Andale senior Katelyn Fairchild won the class 4A girls state championship in the shot put and javelin. Her throw of 170-0 in the javelin set an all-class state record. (Kansas MileSplit photo by Alex Walters)
It took Katelyn Fairchild just a little under 45 minutes to write her way into Kansas Track and Field lore.
The senior from Andale - already well known as one of the greatest throwers this state has ever seen - launched the javelin 168-11 on her first throw of the class 4A girls javelin to set an all-class record less than an hour after the class 3A/4A championships opened Friday at Wichita State University's Cessna Stadium.
By the time the competition was over, Fairchild had pushed the record to 170-0, leading a 1-2-3 finish by Andale in the event. Her sister, McKenzie Fairchild, posted a career-best throw of 159-7 to place second, and Samantha Marx threw 145-7 for third.
Andale scored 137.5 points to easily win the class 4A girls state championship. Paola was second with 70 and Eudora grabbed the last podium spot with 61.5 points.
As expected, Andale's field events put up a big...make that, huge...score that really put the team title away early.
Katelyn Fairchild (42-2.5) and McKenzie Fairchild (40-6) swept the top two spots in the shot put, then McKenzie (140-0) beat Katelyn (132-10) to lead a 1-2 sweep in the discus. Annabeth Baalmann (11-0) won the pole vault, while Clarissa Rowland and Mary Meyer tied for third, both at 10-6.
By the time all the field events had been scored, Andale had amassed 92.5 points in those events alone.
Andale also won the girls 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays. Cali Kerschen was the runner-up in the 100 hurdles. All together, the Indians added another 45 points on the track.
Andale's dominance over-shadowed a strong effort by Paola - which got runner-up finishes from Marina Johnson (800), Darian Hudgeons (3200), Maggie Kauk (long jump) and its 4 X 400 relay. Eudora had a pair off silver medalists in Chloe Thakker (high jump) and its 4 X 800 relay.
Andale's excitement in the girls team race was tempered, however, by heartbreak for the boys' team. Andale's boys also had been favored to capture a team title.
But midway through Thursday afternoon, Louisburg's Tom Koontz went to work. First, he won the 110 hurdles, ran a leg on the runner-up 4 X 100 relay and finished second in the 300 hurdles - the latter of which put his team into the lead for the first time all day. And Luke Faulkner bit into Andale's dominance in the pole vault, finishing second (14-6).
The score at that point in the meet was Louisburg 68.5, Andale 66 with three events to go. Andale seemed to get the lead back when 800 meter runner Zach Winter placed fourth, but Louisburg countered that finish when Jaden Vohs - seeded 14th going into the event - placed sixth overall.
It meant that Louisburg held a slim lead of 71.5 to 71 over Andale heading into the last event of the day - the 4 X 400 relay. Louisburg, though, was too good on this day; the squad jumped out to the lead after one leg, held on for second through three legs, and ultimately finished third. Andale finished in seventh.
Final score: Louisburg 77.5, Andale 73.
Buhler finished third in the 4A boys team standings with 53 points.
In class 3A, Southeast of Saline's boys and Smoky Valley's girls rolled to lopsided victories.
Dylan Sprecker, who has been on fire during the month of May, won the 800 (1:55.34), 1600 (4:17.74) and ran a leg on Southeast of Saline's winning 4 X 800 relay (8:12.86). He also anchored the runner-up 4 X 400 relay, which missed the state title by about three-tenths of a second. Teammate Chase Poague won the 110 hurdles (14.93) and 300 hurdles (39.38) and also ran on the 4 X 400 relay.
Girard got state titles from Aiden Damman in the 400 (50.31) and Cormick Logue in the 3200 (9:34.98). Logue was also the runner-up in the 1600 (4:28.51) and Gabe Muia was runner-up in the long jump (22-11.75). Perry LeCompton's Hunter Hess was runner-up in the 200 (22.16) and 400 (50.80) and ran a leg on his team's state-winning 4 X 100 relay (43.43).
Smoky Valley senior Belle Peters won state titles in the pole vault (11-6), 100 hurdles (14.78) and 200 (25.94), and placed third in the 100 (12.48), as her team racked up 85 points.
Smoky Valley's Gracie Lambert also won the 800 (2:18.75), and she ran a leg on the winning 4 X 400 (4:03.72) and 4 X 800 (9:48.99) relays.
Chapman's Taylor Briggs completed a 10-0 record in state championship meets when she swept the class 4A girls 1600 (5:01.75) and 3200 (11:00.93). The senior may have been grooming her heir apparent in the division: freshman teammate Elyssa Frieze placed second in the 1600 (5:07.38) and third in the 800 (2:24.11).
Another senior who went out in a big way was Rossville's Woodrow Rezac, who was the state runner-up in the 100 (10.74), then won the 200 (22.15) in the last race of his high school career. Rezac's win in the 200 was a photo finish; the digital cameras picked him up at 22.148, while Perry LeCompton's Hunter Hess was timed at 22.152 - a difference of three-thousandths of a second.
Ames Burton of Riley County won two state titles in her farewell to Kansas high school competition. First, she took the shot put with a throw of 41-3.5, then about an hour later, she was crowned state champion in the discus (147-2).
You've already read about the Fairchild sisters from Andale who helped lead their school's dominating win in the class 4A girls team race. But there were some other family celebrations during Friday's 3A/4A state championships.
Here's a few that I knew about:
* Loren Faurot of Scott Community won the 3A boys pole vault, taking over the title from his brother, Marshall, who won the same event in 2019. Loren cleared 14-0 to win the 2021 title.
* Siblings Hayley Trotter and Zach Trotter of Clearwater won class 4A 800 meter state titles. Hayley won the girls race in 2:18.84 and Zach powered through the homestretch of the boys' race to win in 1:57.27.
* Brothers Cameron Campbell (11.03) and Diante Campbell (11.08) placed 2-3 in the 100 meter finals, and each ran a leg on Buhler's third place 4 X 100 relay (43.76). Diante also was sixth (22.91) and Cameron seventh (22.98) in the 200. Both left the state meet with three medals.