1A is notoriously unpredictable in Track & Field. Sometimes, it looks like a team is heavy favorites early on, and by the end of the year, Hanover ends up winning again. One way I like to look for depth in 1A is success in other sports. This year's top contenders seem to have the "it" factor: whether that's a championship culture or just having the right athletes, by the time track season rolls around, odds are those kids have already won a championship earlier in the year.
For the boys, Axtell's football championship stands out. For the girls, Hanover came within 2 points of winning a volleyball title. Both teams have basketball title aspirations, each heading into State this week with the #2 seed. In 1A, it's all about culture.
In track, though, team scores aren't everything. Individual events each have their own battles and are fun to watch on their own.
Team Rankings | Results | Individual Rankings
In the sprints last year, Addi Heinson completed a sweep of the 100, 200, & 400. With her graduation, opportunity arises for the rest of the class. Hanover's Anna Jueneman looks to step into the 200 & 400, while Victoria's Macy Hammerschmidt looks to claim the 100 after a near-miss by .01 last year.
For the boys, it's all about Bryson Turner of Madison. He won the 100 & 200 last year. He hasn't competed in the 400 since middle school, but if his 56-second mark from 8th grade is any indication, he'd be in the mix to win that, too. Sitting behind Turner is Osborne's Mason Schurr. A fantastic sprinter in his own right, Shurr will look to take down the king in Wichita.
Bryson Turner is also a jumper, finishing 3rd in both the long and triple last year. Pawnee Heights' Alec Carlson is his main competition in the jumps. He is the top returner in the High & Triple, and is 2nd in the Long to Turner. Dighton's Max Neeley returns as the pole valut champion.
For the girls, it's Landry Zoeller at the top for Blue Valley. She was the triple jump champ last year, and brings with it a great long jump. Hammerschmidt from Victoria will be a factor in the long jump as well, as she's the defending champ in that event. High jump is anyone's guess. Everyone comes back from last year's cluster of jumpers at 5' 4", where Raegan Becker of Centralia came out on top. Marley Little of Kiowa County is the clear leader in the pole vault.
Of the 24 medals handed out in the boys throws last year, 19 were to seniors. With so many graduates, including big-name Casey Helm, the throws are wide open. Lakin Getz of Quinter and Braxton Lafferty of Little River are the returning medallist in the javelin. Leoti's Simon Medina and Brewster's Brock Woof are back in the shot put, and Woof is the lone returning medalist in the discus.
On the girls' side, four of the top five return in each of the throws, and there are no repeats. Lebo's Brooklyn Jones (Javelin), Thunder Ridge's Toree Slavik (Discus), and Wallace County's Ja'Asia Stafford (Shot) will all look to defend their 2022 titles.
Elle Williams is the notable graduate from last year, winning the 800 and 1600. Madison Sutterfield is also absent with Meade moving to 2A. Kylie Stapleton, second a year ago for South Gray, leads the way in the 800, while Emma Weiner (Golden Plains) and Madison Butler (Macksville) will battle it out for the 1600 and 3200. Weiner has been a terror on the XC course, so she'll be the early favorite.
On the boys side, things are similar, with Corbin Ricke graduating and Logan Keith going to 2A with Meade. Brenden Ellis, the XC champ from Ingalls, will be a factor in the 1600 and 3200, while Grady Buessing from Axtell will headline in the 800 and 1600.
Keiondra Smith, the senior from Caldwell, will be the star of the hurdles show in 1A. The defending champ in both events will be tough to beat. Ingalls' Will Ast will be his biggest challenger.
Hanover's Ceegan Atkins will look to take over in the girls' hurdles. She is the top returner in both events, ahead of rival Addy Goeckel of Washington County.
Hanover's girls return major relay strength from dominant teams in both the 4x100 and 4x400. Look for challenges from Frankfort & Little River in the 4x100, who bring back all 4 from scoring teams. Washington County's 4x400 will all return from their runner-up finish. Several teams bring back their entire 4x800 squads, including XC power Quinter.
Lots of boys 4x100s were senior-loaded in 2022. Goessel is the only state finalist that returns 3 of 4. Kinsley brings back a full silver-medal 4x400 team. Quinter brings back 3 of 4 from their 4x400 bronze-medal team. Quinter & Axtell will be favorites in the 4x800.