2019 Kansas Relays: Kansas Athletes to Watch For

For Kansas high school track and field fans, the Kansas Relays are pretty close to as good as it gets.

The 92nd annual event gets underway Wednesday with college events, while the high schoolers are in action Friday and Saturday at Rock Chalk Park.


The Kansas Relays is one of the region's best meets, featuring elite high school, college and professional athletes during its four-day run. Find more information about the meet and this year's schedule, heat sheets and more at www.KansasRelays.com.


If you can't make it to the meet in person, check out FloTrack's live coverage at https://www.flotrack.org/events/6255506-2019-kansas-relays.


Not all of Kansas' best athletes come to compete, but a whole bunch do. And so here is a rundown of 'What to Watch For' among Kansas high school athletes at the 2019 Kansas Relays.


Nationally-ranked athletes in the field events


Manhattan's Sam Hankins is No. 1 (210-0) and Cheney's Trey Patterson is No. 11 (193-1.25) in the United States in the javelin. That event is set for Saturday at 9 a.m. Hankins is one of only two U.S. javelin throwers to have topped 200 feet this season.


Among Kansas girls, Andale's Katelyn Fairchild is No. 4 (149-10), Centralia's Madison Lueger is No. 5 (149-8) and Baldwin's Kayla Kurtz is No. 16 (141-4) in the U.S. javelin rankings. They highlight the girls' javelin on Friday, beginning at 10 a.m.


Caleb Hentzen of Labette County is No. 1 in Kansas and No. 4 in the U.S. in the boys' high jump with a season-best of 6-10. He'll get a challenge from Kansas No. 2 Dayton Williams of Gardner-Edgerton (U.S. No. 25) at the Kansas Relays. That event is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m.


Olathe Northwest's Maddie Righter has cleared 5-10 in the high jump this season, good for No. 7 in the United States. The girls' high jump will take place on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.


Wesley Shaw of Hillsboro is No. 16 in the U.S. shot put rankings, with a season best of 62-4. The boys' shot put also features Cooper Beebe of Piper (58-2.25 for No. 2 in Kansas and No. 54 in the U.S.); and Tonganoxie's Cole Sample (57-9 for No. 3 in Kansas and No. 66 in the U.S. The boys' shot put is Saturday at 10 a.m.


Matthew Everett of Winfield headlines the boys' discus. He is currently No. 1 in Kansas with a season-best of 185-4, and No. 20 in the U.S. rankings. The event also features Hillsboro's Shaw (171-5 for No. 4 in Kansas and U.S. No. 97) and Tonganoxie's Sample (169-5.75, No. 5 in Kansas). The boys shot put is set for Saturday at 10 a.m.


The girls' long jump features the top three Kansas athletes in Kansas so far this season in Righter (No. 31 nationally), Pittsburg's Faith Turner and Olathe North's Jaleesa McWashington. That event is set for Saturday at 9 a.m.


Samuel Macklin of Shawnee Mission South flew 23-6.75 in the long jump last week to move to No. 37 in the U.S. rankings. He leads a field that includes Bonner Springs' Nasjon Porter (No. 2 in Kansas, No. 99 in the U.S.) and Sumner Academy's Nahshon Houston (No. 10 in Kansas). The boys' long jump is Saturday at 9 a.m.


Three of the top four triple jumpers in Kansas will be in action, led by Teven McKelvey of Gardner-Edgerton (45-9), Nasjon Porter of Bonner Springs (45-9) and Chanler Taylor of Shawnee Mission Northwest (44-9). The boys' triple jump is Friday at 11 a.m.


The girls' triple jump also features three of the top four in Kansas in Lawrence Free State's Auna Childress (39-4, No. 41 in the U.S.), Pittsburg's Turner (38-7, No. 82 in the U.S.) and Olathe Northwest's McWashington (38-4, No. 99 U.S.). They are the top three seeds in this year's event, which takes place Friday at 11 a.m.


Distance events


Manhattan's Clara Mayfield broke into the national rankings in a big way last Friday when she clocked 10:36.0 for 3200 meters at her home meet. She's now the No. 1 seed into this year's Kansas Relays, and No. 47 in the United States. She heads up a field that includes Chapman's Taylor Briggs (11:03 season-best) and Washburn Rural's Jaybe Shufelberger (11:16). The girls' 3200 is Friday at 12:55 p.m.


Four Kansas boys running this week have run 9:28 or faster for 3200 meters, including eight-time state champion Hadley Splechter of Yates Center (9:24.26), 2018 class 6A cross country champ Asher Molina of Shawnee Mission North (9:24.40), Asher Moen of Andover (9:26.57), and Cade Heikes of Olathe North (9.28.02). The boys' 3200 is Friday at 1:10 p.m.


Molina and Lansing's Terry Robinson will run in the boys' 1600 meter run, scheduled for Saturday at 2:16 p.m. Mayfield and Briggs highlight the field of Kansas girls in the 1600 meters, which is Saturday at 1:40 p.m.


