Mill Valley's Lily Fleetwood receives congratulations from her coach after winning the class 5A girls pole vault state title, setting a division state record of 13-0 in the process. (Kansas MileSplit photo by Alex Walters)
The following is a live blog posted on Kansas MileSplit during the class 5A/6A Kansas Track and Field championships, May 27 at Wichita State University's Cessna Stadium.
An unfortunate beginning: Weather has caused a temporary delay to the beginning of the 5A/6A state championships. Two years ago, weather delays caused the meet to go into Sunday before they were completed. Last year, the pandemic caused a complete cancellation. KSHSAA will post an update at 9 a.m. on getting this year's meet started.
Still waiting. KSHSAA will post its next update at 10 a.m. We'll keep posting updates throughout today's meet...hoping we get started soon, or else it's going to be a long night!
Well, the early storyline on this state championship already is the weather. The class 5A/6A state championships are still in a holding pattern. Severe weather is in the Wichita area. KSHSAA will issue its next update at 12 noon today. It will be interesting to see what this does to a schedule that was already compressed to accommodate a one-day meet.
We are underway! The field events scheduled for 8 a.m. are now at 12 noon, and other field events moved up accordingly. The 3200 meter runs are on the track -- about an hour later than their originally-scheduled start. First up: 5A girls 3200.
And we have our first state champion of this year's meet -- well, for that matter, in two years! Hope Jackson of Bishop Carroll successfully defends her 2019 state title with a 78 second last lap to pull away from Maize South's Alexa Rios. Jackson finishes in 10:59.76, while Rios is the runner-up at 11:09.14. Jackson is also the two-time class 5A state champion in cross country. It's Rios' highest finish ever at a state meet.
Five girls under 11:00 in the 6A 3200 meter finals. Olathe North freshman Anjali Hocker Singh pulls away in last three laps to win in 10:33.90, 12 seconds over Blue Valley Northwest's Riley Beach (10:45.36). Hocker Singh also out-dueled Beach for the cross country title last fall. Also breaking 11:00 were Kaylee Tobaben, Olathe North (10:53.52), Tori Wingrove of Blue Valley (10;56.75) and Carolyn Thurlby of Blue Valley Northwest (10:57.83).
Class 5A boys off to a brisk 64 opening lap in the 3200, 2:14 at the half. A pack of six is on sub-9:00 pace; Now, 4:32 at the 1600 meter mark, about 2 seconds ahead of the all-class state record, and 12 seconds ahead of the class 5A state record.
An ALL CLASS RECORD. 9:05.38 for 3200 meters at the state championships. Tommy Hazen of St. Thomas Aquinas drops a 63 second finishing lap to win the class 5A boys 3200 meter run. Teammate Logan Seger clocked 66 seconds to finish in 9:09 and Kapaun-Mt. Carmel's Erik Enriquez -- the 2020 cross country champion -- finishes in 71 for a time of 9:13.81. All three of those guys broke the previous class 5A state record of 9:14.78 (Dwight Davis, St. Thomas Aquinas, 1996). Incredible finish by three gutsy runners!!
Lawrence Free State's Ben Shryock won his first state title, finishing in 64 seconds to edge Shawnee Mission North's Micah Blomker. Shryock, a junior, clocked 9:15.00, while Blomker, a freshman, is second at 9:16.21. Kansas Gatorade Runner of the Year Daniel Harkin of Manhattan, the 2019 champ in this event, was on Shryock's shoulder with a lap to go but struggled to finish in 1:16 and ended up in seventh place.
First field event champion is in the books: JahnAsia Anderson of Seaman wins the class 5A girls shot put with a throw of 37-7. That's a personal best by more than 1 1/2 feet for the senior. Most other events that started at noon are in the final rounds.
We lost our Internet connection for nearly two hours...so, let's get caught up! Lily Fleetwood of Mill Valley set a class 5A state record in winning the girls pole vault at 13-0. She beat pre-meet favorite Paris Bond of St. Thomas Aquinas, who cleared 12-0. Bond, however, has had a great state meet: she won the triple jump with a leap of 37-9.5 and the high jump at 5-6. The class 6A girls' javelin also went final; Aubrey Duncan of Lawrence Free State is your state champion with a throw of 142-10.
In boys' events, state champs include Zsamar Sipple of Washburn Rural (long jump, 22-0), Evan Schmidt of Blue Valley West (pole vault, 15-0), William Doolittle of Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (5A discus, 179-8) and Andrew Orr of Blue Valley North (6A high jump, 6-4).
The big story on the track is Lansing's Malik Benson. He did not start in the 100 meter prelims, which likely means we won't see anything from the senior standout at this meet. He was on a short list of class 5A sprinters who were likely to light up the track today, but now it looks like he's out for the meet. Perhaps most disappointing is that we won't see him in the long jump, where his season-best of 25-2.25 was No. 1 in Kansas and No. 3 in the United States. Kansas' oldest state meet record appears to be safe: 24-11.75 by Wichita South's Veryl Crawford in 1974.
