The 2018 Kansas Boys All-State Track and Field team includes one of the most versatile and durable field event athletes in recent memory, a national-class javelin thrower, several exciting sprinters, and a distance runner that just keeps going and going and going...
Here are the performers who I think rose to the top of
Kansas Track and Field in 2018.
Kansas Boys All-State Track and Field
My comments: Some might be surprised by my putting King on the first team as a sprinter, but I have no qualms about it. He transferred to Manhattan from Junction City for his senior season, and without him, Manhattan does not win the 6A team title. King shone brightest when all the lights were on this year. Splechter was an absolute stud at this year's state meet, winning three individual events (800, 1600 and 3200) and pulling his team from fifth to first on the anchor leg of the 4 X 800 relay. Manhattan's Hankins, a sophomore, won his second consecutive state title and finished the year at No. 3 in the U.S. rankings. I normally wouldn't give an athlete two spots on the first team, but Michael Hoffer...yep, he's that good.
If I Could Pick 5 Athletes to Start a Team, I'd Take...
Michael Hoffer, Shawnee Heights - Have we ever seen an athlete in Kansas who could dominate three field events like Hoffer does? Maybe, but Hoffer certainly is unique in how he handles such a busy early-meet schedule, yet puts up marks that rank not only best in the state, but among the tops in the country.
Austin Mullins, Liberal - The Redskins don't get a lot of state hype during the season, being so far down in the southwest part of the state, but it doesn't seem to bother Mullins. In one word, he is relentless. He competes so hard and seems at ease running against all levels of competition. He's got the tools to run well from the 110 hurdles all the way up to the 400.
Hadley Splechter, Yates Center - I'd take him at any distance from 800 to 3200 against any of the distance runners in Kansas right now. Even if his times aren't faster going in, Splechter runs with such a fire and such an energy that it's all about competition with this guy. Line up a field and let him run...College coaches are lining up to start recruiting him on July 1.
Clyde King, Manhattan - What I like is the methodical way that King goes about his business. It doesn't matter the competition, he's solid in every race he runs. He just missed the class 6A title in the 400 meters by one-thousandth of a second, and finished second in the state finals of the 200 against a field that included several more-celebrated runners from the Wichita area.
Marshall Faurot, Scott Community - He finished the 2018 state meet with three second-place finishes, but his versatility in the sport is something that any team would benefit from. He's a 16-foot pole vaulter, 6-6 in the high jump; sub-15 in the 110 hurdles and just a hair above 40 in the 300 hurdles. Yeah, there are a lot of coaches who'd like to have that. He's just a junior so sit back and enjoy watching Faurot next year.
Kansas Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year
Michael Hoffer, Shawnee Heights. You already know how good he is. He finished the year ranked No. 1 in Kansas in the high jump and long jump, and finished No. 3 in the triple jump.
He's also No. 8 in the U.S. high jump rankings (7-0.25), No. 63 in the long jump (23-4.75) and No. 79 in the triple jump (47-1.5).
But there's more to this story. Hoffer just plain loves the sport and it shows in the way he goes about competing.
This is the image I have of Hoffer: At the 2017 Kansas Relays, he was one of the favorites to win the high jump title. But instead of saving his energy, sitting in the shade, waiting for his turn, he was interacting with his competitors. After a fellow Centennial League jumper missed at a height he normally cleared, Hoffer was the first to meet him back in the warmup area, urging him to "get the next one." The scene was repeated a few more times with some of the other competitors.
It's one thing to win in competition; it's something totally different to be a champion. Michael Hoffer does both really well.