Kansas T&F charges on despite cold temps

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Say this about the brutally cold weather we've had in Kansas over the weekend and the first part of this week: at least it's come at a good time.

Most of last week's schedule went on as planned under decent conditions, and it appears as though the warmer weather may return as we head into the third week of the 2018 season.


Weather certainly hasn't slowed the state's javelin throwers and pole vaulters, two events that saw several remarkable performances in the past week.


Kansas has become a hot spot for the javelin recently, boasting the United States' top 2 ranked throwers in the girls division. Olathe North's Dana Baker (163-6) and Campus' Camryn Huggans (143-1) hold that distinction.


Baker, who is headed to Duke University next fall, won with a smooth 153-4 at the Blue Valley Northwest Spring Classic this week, while Huggans notched a pair of wins this past week: a career-best 143-1 at the Eisenhower (Goddard) Participation Meet, and a throw of 140-2 to win the Joe Vann Invitational at Winfield.


Fourteen of the top 15 marks by Kansas girls were set this week in the javelin. Madison Lueger of Centralia won the Frankfort Arctic Invitational with a throw of 139-5, Bea Pomatto of Paola won the Eudora Quad with a throw of 134-5 and Katy Commons of Andale rounds out the top five in Kansas, winning the Andale Relays at 131-9.


Manhattan's Sam Hankins, who led the U.S. javelin rankings after winning his first meet of the season two weeks ago (211-10), won the Jerry Beardslee Invitational at Washburn High School this week with a throw of 196-1.


Among the other top throws this week were Gareth Pettijohn of Southeast of Saline, who won the Republic County Buff Invitational with a throw of 174-10; and Isaac Mitchell of Salina South, who won the Junction City Invitational at 174-0.


The bar was set high - quite literally - in the pole vault this past week. Zac Chandler of Washburn Rural broke a 24-year-old school record and put up the state's best vault of the season, soaring 15-1 to win his team's home meet.


Eleven of the top 12 vaults in the state took place last Thursday at various meets. Peyton Lane of Clay Center, the class 4A state champion last year who has a career-best of 15-6, won the Chapman Invitational with a vault of 14-6.


But easily the most competitive vault competition of the week was at the Andale Relays where Ethan Hull of Bishop Carroll edged teammate AJ McCormick. Both cleared 14-0, just a little better than third place finisher Ty McPhail of Andale, who cleared 13-7.


The ladies got in the action, too. Five Kansas girls cleared 11-6 this week to tie for the top spot in the state rankings. Jessica Williams of Concordia and Belle Peters of Smoky Valley both cleared that height at the Republic County Buff Invitational; Grace Stohs of Marysville and Abigail Kelly-salo of Shawnee Mission Northwest were the other two now tied for the state's top ranking.


Other highlights by Kansas athletes this week include:


* A pretty remarkable show in the high jump at the Newton Invitational on Monday (April 2) where three boys cleared 6-10 to tie for the best mark in Kansas this season. They were Max Bell of Wichita North, and Simon Steinert and Parker Simon of McPherson.

* Leavenworth speedster Aarika Lister is burning up the track again after being injured for most of 2017. She won her team's home meet this week in the 100 (12.13) and 200 (24.61).

* In a classic, early-season  matchup, Wichita South's Phillip Landrum - defending class 6A state champ in the 100 and 200 - edged Wichita Southeast's Ollie McGee in the 100. Landrum clocked 10.85 while McGee, the runner-up in class 6A last year, was timed in 10.86. Deron Dudley of Wichita South was third in 10.94.

* Want more speed? Look no further than Newton, where 2017 class 5A state champion Kalli Anderson won the 100 (12.1) and 200 (25.66) at the Joe Vann Invitational in Winfield. Then on Monday (April 2) she took over the state's top ranking in the 100, winning the Newton Invitational in 11.95.

* Newton junior Maggie Remsberg - class 5A's top-ranked hurdler - won the 100 hurdles (15.60) and 300 hurdles (47.76) at the Joe Vann Invitational. Remsberg also won the long jump (16-8).

* At the Newton Invitational on Monday (April 2), Remsberg - the 5A state runner-up in the 100 meter hurdles - was edged by McPherson sophomore Emma Ruddle, who won in 15.28 to Remsberg's 15.34. Ruddle was second at class 4A state as a freshman.

* Cameron Key of Bishop Miege got off to a good start at the Leavenworth Invitational, winning the long jump (22-0) and triple jump (43-8). His mark in the long jump is the best in class 4A so far this year.

* Gilbert Peters of South Gray is also off to a great start to the 2018 season. He won the Cimarron Invitational with a toss of 177-9 in the discuss - just about 14 feet further than any other throw in Kansas this season. Peters is the defending 1A state champion in the event, and has a career-best of 179-11.75.

* McPherson's Elle Barret won the long jump and triple jump at the Andale Relays last week, and repeated the feat against the field at the Newton Invitational on Monday (April 2). Barett, a senior, has finished outside the top two in the triple jump only once during her high school career, and swept state titles in both jumps in 2016.

* At the Shawnee Mission South Relays last week, Jessie Stindt of Shawnee Mission East won the high jump (5-2), long jump (17-8) and triple jump (37-9). All three marks land Stindt - the class 6A state champion in the triple jump -- in the top three of the current state rankings in those events.

* Also at the Shawnee Mission South Relays, Hayden Goodpaster of Shawnee Mission Northwest swept the 200 (22.83) and 400 (49.42); Jack Durst of Shawnee Mission West posted the state's top high jump mark (6-10, which was later tied); and Gardner-Edgerton put up the state's best 4 X 100 meter relay so far with a winning time of 43.71.


Weather has hampered the middle distance and distance runners so far, as might be expected. There have been competitive races in those events, but times have not yet gone as low as the state has seen in recent years.


For Kansas boys, the state leaders by event include Mitch Dervin of Mill Valley (800, 2:00.92), Asher Molina of Shawnee Mission North (1600, 4:26.18) and Dylan Miller of Blue Valley Southwest (3200, 9:36.21).


For Kansas girls, the state leaders include Jilli Jones of St. James Academy (800, 2:23.76); Sophie Scott of Blue Valley North (1600, 5:11.78); and Jenna Mullen of Olathe West (3200, 11:11.07). Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born, who has not raced in nearly 11 months due to injury, has not yet made her 2018 season debut.