Meet of the Week: Kansas Relays

After 4 long years, the Kansas Relays have returned. This year celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the first Kansas Relays in 1923. A key meet for athletes across Kansas and the KC Metro, the competition doesn't get any better than this. Accepted entries have already been posted (see links below), and boy is this going to be a fun one.

High School Entries    |    College Entries

It would be impossible to mention the clash of titans in every event, but just know that even if it's not mentioned here, several of the top-10 Kansas athletes will be competing in each and every event.

The meet kicks off with the 4xMile relay. Relays can be rearranged on short notice, but at the moment it looks like Eudora's girls and Liberty North's boys have loaded up on this one.

Kansas javelin throwers are always the best in the country, and the boys favorites in 3A-6A are all here: Landon Boss (Osage City), Riley Marx (Andale), Jackson Daniel (Kapaun Mt Carmel), and Kyle Souders (Olathe Northwest). For the girls, 4A-6A favorites Mckenzie Fairchild (Andale), Brenna Lynn (Basehor-Linwood) and Val Galligan (Olathe Northwest) will all go head-to-head.

The boys 400m features heavy-hitters in Kingman's Avery Albright, St Thomas Aquinas' Alex Waldie, and Mill Valley's Nen Matlock.

Wyatt Haughton of Shawnee Mission East and Clay Shively of Wichita Trinity, widely known as the state's two best distance runners, are both entered into the 800m run. The 6A and 3A favorites will meet 4A's best in Eli Gilmore (Tonganoxie), 2A's Best in Jonah Godina (Hutch-Trinity), and 5A superstar Alex Waldie of Aquinas.

Along with that, Shively and Wichita Trinity appear to have stacked their Distance Medley Relay. The small private school may be attempting to take down one of the oldest Kansas Relays records, a 10:19 by Shawnee Mission South clear back in 1979.

The anchor leg for that record? Brent Steiner, the only man that currently stands between Shively and the all-time Kansas 3200 record. Now, he has the chance to challenge another of Steiner's long-standing records.

That one seems personal.

Fans of professional track & field may also be interested in the 800, with Team USA's Bryce Hoppel, former Kansas Jayhawk, returning to run in the college division. Hoppel is also scheduled to compete in the 1500.

In the girls' distance events, the 1600 is the one to watch. This one features 17 of the top 19 marks in the state this season. That includes four state champions: Chesney Peterson, Bree Allen, Paige Mullen, and Katelyn Rupe.

While the Relays are typically a difficult meet to get accepted into for most events, that is not the case for the 4x100 and 4x400. In those two events, all entries are accepted, leading to upwards of 90 schools competing. For Kansas teams, there are two heats of 4x100 and 4x400 finals: One for the top 9 schools overall and one for the next 9 fastest from the state of Kansas. This allows for the best in the state to shine regardless of outside competition, and has been known to give elite small schools the platform to show off their skills, where that may not be the case when going up against large schools from 8 states.

In those events, watch for Wamego's girls 4x400 and Wichita Collegiate's boys 4x100. Those are a pair of underdog Kansas teams that could make some noise.

On the topic of 4x100s, the college division has a team that could make a run at the NJCAA record: the Men of Butler Community College. Led by sophomore Shawn Brown, the Grizzlies likely have what it takes to run under 39 on the right day.

Meet Page    |    Information Website

Another interesting piece worth mentioning is that there is no high school 200m contested at the Kansas relays, meaning all our sprinters will either be running the open 100m or competing on relays... Likely both. That consolidates the individual sprint competition to a single event, though, and all the big names will be running the 100.

Further information on the Kansas Relays can be found at the links provided. The meet begins on Thursday evening with the College Distance Carnival. Friday consists of a full day of preliminary rounds for both high school and college divisions, along with a handful of finals in the field events, distance events, and relays. Saturday is all finals for both the high school and college athletes, running from 9AM to 3:10PM.