Lansing's Robinson and Yates Center's Splechter will toe the line against the top 800 meter runners in the region. Robinson has run nearly three seconds faster than any Kansas boy this season, and is the No. 6 seed in the Kansas Relays. That event will take place Friday at 5:55 p.m.


The girls' 800 meter run features a pair of Kansas State University signees, Sydney Burton of Abilene and Mill Valley's Delaney Kemp. That event will take place Friday at 5:40 p.m.


Sprints and Hurdles


Junction City's Kiena Newman is a two-time state class 6A state champion, and is seeded No. 3 in this year's Kansas Relays in the 100 meter hurdles. Layne Needham of Cheney swept both hurdle events at last year's 3A state championships, and is seeded No. 6 at this year's Relays. The prelims of the 100 hurdles are Friday at 9:55 a.m. and the finals are set for Saturday at 12:40 p.m.


Kendra Wait of Gardner-Edgerton, just a sophomore, is one of the state's emerging stars. She'll run the prelims of the 100 meters on Friday at 10:35, highlighting a field that also includes Pittsburg's Faith Turner and Shawnee Mission East's Destiny Ray. Finals of the girls' 100 are set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m.


Nevan Tebb-Lolar of Blue Valley West is the top-seeded Kansas athlete in the boys' 100 meters. He has a season best of 10.95, but has a career-best of 10.76. Trevor Johnson of Rossville also has a career-best of 10.76. The boys' 100 meter prelims are Friday at 10:35, and finals on Saturday at 1:35 p.m.


Expect some electricity in the 400 meters. The girls' race will feature two pretty good one's from Kansas, who will be meeting for the first time on the track. Gardner-Edgerton's Kylie Moorehouse has a career best of 58.14, while Leavenworth freshman Dhakiya Blake ran 58.70 in her season debut three weeks ago. The girls' 400 meter prelims are Friday at 11:45 a.m. and finals on Saturday at 1:10 p.m.


Leavenworth's Guy Ramos has the No. 1 time for 400 meters in Kansas this season, clocking 49.23. He leads four Kansas runners who have run sub-50 during their careers, including Corey Minks of Maize South (49.37), Shane Quinlan of Perry-LeCompton (49.75) and David Brown of Blue Valley West (49.76). The boys' 400 meter prelims are Friday at 12:05 p.m., and finals Saturday at 1:01 p.m.




Well, it is a Relays meet, after all. There are seven relays available for boys and girls at this meet. Here is a rundown of those relays and some of the top Kansas teams that should be in the mix:



4 X 100 (Friday, 4:20 p.m., prelims; Saturday, 12:07 p.m., finals) - Leavenworth is No. 1 in Kansas. Watch for Olathe South to run well.

4 X 200 (Saturday, 9:40 a.m.) - Leavenworth could contend for the win.

4 X 400 (Friday, 7:32 p.m., prelims; Saturday, 3:19 p.m., finals) - Again, it's Leavenworth and Olathe South, but some of this may depend on attrition: How many events will those schools' top athletes be able to run?

 4 X 800 (Saturday, 10:36 a.m.) - Blue Valley West and Mill Valley seem to be the best from Kansas in this one.

4 X 1600 (Friday, 9 a.m.) - Blue Valley North and Blue Valley are medal contenders.

1600 Sprint Medley (Saturday, 9 a.m.) - Leavenworth and Lawrence have very strong sprinters and middle distance runners. Top five finishes are possible.

Distance Medley Relay (Friday, 2:45 p.m.) - Blue Valley Southwest and Manhattan could medal. Both enter with 12:45 seed times.



4 X 100 (Friday, 4:40 p.m. prelims; Saturday, 12:11 p.m., finals) - We could see a pair of 42's from Olathe South and Blue Valley West.

4 X 400 (Friday, 7:42 p.m., prelims; Saturday, 3:25 p.m., finals) - Shawnee Mission West and Blue Valley are capable of 3:20 or better.

4 X 800 (Saturday, 11:19 a.m.) - Garden City will travel nearly 6 hours to get to Lawrence, and they're likely the best Kansas team in this event. They'll be challenged by Olathe East.

4 X 1600 (Friday, 9:30 a.m.) - Olathe North has won the class 6A state cross country title the past two seasons. They're loaded in this one. Washburn Rural could be their closest competition from Kansas.

1600 Sprint Medley (Saturday, 9:20 a.m.) - Look for Leavenworth and Blue Valley West to be the top Kansas contenders. Both are solid in the sprints, but this event usually comes down to who has the best half-miler.

Distance Medley Relay (Friday, 3 p.m.) - Kansas should have three pretty good teams in this one: Andover, Blue Valley Southwest and Olathe East. Again, this relay typically comes down to the last leg - who's got the best miler of the bunch?