Performances of the Week - Championship Season is Here

Performances of the Week - April 28-May 4

With the postseason on the horizon, it's a pivotal time in track and field. While Kansas may not have state qualifying standards, it's still important to perform well late in the season to gain confidence for the upcoming championships. Several athletes did just that this past week as we march forward into the month of May.

Let's start with the premier meet of the week: the Shawnee Mission North Relays. Leavenworth is known for its sprinters, and Wynter Ramos is a big part of that. The sophomore set season bests in all three sprints. She led a ruthless field the 100 and 200 meter dashes after the prelims, approaching PR territory in both. In the finals of the 100, she tied her season best of 12.2 (just a smidge off her personal best of 12.16) and came away with a silver medal. She continued her day with a bronze medal in the 400, which doesn't sound impressive until you consider the fact that the two ahead of her are the best in the state, and her time of 58.02 is good for 4th in all classes. Ramos's nightcap was the 200 meter final, where she edged out the state's best in a thrilling 24.85 second finish.

Andrew O'Brien isn't exactly a seasoned veteran. The Halstead senior only has 7 individual track efforts in Milesplit's database during HS. He is not one of the 5 Halstead runners to compete at state in the 800 during his high school years. He is, however, the 2nd fastest half miler in Kansas this year following a breakout effort in Hesston on Thursday. Fellow Halstead runner Josh Talbott was the easy favorite, he'd medaled at state a year ago and had the best time in 3A this year. O'Brien threw that prediction out the window and opened in a blistering 55 seconds. Talbott never even had a chance to win the race. O'Brien kept looking back, but the field was nowhere to be seen. He finished in 1:57, with the field 9 seconds back. As the only man in the division to break 2:00 this season, he leaves no doubt that he's the one to beat in 3A.

Halstead senior Andrew O'Brien goes a lot further than just breaking two in the Hesston Relays 800m. 

Out in Bucklin, the Red Ace Relays have been a huge meet in recent years for 1A athletes to compete at before the postseason. Even though you aren't side-by-side with your competitors in the jumping events, it is good to have strong competition. Alexandra Hart was able to benefit from a strong field in the jumping events. The Rolla junior won a trifecta of jumping events on Thursday. Her long jump of 16'11" and triple jump of 35'10" were both personal bests, and her high jump of 5'7" improved on her 1A-leading mark. To top it all off, she broke 16 seconds in the 100 hurdles for just the second time, clocking 15.64 to win her fourth event of the day.

A performance of the week doesn't always need to light up the state leaderboards. Smith Center's Jacob Conrad has never competed at state but has really started to break through as a junior. He won the 110 hurdles at the Rock Hills Invitational on Friday, clocking in at a career best of 16.35. He continued his career day with a 2nd place finish in the 300 hurdles, leaping his way to another PR of 43.09. Conrad will have plenty of company at Republic County in two weeks for regionals, but he has a good chance of stepping into Cessna Stadium as a competitor this year.

Competing is always better when you have fans cheering you on. That's what makes home meets so special. If Riley County fans didn't come out to support Ames Burton, I'm not sure what to say. The best thrower in 3A knows how to put on a show. The sophomore regularly throws the shot over 40 feet, and Friday was no exception. In a meet surprisingly dominated by strong underclassmen throwers, Burton took no prisoners with her 40'1.5" throw that sailed 18 inches further than anyone else's. Her discus throw was something special. Burton's monumental heave of 145'10" is the best in the state this year, and a PR by over 5 feet. There was a good battle for 2nd in the event, but it was 30 feet back.

The sixth spot goes to...
Nen Matlock of De Soto! It's okay if that name isn't familiar, he's just an eighth grader at Mill Creek Middle School (in De Soto's school district). He wrapped his season up at the Kaw Valley League Meet last week and will be a big addition to the wildcats next year. His times of 12.04 in the 100 and 23.91 in the 200 are some of the best in Kansas and could compete well in some high school meets. His 400-meter dash is something else entirely, though. At 51.92, he's 7th in the nation according to Milesplit. It would also be 4th in the 5A Lansing regional. De Soto seniors Graham Hudelson and Keegan Sturdy can rest easy knowing their 4x400 will be in good hands next year.