Pole vault - Avery Gates, Beloit-St. Johns

Triple jump - Brianna Vogts, Olpe

Javelin - Madison Lueger, Centralia


Class 1A Boys returning state champions

100 - Lane Peters, Pike Valley

200 - Peters, Pike Valley

300 hurdles - Dylan Boeckman, Centralia

400 - Collin Kisner, Victoria

Pole vault - Boeckman, Centralia

Shot put - Gilbert Peters, South Gray

Discus - Peters, South Gray