Bishop Carroll pole vaulters Ethan Hull and Brian Simon sent a mighty tremor through the Bob Camien-Claudia Welch Invitational at Seaman High School Friday night, highlighting what is traditionally one of the best meets in Kansas each year.
Hull and Simon each cleared a season- and career-best 15-6, vaulting them to No. 2 in Kansas and No. 66 in the United States this season. The two teammates are accustomed to finishing 1-2 during the current season, but what they gave on Friday night in Topeka was a bit more special.
For Hull, it was a PR by three inches. He had one fewer miss than Simon en route to 15-6, and notched his sixth meet win of the season. He is the defending class 5A state champion in the event.
Simon settled for second, but he's still smiling. He went a full foot higher than he's ever gone in the pole vault and went from a tie for third-best in Kansas to second alongside his teammate.
Both had game efforts at 16-0, but couldn't quite clear the bar.
It was an electric start to this year's meet at Seaman, which also featured the first sub-5:00 girls 1600 meter runner in Kansas this season, and a sub-49 in the boys' 400.
Manhattan's Clara Mayfield improved on her state-leading time in the 1600 meters when she out-dueled Centennial League rival Jaybe Shufelberger of Washburn Rural to win in 4:58.63. Mayfield holds the state's best times for 1600 and 3200 meters, where she clocked 10:36.00 two weeks ago.
Shufelberger was second in the 1600 with a time of 5:05.11. She was involved in another thriller later on in the 3200 meters, where Shawnee Mission North's Katie Kasunic won a mad dash to the finish against Shufelberger and Bishop Carroll's Hope Jackson.
Kasunic was timed in 11:02.18, while Shufelberger - the state runner-up in cross country - was second in 11:05.38, and Jackson finished third in 11:06.30.
Leavenworth's Guy Ramos continues to show that his ceiling is sky-high in the 400 meters. He lowered his own state-leading time in the 400 meters with a 48.98 romp around the track on Friday - the first 48 put up in Kansas this season.
Before this season, Ramos' high school best was 50.13 for third place at last year's class 5A state championships, though he did clock 50.04 at the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic in June. He's now put up four sub-50-second quarters this season, including 49.55 for second place at last week's Kansas Relays.
Another Kansas star improved on his state-leading throw in the javelin. Manhattan's Sam Hankins, a junior seeking his third consecutive class 6A state title in the event, threw 210-10 Friday. It's still about 10 feet short of his career best (220-9), but it's 10 inches better than his best effort this season.
Hankins has been ranked No. 1 in the United States since the first week of the 2019 season.
Part of what makes the Bob Camien-Claudia Welch Invitational so special each season is the fact that it is one of the few meets of the season that draws athletes from the Wichita and Kansas City areas. And much like the Kansas Track and Field championships, it gives athletes from smaller schools the opportunity to match up against much larger schools on the same day and on the same track.
So, it generally comes as a surprise to...uh, nobody...when the athletes from smaller schools out-perform their counterparts from larger schools.
Some notable wins by athletes from the smaller schools include:
* Wyatt Heiman of Silver Lake won a thrilling 100-meter sprint that featured six athletes at 11.05 or better. Heiman's winning time was 10.89, just ahead of Washburn Rural's Jaylen Carter (10.92) and Topeka's Donyel Evans (10.93). Jayden Reed of Shawnee Mission North also eclipsed 11 seconds, finishing in 10.98 for fourth. Heiman's previous season-best was 11.01; he's now No. 5 in class 3A.
* Steven Roudybush of Wamego stormed past Bishop Carroll's Kody Marvin for a win in the boys' 110 meter hurdles, clocking 14.70. Marvin was a close second in 14.83. Roudybush has a season-best of 14.43, which is No. 1 in class 4A this season.
* MacKenzie Guyle of Santa Fe Trail won the girls' discus with a throw of 129-5, just getting past Junction City's Savannah Adams (126-7). Guyle's winning throw is more than 8 feet better than her previous season-best; she currently sits at No. 3 in class 3A.
* Santa Fe Trail's Brett Schwartz also won the boys' discus with a toss of 169-6, while Silver Lake's Gideon Remer (157-9) and Trenton Cole (155-9) were second and third. For Schwartz, it's a season- and career-best by more than six feet, and moves him into No. 1 in class 3A.