Huge shoutout to the crew at Heartland Timing, which is the lead timing company for the Kansas State Track and Field Championships. Today's running events started an hour late, but three hours in, we're just a little under 40 minutes behind the original schedule. Heartland Timing is providing Live Results on two platforms, including MileSplit. Dennis Weber and his team does an amazing job meeting a lot of big requests that are likely coming their way!
Finals have been completed in the 110 hurdles and 100 hurdles. The state champions are Lauren Heck of Blue Valley Southwest (5A girls, 14.60); Kaiya McKie of Olathe North (6A girls, 15.35); Jeremiah Smith of Shawnee Heights (5A boys, 14.74); and Joshua Parrish of Olathe North (6A boys, 15.03).
What can you say about Gardner-Edgerton's Kendra Wait? How about...REMARKABLE! The senior successfully defended her 100-meter sprint title in class 6A with a time of 12.02, edging pre-race favorite and the division's No. 1 ranked Ka'Liyah McGinnis of Olathe North (12.10). McGinnis beat Wait for the regional title just six days earlier.
Wait's farewell to the Kansas Track and Field scene is the stuff of legends: She's also won the long jump (18-5) and shot put (41-2.5), and is currently competing in the pole vault, an event in which she has the division's best mark this season of 13-0 (nearly two feet better than anyone else in class 6A girls).
Remarkable also fits for Shawnee Heights' Jeremiah Smith. About 40 minutes after winning the 110 hurdles, the sophomore speedster clocked 10.52 to win the 5A boys 100 meter dash, edging Hays' Jaren Kanak (10.58).
Now that's amazing! The distance runners are acting like sprinters. First, in the class 5A girls 1600, Hope Jackson of Bishop Carroll completed a sweep of the distance events when she nipped Zoie Ecord of Maize. Jackson's time was 5:04.75 while Ecord was second at 5:04.98.
Then, in the very next race, Blue Valley Northwest's Riley Beach clocked 4:59.33 for a victory by six-hundredths of a second over Olathe North's Anjali Hocker Singh, who beat Beach in the 3200 meter earlier today.
The boys got into the action, too. Logan Seger of St. Thomas Aquinas outkicked his own teammates to win the class 5A boys race. He was timed in 4:22.63, ahead of Ashton Higgerson (4:23.68) and Tommy Hazen (4:23.80). Hazen earlier won the 3200.
By comparison, the 6A boys race was bo-o-o-o-ring. Well, not really. Riley Vandaveer of Olathe South ran the fastest mile of the day when he clocked 4:15.15 -- a four second win over Manhattan's Daniel Harkin (4:19.67). Vandaveer blitzed a 59-second quarter on the last lap to win his first state title. Harkin's finish put Manhattan, the pre-meet favorite, into first place for the first time today -- tied with Washburn Rural with 34.5 points at the midway point (9 of 18 events scored). There's still a long ways to go...
Great finish to the class 6A girls high jump. Four athletes cleared 5-4, but it was Taryn St. Clair of Wichita North who got the state championship based on fewer misses. The difference was she cleared the height on her first attempt, while Ella Mackiewicz of Shawnee Mission Northwest and Tess Roman of Shawnee Mission East needed a second attempt to clear 5-4. Fourth-place finisher Lindsey DeWitt of Blue Valley West needed three attempts to clear 5-4. All four girls were clean leading up to the winning height.
St. Thomas Aquinas is closing in on the class 5A girls state title. Eleven of 18 events have been completed and the Saints have 64 points -- good for a 34 point lead over Kapaun-Mt. Carmel. They're not likely to be caught; sprinter Grace Allen -- runner-up in the 100 earlier -- will be in the finals of the 200 later today.
Aquinas' boys have 50 points, good for a 23-point cushion over Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, but only seven events have been scored on the boys' side.
If anybody has their sights on catching Olathe North for the class 6A girls state title, they better get started soon. Through 10 events, Olathe North has 63.33 points, while Gardner-Edgerton and Blue Valley Northwest are a distant second with 30 points. Olathe North still has sprinter Ka'Liyah McGinnis in the 200 (she was the runner-up earlier in the 100) and distance start Anjali Hocker Singh in the 800 (she won the 3200 and was runner-up in the 1600 earlier). Right now it looks like a lopsided win for Olathe North.
Kendra Wait of Gardner-Edgerton is about to win her fourth gold medal of the day -- without even trying. No, seriously. She passed all the way through 10-6 in the class 6A girls pole vault, while everyone else in the competition has now been eliminated. She'll have to clear at least 11-0 to win, which seems like a formality considering she's got a season-best of 13-0 this season. She can unpack her pole now and enjoy her proverbial victory lap as the last one remaining in the competition.
