If you happened to be one of the hundreds of spectators who
took in the Shawnee Mission North Relays Friday night, I hope you're feeling
better today because I know - I just know
- your head was spinning wildly.
All around the track and all around the field, several of the week's best marks by Kansas athletes were being set at the annual meet, which attracts athletes from more than 40 schools. In all, there were 74 marks rated by MileSplit as either Gold, Silver or Bronze level Elite Performances at this year's meet.
Next to the state track and field championships, this may be Kansas' most competitive meet featuring primarily Kansas athletes. And the state's best did not disappoint.
That starts with the shortest race on the track: the 100 meters.
Four of the fastest girls in Kansas squared off in the finals in a thrilling blanket finish won by Shawnee Mission East's Destiny Ray, who was timed in 12.11. She survived a fierce challenge from Leavenworth's Wynter Ramos (12.20), Gardner-Edgerton's Kendra Wait (12.25) and Leavenworth's Dhakiya Blake (12.26).
Pure electricity. But they weren't done.
Ramos reversed the finish in the 200 where she clocked the best time in Kansas, winning in 24.85. Ray was second in 24.90 (beating the previous state best of 25.11), and Blake was third in 25.15.
Blake, a freshman who has lit up the state's sprints throughout the outdoor season, did win the 400 on Friday, clocking 57.59 - which was just off her season- and state-best of 57.16 run the week before. She had to fight for that win; Matti Price of Riverton was right on her heels at 57.91, Ramos was third at 58.02, Kylie Moorehouse of Gardner-Edgerton was fourth at 58.68, and Hannah Turner of Blue Valley Southwest was fifth in 59.91.
From the shortest track events...to the longest, where St. James Academy's Sarah Murrow sent a very large tremor through the state rankings when she won the 3200 in a career-best time of 10:46.85. She made a very strong field look pedestrian, and may have stamped her spot in the New Balance Nationals later this summer.
Kalea Chu of Blue Valley West was second (11:01.61), followed by Shawnee Mission North's Katie Kasunic (11:09.18), Mill Valley's Morgan Koca (11:13.24) and Blue Valley West's Katherine Soule (11:19.24). Those five finishers had the top five 3200 meter times for Kansas girls this week.
Murrow's time is the second-best in Kansas this year, and No. 1 in class 5A, where she will be an overwhelming favorite to win the state title later this month.
On the boys' side, Nevan Tebb-lolar of Blue Valley West pulled off an impressive double win in the sprints, clocking 10.85 in the 100 and 22.33 in the 200. He was actually faster in the prelims of the 200, clocking 22.01 for the third best time in Kansas this season.
Lansing's Terry Robinson, the state's No. 1 ranked 800 meter runner, was at it again. The lanky junior clocked 1:56.92 to win a hard-fought battle against Blue Valley's Hunter Wilcox (1:57.72) and Olathe Northwest's Bret Beard (1:58.68).
Robinson's win came just a little while after he had run a season- and career-best time of 4:22.63 in the 1600 meters, but he was beaten in that race by St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Tommy Hazen, who in the past few weeks has become one of the state's most exciting distance runners to watch.
Hazen added the state's No. 1 time in the 1600 meters to his resume when he won Friday in 4:21.38. Last week at his team's home meet, he clocked the state's best 3200 meter time of 9:22.60. On Friday, teammate Ethan Marshall won the North Relays with a time of 9:24.36, fighting off fellow Aquinas runner Aiden Higgerson (9:24.91), Gardner-Edgerton's Trent Cochran (9:26.25), Shawnee Mission North's Joey Guzman (9:27.24), St. James Academy's Jack Moore (9:27.45) and DeSoto's Sam Hubert (9:27.70)
Yep, that's six runners in the meet's longest event finishing just a whisker over three seconds within each other.
Some of the other highlights from the Shawnee Mission North Relays include:
Olathe Northwest became the first Kansas school this season to crack the 8:00 mark when it won the boys' 4 X 800 relay in 7:58.84. But the second team from Kansas to break 8:00 came just seven-tenths of a second later - DeSoto clocked 7:59.56 - and Olathe East was third in 8:03.66. Earlier in the week, Scott Community grabbed the state's top time of 8:04.14 to win the Mike Smith Invitational in Garden City, but by Friday, those three teams ran just a little faster.
Katie Moore of St. James Academy ran a season- and state-best of 2:16.09 to win the girls' 800, out-dueling Lawrence's Hannah Stewart (2:20.62) and Mill Valley's Delaney Kemp (2:21.54). Just a bit earlier, Kemp won the 1600 with a career-best time of 5:07.07 for the No. 4 time in Kansas.
Shawnee Mission North's Kasunic gave Kemp a good battle in the 1600, but settled for second in a career-best time of 5:09.80.
Gardner-Edgerton lowered its own state-leading time in the 4 X 400 relay when the Blazers escaped a fight with Olathe Northwest. Gardner-Edgerton won in 3:25.33 while Olathe Northwest settled for No. 2 in Kansas at 3:25.35. Blue Valley was just a second behind in 3:26.49 and Olathe West one more second at 3:27.51. That race was a fitting end to a remarkable night of track and field.
