Its A Wrap! Kansas Milesplit's Top Stories of 2018



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By Rod Murrow

When I was in high school, I was involved in forensics in addition to cross country and track. Forensics tournaments are in the winter, which means short daylight hours. We often left for forensics tournaments early in the morning when it was still dark, and then got home after dark. My family lived in the country with no sidewalks or streetlights.

One winter Friday night my junior year, I was grumbling that I probably wouldn't be able to run the next day due to a forensics tournament. We'd had a lot of snow and running on icy, snowy roads in the pitch dark probably wasn't my best play. I complained that because my two biggest rivals at the state meet both lived in larger cities where they had streetlights, sidewalks, and plowed roads, they were going to be able to run on a day that I likely wasn't. I didn't like the thought of them getting that edge on me, even for one day.

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By Pat Melgares

Some might say that Brandon Clark beat some long odds when he kicked from fourth place in the last 200 meters of last year's Class 6A track and field championships to win the title in the 800m run. It was the first state medal of any color for Clark in three years of running high school cross country and track.

But Clark, a senior at Olathe North, beat much longer odds five months later after suffering a stroke that nearly killed him on Halloween night.

You read that right: A seemingly healthy, 17-year-old state champion runner suffered a stroke when a blood clot formed at the stem of his brain, cutting oxygen to the brain for much of four hours and creating a mad scramble that included two anxiety-filled ambulance rides and a just-in-time surgery to save his life.

This is his story.

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By Pat Melgares

Former Girard High School standout and 13-time Kansas state champion Cailie Logue won two national titles in about a 20-hour stretch, highlighting a strong week for track and field athletes with Kansas connections.

Olathe North senior Dana Baker, a two-time state champion in the javelin who is headed for Duke University in the Fall, was also crowned a national champion at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Indiana.
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By Pat Melgares

On the eve of celebrating our independence as a country, let's take a few moments to celebrate the seniors who made the 2017-2018 cross country and track and field seasons special in Kansas.

The risk of doing so, of course, is that I will forget someone. In fact, this story is not about mentioning every senior - or even every one of the 78 seniors who won at least one individual state championship this past season.

Instead, this look back at some of the seniors who made the past sports year memorable in Kansas is simply my take on many of the storylines that made us smile...or maybe even cry.

I strongly urge you to add your own memories, and recognize other seniors not mentioned in this space, by using the comments section at the bottom of this page.

To all Kansas seniors, I say 'Thanks for the Memories' and good luck in your future endeavors, whether or not they include athletics.


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By Rod Murrow

One of the great things about running is its simplicity. Because of running's simplicity, it provides a vehicle for teaching lessons that go far beyond the sport because those lessons don't get lost in the complexity of the sport. People remember and learn from stories better than any other method besides personal experience, so to that end, there is a story I'd like to share that I believe is a simple parable from which we can unpack a lot of valuable lessons, both for runners and non-runners.

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By Rod Murrow

Tri•um•vi•rate /n: A group of three influential or notable people existing in relation to each other.

Three exceptional young Kansan female athletes, all of whom produced high school marks during the 2016-2017 school year in the top-10 in the U.S. at 5K XC, 1600, or 3200, sat down together in a meeting room at a public library and started talking.

The interview was scheduled to last 1 ½ hours, but it went nearly twice that long and covered subjects far beyond the planned update about them since their statistically freakish high school season the year before. Within minutes, I was thankful for the last-minute decision to grab an old video camera because I could tell something special was unfolding, even though the three of them probably didn't realize it at the time.


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Q&A - Featuring Jaybe Shufelberger 

What is important to me in my life, is my family, friends, religion, and running. My family is one of the most important things in my life, because they are so supportive of everything that I do, especially with running. Me and my family are all very close, and we all depend on each other so much, and we can have fun and joke around with each other. They constantly reassure me that I can accomplish my goals, and that I can aspire to do great things. My family also supports me by taking me to races out of state, so I can get that experience, and just making sure I have everything I need to be the best runner and person I can be. I always have to have at least one of my family members at my race, I don't know what I'd do without them there. Just knowing they are there watching me, and cheering me on the whole way. Another very important thing in my life, is my friends. They are just as supportive as my family. I don't know what I would do without them. Races can get pretty stressful, and my best friend always gives me little pep talks to get me ready and focused for the race. My friends are also so important, because they always know how to get out and have fun. I am generally a pretty reserved person, but my friends know how to bring it out of me, and make me have fun. Next I would say that religion is really important to me as well. Having someone to believe in, and know that you always have someone there for you, even when you are all alone, is just an indescribable feeling. It helps me when I am going through tough times, I am super nervous about something, or literally anything else. A lot of times during a race I will just pray, and it helps me get through the race, and keep a positive mindset. Lastly, running is a very important factor in my life. I started running in middle school and I was never the best, until I got to high school when I started to realize just how much I loved it. I love running, because it is just so amazing to see how much you can truly accomplish, and how much you can actually push your body. Running is also a stress reliever for me. After a long day at school or something else, a run always calms me down, and helps me work through problems, because I can really think things through then.

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