Performances of the Week - April 7-13
The first couple weeks, I had struggled to find strong candidates from smaller schools to fill slots on the performances of the week. This week, the opposite was true. Small-school standouts shined in a week where 5A and 6A were relatively quiet compared to early season marks. 1A especially had some impressive performances that you'll be hearing about shortly.
We'll start with the best thing I saw this week. Camden Hoelting, the latest in a long line of elite Olpe runners, showed more willpower in a race than I've seen in a long time at the Pre-State Challenge. In the first half of the 1A-3A 1600 race, he didn't look like anything special, sitting in 4th most of the first 800 meters. Shortly into the third lap, Riley County's Brett Kulp put on a move to bury the field, which would have worked if it wasn't for Hoelting's incredible surge from quite a way back. The two were alone with 600 meters left. He stepped on the gas with 400 meters to go, but Kulp stayed tight, waiting to make his final move on the last curve. Hoelting had put on two major moves already, and most runners aren't capable of putting on a third. When Kulp came up on his shoulder, the Olpe runner was able to find a little more, releasing a commanding surge that would pull away on the homestretch.
Watch Hoelting's performance in the video above!
For Santa Fe Trail senior Logan Reed, victory is just a hop, step, and a jump away. He leapt to a career-best 45' 5.5'' in the triple jump at Royal Valley. The jump is one of the best in Kansas this year, but more importantly the best mark 3A has seen in a while. No 3A athlete in all of last season jumped further than Reed did on Tuesday, and that puts him in the top 5 3A jumps this decade. That's good company for an athlete that has taken a big step up this year.
Some schools are lucky enough to have an athlete that can do
it all. Layne Needham is that kind of special athlete for Cheney. The senior
has competed in just about everything on the track during her career. She's
been to state in all 3 relays and has run every distance from the 100 to 1600.
Her bread and butter, however, are the hurdle events. Needham had a tough act
to follow after PR'ing in both events last Friday, but she stepped up to the
challenge at Pre-State, winning the "Elite Elite" heats and beating out some of
the top hurdlers in the state and beyond in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Being
the athlete she is, she hopped in the 200 and 400 elite races as well, taking
3rd in each and casually grabbing the 11th and 10th
fastest times in the state, respectively.
Let me introduce you to Sicely Jackson. She's an athlete from Satanta, a small school with just 80 students. Small isn't the best word to describe her achievements this week, though. The sophomore may be known as a jumper thanks to her long jump of almost 18 feet in week 3, but she's also a terrific sprinter. At Spearville she faced stiff 1A competition, especially in Kinsley's Rylee Gleason in the 200, but she was able to come away with gold medals in the 100(13.13), 200(26.6), and 400(1:01.1). With two more years after this one, Jackson could become a major force in 1A.
Make no mistake about it, Cooper Beebe is a shot putter. The Piper High School senior has 29 results in the Milesplit database. 28 of those are shot puts. None of those 28 other throws were better than his 58' 2.25'' launch at the Barrier Breakers meet on Friday. After earning his gold medal in Lawrence, he holds the number two slot in the state rankings and the top spot in 4A. The throw was a PR by nearly 3 feet, an unprecedented breakthrough and a payoff of plenty of hard work.
The last performance goes to...
As soon as I started researching for this week's article, I knew the sixth spot would be going to a relay team. Golden Plains' girls were some of the first results I saw and their 4x100 and 4x400 times were really good for this time of year in 1A.
Then I saw Kiowa County's times.
The Mavericks put down some times at Ellsworth that are good for any class at any time of year. In the 4x100, the team circled the track in 51.05. To find a better time than that this week, you have to look at KC Piper's top time in 4A. That's a school over six times bigger and in a town with 200 times the population. The kids down in Greensburg can compete with anybody. In the 4x400 they're no slouch either. The team of Casey Erickson, Addison Sherer, Cameron Erickson and Kellie Rhodes clocked in at 4:15, which is typically a time reserved for a top-3 team at 1A State. Again, this time is better than any in 2A and 3A, and would be the second-best in 4A. It's a long trip to Lawrence, but if the Mavericks are at the Kansas Relays this week, the competition had better look out.