Leavenworth's girls also lowered their state-leading time in the 4 X 400 relay, inching ever so close to breaking 4:00 in the event. The Pioneers clocked 4:02.44 in an exciting battle with St. James Academy (4:03.39), Lawrence (4:05.37), Shawnee Mission West (4:07.51) and Gardner-Edgerton (4:09.40).
Joe Placek of Olathe West, who sits at No. 2 in class 6A and No. 36 in the United States, won the javelin with a throw of 182-5. Jacob Serrioz of Gardner-Edgerton gave him a good battle, but settled for second place with a best of 176-9.
Two of the state's best jumpers were flying again. Olathe Northwest's Jaleesa McWashington won the long jump at 18-6.5, just ahead of teammate Maddie Righter (18-5), and Lawrence Free State's Auna Childress (18-3.5). Childress rebounded to win the triple jump (an event she won at the Kansas Relays two weeks ago) at 39-7.5, while McWashington was second (38-3).
Kendra Wait of Gardner-Edgerton won the girls' shot put with a mark of 43-7.5, just ahead of Lawrence's Chisom Ajekwu, whose best was 41-1. Emily Fuhr of DeSoto won the girls' discus at 133-2. Wait's mark put her at No. 2 in Kansas this season, No. 84 in the United States.
Lexy Farrington of Blue Valley North won the javelin with a throw of 140-0, just seven inches off her career best. She is currently rankned No. 5 in Kansas and No. 27 in the United States in the event.
Highlights from other parts of Kansas
Well, doggone it, he's at it again!
Wilson soared 6-11 to notch his career best and win the Ellinwood Invitational. The 2018 class 3A state champion took over the No. 1 spot in Kansas, and climbs to No. 8 in the United States. Sterling is now a 2A school, a division that has four jumpers who have cleared 6-7 or higher this season.
Timmy Lambert of Smoky Valley is another one who just seems to thrill track and field fans every week. The senior had the state's fastest 100 meter time this week, clocking 10.75 to win the Hesston Relays. That time comes one week after he ran 10.53 for the No. 1 time in Kansas this season.
Lambert also won the 200 (22.66) and 300 hurdles (38.58) at Hesston.
Ames Burton of Riley County took over the top spot in Kansas for the girls' discus when she launched a career-best 145-10 to win her team's home meet on Friday. Burton is more than eight feet better than the next best thrower in Kansas, and she moves up to No. 48 in the United States.
Tayezhan Crough of Hutchinson had a pretty good week in the hurdles. He had the state's second fastest time over the 300 hurdles (38.94) and won the 110 hurdles (14.53) at the Salina Central Invitational. In the 300 hurdles, he out-battled Manhattan's Max Lansdowne, who ran a season-best 39.32 for second place.
Emma Ruddle of McPherson also smoked the 100 hurdles this week. She was clocked in 14.59 at the Salina Central Invitational, winning by five-hundredths of a second over another pretty good hurdler, Kiena Newman of Junction City (14.64). Ruddle is the No. 1 ranked hurdler in Kansas, while Newman equaled her season-best and is at No. 3.
Newman bounced back to win the 300 hurdles, clocking a season-best 46.80.
Her Centennial League rival, Shelby Butterfield of Shawnee Heights, had the state's fastest trip over the 300 meter hurdles. Butterfield won the Joe Schrag Invitational in 45.45, a season-best that puts her at No. 5 in Kansas this season.
The state's fastest 400 meter runner this week was Isaiah Armstrong of Holcomb, who broke through the 50 second mark for the second straight week when he ran 49.25 to win the Mike Smith Invitational in Garden City. Prior to running 49.27 at Hugoton the week before, Armstrong had never dipped under 50 seconds in the event. He is us undefeated in seven races this season and has the top time in class 3A.
Wesley Shaw of Hillsboro was already though to be the state's best in the boys' shot put, but he did himself one better on Friday at the Hesston Relays. The senior threw 64-1 to improve his state-leading mark, and is now No. 12 in the United States. He also won the discus with a throw of 176-5.
Lemoses White of Piper had the state's best throw in the discus, winning his team's home meet with a 176-8 effort. That's also a career best for the senior, and moves him to No. 2 in Kansas and No. 87 in the United States.
Brayden Meyer and Ty McPhail of Andale had a throw-down in the pole vault against the top two vaulters in class 5A - Bishop Carroll's Brian Simon and Ethan Hull. And one week after the two Bishop Carroll vaulters cleared 15-6, the Andale pair took them down.
Meyer cleared 14-9 to win the Goddard Invitational, while McPhail was second at 14-3. Simon and Hull tied for third, also clearing 14-3. The four vaulters are very familiar with each other, and very well could be the top four at the state meet in three weeks.
In the boys' javelin, Cheney's Trey Patterson won the Hesston Relays with a throw of 189-1, and Isaac Mitchell of Salina South won the Salina Central Invitational with a throw of 188-2. Those were the top two throws in Kansas this week.