Tyus Wilson of Sterling, shown here clearing 7-0 at the Ellinwood Invitational, could break the 2A and all-class state records in the event this weekend.
We're doing our annual previews of the Kansas State Track and Field Championships differently this year. Instead of one story for each classification, we will publish one story previewing each day of competition. Today, we will take a look at the class 1A/2A championships, which take place Saturday.
2021 Kansas State Track and Field Championships
Saturday, May 29
Cessna Stadium, Wichita State University
Start times: Field events 8 a.m.; Running events 11 a.m.
The meet is estimated to be finished by 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $9.00 at gate or online at https://gofan.co/app/events/310216
More information (from the Kansas State High School Activities Association): https://www.kshsaa.org/Public/Track/State.cfm
Ah, the sprints are going to be exciting.
The title of the division's fastest boy or girl is not the only prize up for grabs when the class 1A/2A state track and field championships get rolling on Saturday. The winners of the 100 meter dash may also be taking home state records.
The record that is in most jeopardy is the class 1A girls 100 meter title. Kiowa County junior Addi Heinson has a season-best of 11.99, well ahead of the 1A state record of 12.30 held by Logan's Kelly Pakkebier (1975) and Grinnell's Beverly Heier (1983). Heinson has run faster than the state record seven times this season, including last week at the regional meet.
Among the other 100 meter races at this year's meet:
* Beloit-St. John senior Brayden Perez has run 10.74 for 100 meters, just ahead of the 1A state record of 10.80 held by Waverly's Joseph Herron (1995).
* In class 2A girls, Garden Plain junior Brooke Hammond has a season-best of 12.20, within striking distance of the class record of 12.10 held by Garden Plain's Kayla Pauly (1998) and Sublette's Debbie Winter (1981)
Several other records may go down at this year's meet:
* In the class 2A high jump, Sterling's Tyus Wilson has jumped 7-3 - No. 1 in the United States - which is nearly three inches higher than the 2A state record of 7-0.25, and just a shade under the all-class record of 7-3.25 by Garden City's Jason Archibald (1995).
* Stanton County sophomore Chesney Peterson has run 5:02.03 for 1600 meters, closing in on the 2A state record of 5:00.95 by Janet Haskin of Onaga (1988).
* Garden Plain's 4 X 100 relay leads class 2A with a time of 50.05. That's less than one-half second off the class record of 49.63, set by Maranatha Christian in 2015.
Who's Going to Win the Team Titles?
Class 2A boys
Wichita County's Sheldon Whalen is a pre-meet favorite in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Oakley's Ethan Abell is No. 1 in the 100 and Cody Zimmerman No. 1 in the 800, and they've got the top-ranked 4 X 100 and 4 X 800 relays. Trego Community distance runner Wyndom Giefer is the one to beat in the 1600 and 3200, and teammate Owen Day has class 1A's top throw in the javelin. Garden Plain's Jack Haukap and Arden Rex are top two contenders in the shot put and javelin, respectively.
This team race comes down to which school picks up the important fifth through eighth places. I'll take the team that appears to have the most depth. Pick: Trego Community
Class 2A girls
Garden Plain's Brooke Hammond is No. 1 in class 2A in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, and top five in the 400. Allison Catlin is No. 1 in the 100 hurdles and No. 3 in the 300 hurdles. They also team to give Garden Plain the division's best 4 X 100 relay.
The only team that could challenge Garden Plain for the team title is Stanton County and distance superstar Chesney Peterson, who is the division's best in the 800, 1600 and 3200. Valley Heights is a podium hopeful, led by thrower Emma Yungeberg (No. 1 in the javelin, No. 3 in the shot put and discus). I don't think they can match Garden Plain's depth and top-end strength. Pick: Garden Plain
Class 1A boys
Madison is likely to build a big early lead with Casey Helm, who is ranked No. 1 in the shot put and discus; and Kelton Buettner in the triple jump and long jump. Buettner is likely to boost his team's early lead in the hurdles, where he's ranked No. 1 in the 300 hurdles and No. 2 in the 110 hurdles. Bryson Turner is a top 3 hopeful in the 100 and 200.
