If you happen to be passing by Andale High School on about any weekday afternoon this spring, it would be well worth your while to stop by the fields adjacent to the track.
That's where you'll find perhaps the state's top high school program overall for field events. For all of its talent on the track, Andale's field events are elite level.
Well, Andale is projected for 49 points - in just three events: Triple jump, long jump and pole vault.
Andale is projected for another 44 points in the discus, shot put and javelin. And don't forget the fact that Andale will again field a strong sprint, hurdle and relay contingent.
Indeed, Andale is projected to score 114 points at this year's state meet, with numerous returners on the girls' team. Andale won last year's state title with 90 points, holding off a very strong effort by Paola, which had 74.
For Andale, the wave of field events points starts in the pole vault with Jaden Eck, Jayden Cates and Lauren Dodson, who return with the top 3 marks in class 4A in 2019. Madison Lies and Sami Hein are both state title contenders in the triple jump, while Leis, Ellee Eck and Hein could make the medal stand in the long jump.
Katelyn Fairchild and Samantha Marx are top three contenders in the javelin, while Jacy Anderson, Fairchild and Marx are among class 4A's best in the discus. Fairchild and Paiton Bruce should also score state points in the shot put.
The Andale girl's relentless attack continues on the track, where the squad routinely fields strong relays. They won the 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays at state last year. Ellee Eck, now a senior, is the top-rated 4A returner in the 100, while Shelby Cox is a top contender in both hurdling events.
Baldwin, however, has the makings of a team that could keep Andale's attention. They have a couple pretty good field event performers, as well, with Kayla Kurtz in the javelin, shot put and pole vault; and Carly Lindenmeyer in the long jump and high jump.
But Baldwin is a distance powerhouse in class 4A, having recently won the state cross country title last fall. That gives Baldwin the potential to score big in four events (800, 1600, 3200 and 4 X 800 relay), a haul that could give them an honest chance to chase Andale, and separate themselves from the other contenders.
Baldwin's Natalie Beiter enters the 2019 season with the No. 2 time in the 800. She is one of five Baldwin distance runners who medalled in cross country last fall, including Jana Landreth, Ambrynn Stewart, Riley Smith and Abigail Patterson.
Baldwin's distance crew, however, does have to deal with one of the state's best in Chapman's Taylor Briggs. Just a sophomore, Briggs already has four state titles to her credit - two in cross country, and the 1600 and 3200 meter titles a year ago. She is unbeaten in state competition so far in her young career.
Augusta's Nataleigh Cantu is the No. 1 returner in the class 4A high jump, and teammate Abbee Rhodes is No. 1 in the shot put entering the 2019 season. They will key their team's chances at making the podium.
In class 4A boys, Andale's field event strength also makes that team the pre-season favorite. Again, in the pole vault, Andale has a trio that could sweep the top three spots at state, including Brayden Meyer, Ty McPhail and Joseph Spexarth.
Andale's field event depth continues in the discus with Cooper VenJohn, Carson Fair and Devin Marx; in the shot put with Mason Fairchild and VenJohn; and in the high jump with Cole Landers and Luke Graf.
Alex Scott holds down the long jump and triple jump for Andale, and Marx is a medal contender in the javelin.
Andale's margin for error is smaller in the boys' division, however. Piper brings back a strong contingent led by sprinter Devon Marshall in the 100 and 200 where he will benefit from defending state champion Timmy Lambert of Smoky Valley moving to class 3A this season.
Piper's Cooper Beebe in the shot put and Lemoses White in
the discus are strong title contenders, and 300 meter hurdler Dalton White
returns after having placed fourth at state last year. Like Marshall, White also doesn't have to contend with Lambert this year.
Davonte Yates of Parsons enters the season as class 4A's No. 1 long jumper and triple jumper. Teammate DeQuan Johnson is ranked No. 1 in the class 4A 100. If those two meet those preseason rankings, Parsons is right in the thick of the team race, as well.
In the distance races, the 2019 season will mark the track and field debut of Buhler freshman Tanner Lindahl, who won the cross country state title in the fall. Lindahl is potentially the next dominating distance runner in this division.
Class 4A at a glance
Returning Individual State Champions
3200 - Briggs, sophomore, Chapman
Note: Emma Ruddle of McPherson won class 4A state titles in the 100 and 100 hurdles last year, but now competes in class 5A. Izzy Williams (200) and Maddie Rivers (high jump) of Spring Hill won class 4A state titles last year, but now compete in class 5A.
2018 Top Five Teams
1) Andale 90
2) Paola 74
3) McPherson 44
4) Jefferson West 34
5) Baldwin 34
Milesplit Projection for 2019 (does not include potential points for relays)
1) Andale 114
2) Baldwin 40
3) Paola 40
4) Augusta 35
5) Iola 30
Returning Individual State Champions
NOTE: Timmy Lambert of Smoky Valley won the class 4A 100, 200 and 300 hurdles a year ago, but now competes in class 3A.
2018 Top Five Teams
1) Buhler 53
2) KC Piper 40
3) Andale 34.5
MileSplit Projection for 2019 (does not include potential points for relays)
1) Andale 66
2) KC Piper 48
3) Paola 45
4) Bishop Miege 40.5
5) Parsons 38