Some of the other highlights from the Bob Camien-Claudia Welch Invitational include:
* A nailbiter finish in the girls' 300 meter hurdles, where Junction City's Keiana Newman held on to win in 48.21. Kynzie Underwood of Wamego was a close second in 48.46, while Bishop Carroll's Christian Sponsel was third at 48.73 and Lawrence Free State's Liliana King-Wilson was fourth in 49.16.
* There were some juicy matchups in the girls' relays between class 6A foes Leavenworth and Lawrence, which have gone head-to-head several times this season. Leavenworth won the 4 x 100 Friday, while Lawrence took the 4 X 400. Both teams continue to set their final rosters in those relays, but they certainly seem to be building to a compelling showdown come time for the 6A state meet.
* Leavenworth freshman Dhakiya Blake - yep, you've heard her name before! - swept the 400 (57.16) and 200 (25.28) meter runs. Kindel Nordhus of Bishop Carroll gave her a good fight in both, finishing second in 57.98 and 26.08. Blake has the No. 1 times in Kansas in both events, while Nordhus now has the No. 1 marks in class 5A.
Also this week in the field events
It looked like Brady Palen of Beloit-St. John had just taken over the No. 1 ranking in Kansas when he cleared 6-10.25 in the high jump at the Beloit Relays on Friday. But 200 miles away in Arkansas City, Caleb Hentzen of Labette County one-upped him, clearing 6-10.5. Both jumpers came away with career bests - Hentzen by one-half inch, and Palen by four inches - moving them to No. 8 and No. 9 in the United States currently.
Marshall Faurot of Scott Community sent spectators on a thrill ride every bit the equal of what Palen and Hentzen did. Faurot posted a career-best of 16-3 to win the pole vault at the Vernon Ferguson Invitational in Cheney, and move to No. 17 in the United States.
Seth Richmond of Paola moved to No. 3 in Kansas and No. 9 in the United States when he let fly with a career-best of 198-10 to win the javelin at the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational. He won a good battle that had four throwers top 178 feet - Joe Placek of Olathe West (188-10), Nick Allen of Gardner-Edgerton (181-7) and Jeffrey Schartz of Paola (178-11).
Katelyn Fairchild led Andale's onslaught in the field events at the El Dorado Invitational. Fairchild won the javelin (154-9) and discus (135-7) and was second in the shot put (37-5). Her javelin throw puts her at No. 2 in Kansas and No. 6 in the United States.
Andale, the two-time defending state champs in class 4A, had at least a 1-2 finish in 4 of the 7 field events.
Winfield's Matthew Everett got back on track in the discus after failing to mark at last week's Kansas Relays. Everett won the Ark City Invitational with a throw of 185-0, just four inches short of his state-leading throw. Quinton Hicks of Campus, a good thrower in his own right, pulled a mild surprise, tossing the shot put 53-7.5 to beat Everett (53-3.5) in the shot put.
Another close battle between two of the best discus throwers took place at the Quinter Invitational. Haylee Hennick of Wallace County won with a throw of 130-7, while Trinity Balluch of Hoxie was second at 130-2. Hennick is currently No. 1 in class 1A while Balluch is No. 2 in class 2A.
The state's top 2 girls' long jumpers happen to be from the same school - Maddie Righter and Jaleesa Mcwashington of Olathe Northwest. Righter has the state's top jump this season at 19-5, but on Friday, Mcwashington won the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational with a career-best of 18-11.5 while Righter was second at 18-3.5.
Mcwashington also won the triple jump with a career best of 39-2.5, good for No. 2 in Kansas, while Righter was busy winning the high jump (5-8).
Belle Peters of Smoky Valley took over the state's lead in the girls' pole vault, clearing 12-6 at the James Thomas Invitational in Hillsboro. It also puts her at No. 44 in the United States currently. Peters also won the 100 meter hurdles in a career-best 14.99, good for No. 5 in Kansas and No. 2 in class 3A.
This week on the track
My vote for race of the week goes to a 1600 meter battle at the Vernon Ferguson Invitational in Cheney. Class 3A foes Owen Pearce of Kingman and Scott Community's Jack Thomas dug down to their toenails before Pearce leaned in for the win in 4:21.88. Thomas fought gamely before settling for second in 4:22.93.
Both of those runners have won state cross country titles. Thomas still owns the No. 1 time in Kansas this season (4:21.73 on April 16), while Pearce moves into the No. 2 spot in Kansas. Both athletes are on a tear recently; Pearce was the top Kansas finisher for 1600 meters at last week's Kansas Relays.