Osborne and Meade seem to be the best bets to give Madison a run for the title. Osborne's Mason Schurr is No. 1 in the 200 and No. 2 in the 100, and distance runner Reagan Bales enters state with class 1A's top time in the 800 (2:00.52) and second-best in the 1600 (4:38.30). Meade's strength is keyed by Vance Shewey in the high jump (No. 1) and long jump (No. 2) and 4 X 800 relay (No.1). Pick: Madison
Class 1A girls
Speed thrills, as they say, and Kiowa County has plenty of it. Junior Addie Heinson enters state with class 1A's No. 1 ranking in the 100 and 400, and teammate Marley Little is No. 1 in the 200 (where Heinson is No. 2). No surprise, but Kiowa County's 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays are also No. 1.
After that, it's anybody's guess. Golden Plains' Emma Weiner is ranked No. 1 in the 1600 and 3200, and Hodgeman County's Kaylee James is No. 1 in the 300 hurdles (No. 3 in the 100 hurdles). Doniphan West's Elle Williams and Chloe Clevenger should score big points in the distance races, and they also key the No. 1 ranked 4 X 800 relay. Pick: Kiowa County
One event or athlete I'm excited to watch
Class 2A boys
I suspect that I'm not alone in being anxious to see Tyus Wilson in action. Entering this week, he's tied for the best high jump mark in the United States, 7-foot-3 about a month ago at the Hillsboro - James Thomas Invitational. He's only failed to clear 7-0 once this season - at last week's regionals - but I imagine he's wanting to cap his brilliant career with a great effort at the state meet. No doubt the crowd will provide a shot of adrenaline.
An interesting side story here: Loudermilk has cleared 6-10.5 this season, which in any other division, would make him a heavy favorite for the state title. He'll certainly get Wilson's attention and could be in a position to pull off a monumental upset.
Wilson and Loudermilk also will compete in the long jump at 8 a.m. Wilson's season-best of 21-11 is also the best in class 2A this spring.
Class 2A girls
Chesney Peterson, Stanton County, distance/middle distance
I've got to say that I'm excited to see the Stanton County sophomore competing in her first state track and field meet. She's one of the top five female distance runners in Kansas right now, and will look to add three track titles to the cross country championship she won last fall.
Peterson is taking on the Distance Triple - 800 (6:12 p.m.), 1600 (3:38 p.m.) and 3200 (11:15 a.m.) - and she is favored to win all three. She also ran the season's fastest 400 among class 2A girls (59.61) but she's not competing in that event at state. I've not seen her run before (only her results) so it will be exciting to see one of the state's Young Lions in action.
Class 1A boys
Max Blaufuss, Olpe, javelin (12 noon)
Blaufuss is the only Kansas athlete to have thrown further than 200 feet this season. He currently sits at No. 5 in the United States with his season best of 208-7 to win the Lyon County League meet two weeks ago.
Blaufuss was the class 1A state runner-up in the javelin in 2019, which is the only state medal he has won. He's hoping to add gold to that silver this time around.
Class 1A girls
Addi Heinson, Kiowa County, sprints
Heinson burst onto the state scene as a freshman with runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200, and fourth place in the 400 during the 2019 state championships. COVID-19 wiped out what likely would have been her ascension to the top of class 1A sprinting last year.
Now, she gets a chance to prove her mettle. She enters the state meet with the No. 1 times in the 100 (11.99) and 400 (57.71) and No. 2 in the 200 (26.15, behind teammate Marley Little's 25.98).
The 100 finals are scheduled for Saturday at 2:42 p.m., followed by the 400 at 4:34 p.m. and the 200 at 6:42 p.m.