Dhakiya Blake of Leavenworth successfully defends her state title in the class 5A girls 400 meter run. She won two years ago as a freshman; this year, she finishes in 56.71 in a close race against Blue Valley Southwest's Emily Ervin (57.41), Andover Central's Ellie Geoffroy (58.95) and Shawnee Height's Taylor Rottinghaus (58.97). Seven girls went under 60 seconds in that race. Blake is now 12-2 in 400 meter races during her high school career.
It's getting down to crunch time in the team races. Olathe North's girls are still in command of the 6A girls chase with 70.33 points (12 events scored), while Olathe West and Gardner-Edgerton are giving chase at 44. Manhattan and Washburn Rural share the lead at 34.5 (11 events scored) in 6A boys, but Blue Valley North is at 32 and Olathe North at 29.5.
St. Thomas Aquinas has a firm hold on both 5A team races. The boys team has 63 while Hays is at 43 and Mill Valley at 42 (12 events scored). The Aquinas girls are running away with the title, now at 82 points while Mill Valley is at 31, and Kapaun-Mt. Carmel and Maize South are both at 30. Grace Allen (18-1.5) and Lydia Micek (17-1) scored a 1-2 finish in the girls long jump to pad the Aquinas girls lead.
Jacob Hanna of Maize just dropped a 38.83 to win the class 5A boys 300 meter hurdles. That's the best time we've seen in Kansas this season. He out-ran a good field that included Brock Merz of Arkansas City (39.14), Owen Lang of Andover Central (39.33) and Otto Knittel of Spring Hill (39.52).
Blanket finish in the class 6A girls 800 meter run. After a few tense moments, the winner is Grace Meyer of Shawnee Mission East. Her time is 2:19.218, three-thousandths of a second over Olathe North's Anjali Hocker Singh, 2:19.221. The two looked at each other and asked, "Who Won?" just past the finish, followed by lots of hugs and smiles once the results were displayed. It was a great show of sportsmanship. Hocker Singh just completed an incredible freshman season in which she was state champion in cross country and the 3200 meters, and state runner-up in the 800 and 1600.
Manhattan's boys are having a tough day, but the pre-meet favorites in class 6A boys may still have enough to pull out the team title. Through 15 scored events, they're 1 1/2 points up on Blue Valley (which just got 10 points in the 200), but senior Darius O'Connell is leading the shot put (where he's been ranked No. 1 in Kansas all season) and triple jumpers Charles Jones and Jason Moran are seeded in the top five and about to jump.
Blue Valley has the top-ranked 4 X 400 team and triple jumper Hayden Essex. Washburn Rural is lurking five points back, and has top-ranked triple jumper Zsamar Sipple (who earlier won the long junp), while Gardner-Edgerton (5 1/2 points back) has just a 4 X 400 relay left to compete.
Mill Valley's boys just caught St. Thomas Aquinas in the 5A team standings. In the past hour, Nen Matlock scored wins in the 400 and 800, and Brian Casper was the runner-up in the javelin. Mill Valley has 68 points and Aquinas is at 66, through 16 scored events. Both have 4 X 400 relay teams, but neither is seeded in the top 8. Mill Valley's Adrian Dimond is currently sitting in fourth place in the long jump while Aquinas' Preston May qualified in the long jump but has not competed in that event today. The odds are in Mill Valley's favor.
The Aquinas girls (5A) and Olathe North girls (6A) have seemingly insurmountable leads with two events to go.
There never seemed to be a doubt, but it's now official: St. Thomas Aquinas girls are the class 5A state champions. One event left to be scored (javelin), but Mill Valley -- which does have two throwers in that event -- trails by 43 points. Kapaun-Mt. Carmel is just four back of Mill Valley for second place and has two javelin throwers.
We can also now officially name Olathe North as the girls 6A state champions. After the 4 X 400 relay, they are at 87.33 points, while Olathe West -- which made a huge charge in the last couple hours -- is more than 14 points back at 73. Olathe West has just one athlete left to compete, Addison Cline in the discus.
And the boys 5A champoinship is wrapped up for Mill Valley. They finished sixth in the 4 X 400 to push their team total to 71 and now have a five point lead over St. Thomas Aquinas, which does not have any competitors remaining in the last 5A boys event of the day -- long jump (Xavier Horn sits in 14th place and is done jumping).
Just one more team title to be awarded...
It took a little longer for Manhattan's boys to feel comfortable, but they're going to be the class 6A boys champions. Charles Jones (44-9.0) and Jason Moran (42-4.75) just finished second and fourth in the triple jump to push Manhattan's team total to 56.5 points -- 10.5 ahead of Blue Valley. The only event left to score is the boys shot put, where Manhattan's Darius O'Connell currently is in first place.
It's Manhattan's second title in the past three state meets; they previously won in 2018.