Thomas rebounded to win the 3200 meters in an impressive time of 9:33.38.
A trio of boys' sprinters burned up the track this week. Timmy Lambert of Smoky Valley took over the No. 1 spot in Kansas (No. 59 in the U.S.) when he clocked 10.53 for 100 meters at the James Thomas Invitational in Hillsboro. At the Hutchinson invitational, Xavier Sellers of Wichita West sped to 10.65, good for No. 3 in Kansas so far. And at the El Dorado Invitational, Jordan Hawkins of Buhler sped to 10.71.
Lambert also won the 300 hurdles in 39.34, which would be No. 1 in Kansas except that he already holds that standing with a time of 38.45 run earlier this month.
Kalli Anderson of Newton took over the top 100 meter time among Kansas girls, winning at El Dorado in 11.89. That's also good enough to crack the top 100 in the United States right now -- currently the 97th best time in the country. Anderson's teammate, Maggie Remsberg, won the 100 hurdles (14.51) and 300 hurdles (44.62).
Emma Ruddle of McPherson smoked the state's top time in the girls 100 meter hurdles, clocking 14.44 to win the McPherson Invitational. It's a career-best for Ruddle, who had previously run 14.71, and is now four-tenths of a second faster than Newton's Maggie Remsberg. The two are likely to match up for the class 5A state title in a few weeks.
Lauren Carlson of Council Grove (12.11) and Kierra Prim of Shawnee Mission West (25.40) had the top girls times in the 100 and 200 this week. Both are career best times. Prim moves to No. 3 in Kansas with her win at the Joe Falcon Invitational in Belton, Mo.
A pair of sprinters brought the crowd to its collective feet in the 200 meters at the Gardner-Edgerton invitational. Good thing for electronic cameras, because this one needed every bit of precision possible as SaeVheon Alcorn of Gardner-Edgerton got the win in 22.22, and Olathe West's Giovanni Reinerio was second in 22.23. Those are season bests for both, and move them to No. 4 and No. 5 in Kansas right now.
Also at Gardner-Edgerton, four runners broke 2:00 in the 800 meter run in a blanket finish that was decided by just over 1 second. Jacob Vermillion of Olathe East won in 1:58.60, just edging Christian Buehler of Blue Valley Southwest (1:58.93), Andrew Tracy of Olathe Northwest (1:59.64) and Bryce Kauffman of Olathe East (1:59.71).
Gardner-Edgerton's boys also won a pair of class relay battles. In the 4 X 100, the squad clocked 42.67 and held off Olathe East: those are the top two times in Kansas this season. Not to be outdone, in the 4 X 400, the Blazers (3:24.16) out-dueled Olathe West (3:26.00) and Olathe East (3:26.38) - putting up the top 3 times in Kansas so far.
In the 4 X 800, Olathe Northwest's boys won at Gardner-Edgerton in a time of 8:02.09 - also the best in Kansas right now.
On the girls' side, each of the winning relays at Gardner-Edgerton clocked the top time in Kansas for this week. In order, they were Gardner-Edgerton (50.01), Olathe West (4:10.60) and Blue Valley Southwest (9:55.00).
The finish line cameras were working overtime at the Hutchinson Invitational, where the home team's Tayezhan Crough (14.27) nipped Wichita West's Jaleel Montgomery (14.28) in the 110 hurdles. Those are season-bests for both runners, and put them at No. 1 and No. 2 in Kansas this season. They are on a collision course for a class 6A state title in a few weeks.
Finally, here's a name to know and memorize: Tommy Hazen of St. Thomas Aquinas. The sophomore is the new state leader in the 3200 meters after running 9:22.60 at the St. Thomas Aquinas Invitational on Friday. But he's not your typical next-in-line to the Aquinas distance tradition.
Hazen played baseball as a freshman and never ran track and field in middle school. He did run cross country for the Saints, finishing 68th at the state meet last Fall. In his first-ever high school track and field meet, he ran 4:27 for the mile. He clocked his state-leading 3200 meter time this week in just his second try at that distance. He also beat the season-best time by his teammate, Ethan Marshall, who just so happens to be the only two-time cross country state champion in that school's history.
I don't think we'll say, "Who?" the next time Hazen steps on the track.