Meet Recap: 2023 Kansas Relays


The 100th Anniversary Edition of the Kansas Relays showcased the best the state has to offer this past weekend. Thursday's college distance carnival produced minimal flashy results with 40+ mile per hour winds, but Friday & Saturday both lived up to the hype of the biggest regular-season meet of the year. Unfortunately, nobody got to run a 4x400 due to weather on both days, but the rest of the meet went along smoothly.

The fireworks started on Friday morning with the 4x1600m relay. Liberty North's boys stacked the relay with Sean Forquer, Sage Wilde, Asher Curp, and Grayson Tapp. It was a battle for nearly all 16 laps with Missouri rival Rock Bridge, but Liberty North came out on top in meet record time: 17:47.

In the 100m prelims, 8th grade sensation Aria Pearce took on the college field and had the fastest preliminary time of 11.50. The time stacks up as the 2nd fastest in United States middle school history, and 2nd in Kansas high school history. She went on to qualify for finals in the 200 on Friday afternoon, clocking the 2nd fastest prelim time of 23.79. On Saturday, several athletes opted out of the finals, fearing muscle injuries in the colder weather. Not Pearce, however, who finished 2nd in the 100 and 1st in the 200.

Final Kansas Relays Results

The boys' pole vault was another Friday morning highlight. The field was loaded, with 9 athletes clearing 14-5.25, six of them Kansans. At 15-5, just the top four seeds remained. Each missed on the first attempt, but Gardner-Edgerton's Pierson Carlisle managed to clear the bar on attempt #2. As the next three missed the bar, the pressure was on for the third attempt. Andrew Kirby of Olathe East was the next over the bar, then Andover Central's Bryce Barkdull. Last to go was top-seeded Grayson Smith of Webb City, MO. When he knocked the bar off on that final attempt, it sealed the Kansas sweep. None were able to clear the next height of 16-2.25, so Carlisle won with the least missed attempts.

On the infield for the girls' javelin, we had a bit of an upset. Jennifer Hinkle of Knox County, MO outright dominated the competition. She had a 3-foot lead after the preliminary round, and extended her lead in the finals. Andale star and top seed Mckenzie Fairchild closed the gap a little on her first throw of finals, but her two fouls to finish the event sealed the victory for Hinkle, who ended up putting all six throws ahead of everyone else's best. Her best throw of 158-5 moves her from 8th to 3rd in the country this year, pushing Fairchild to 4th.

In the boys' discus, 5 of the nation's top-10 were present. Caiden Fredrick of Papillion-LaVista South, NE took the lead on the first throw and never relinquished it, winning with 193-8. Lansing's Jamale Williams battled into 2nd place on throw #3 (191-10) and held position through finals. Olathe South's Jordan Allen was in third after 5 throws, but a major PR by Nixa's Jackson Cantwell (191-4) pushed him into 4th.

Beloit's Grady Seyfert, #5 in the nation heading into the meet, was the first one to miss finals. Beloit didn't come away empty-handed, though, with Tatum Seyfert taking 2nd in both the shot put and discus.

National Boys Shot Put Rankings    |    National Girls Javelin Rankings

The distance events were all fun to watch. Katelyn Rupe (Salina Central) led the first mile of the 3200m, but Paige Mullen (Shawnee Mission NW) made a move at the halfway mark to spread out the field. Rupe retook the lead within the next lap, but Mullen's kick in the final 250m was ferocious, winning the event by six-seconds in 10:50. The boys' edition was close early, but Henry Born (Shawnee Mission NW) was clearly the best runner. He and elite wheelchair athlete Grant Pierce (Wichita Heights) battled until the bell, where Pierce unleashed a 62-second lap to finish in 9:17. Born finished with a 9:22.

The 300 hurdles was a clinic by Josh & Jason Parrish from Olathe North. They went 1-2 (Jason first) in the fastest heat, separated by just 0.08 seconds. Each now hold top-40 times in the nation despite starting into a headwind. In the 110 hurdles, both brothers made finals, with Josh placing 2nd and Jason in 3rd. Josh also finished 2nd in the long jump, and the pair were both on Olathe North's bronze-medal 4x100.

Speaking of the wind, it unfortunately kept Wichita Trinity from challenging the DMR meet record of 10:19, but that didn't stop anchor-leg Clay Shively from making a huge comeback, overcoming an 11-second gap from 6th to 1st in just the first two laps, and cruising to a win. A couple hours later, the Trinity standout found himself in contention for a different record: The 800m. He led through 400m at 56.3, but he wasn't separated from the pack. Shively & Shawnee Mission East's Wyatt Haughton blitzed the second lap, though. Typically the second lap of an 800 is a second or two slower than the first, but Haughton went nearly 1.5 seconds faster on lap 2, clocking 54.9 to win in 1:51.42. Shively posted a similar negative split, battling all the way to the finish in 1:51.94. Haughton ended up breaking the meet record by less than 0.1 seconds, previously held by Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano.

Clay Shively & Wyatt Haughton celebrate their historic 800m race
(Photo by J Hobson)

On Saturday's college edition of the 800m, KU alumni and professional athlete Bryce Hoppel powered his way to victory in 1:50. It was a quality comeback after being tripped with just 550m to go in the 1500m.

Also in the college events, KU's Dimitrios Pavlidis won the discus with a 212-11, which was a national record for his home country of Greece. Additionally, the women's javelin was won by unattached athlete Maggie Malone in 194-7, the farthest throw in the United States this year.

In Saturday's 400m final, Alex Alex Waldie of St Thomas Aquinas & Nen Matlock of Mill Valley were neck-and-neck down the homestretch. Waldie had the edge at the line, finishing in 48.67 to Matlock's 48.73. Mt. Ayr, IA junor Ryce Reynolds closed hard in the last 30m, but settled for the bronze medal. On the girls' side, Zaya Akins of Raytown South, MO broke the meet record in both the prelims and finals, finishing in 53.56.

Kansas Relays Records

The girls' high jump was moved inside due to weather, but plenty of girls showed off at the Anchutz Pavilion. From Kansas, both Kaitlyn Otroszko (Olathe South) and Paige Platt (Lawrence) cleared 5-5 for the state lead. Otroszko took 2nd on misses, while Summit Christian, MO's April Phillips took 1st.

In the finals of our short-distance events, Annalisa Cullens of Hutchinson had one of the most explosive starts I've ever seen live in the girls' 100m hurdles. She had over a full stride lead over the first hurdle and used it to hold off a surging McKinlee Walker from Andover late in the race. Cullens also finished 3rd in the 300m hurdles. In the boys' 100m dash, Pleasanton's Isaiah Bates brought home the gold medal, exploding to a 10.41 in the final.

Chesney Peterson dismantles the 800m field at KU (Photo by J Hobson)

In the last high school event before the storm, Chesney Peterson led wire-to-wire in the 1600 to claim her second gold medal of the weekend in 4:56. She also won a tough 800m race on Friday night in 2:14. Paige Mullen was second in the 1600 at 5:00, showing some strength after being further back in the pack early on. The boys' side was interesting, with the fast heat going out slower than the second-fastest. Sam Boyer of Heritage, MO led for 3 laps, and then Wyatt Haughton took over with a 56-second final lap to dust the field in 4:18. Parker Walion of Gardner-Edgerton closed well, too, moving up to 2nd place at 4:21.

Outstanding Relay and Kansas Cup scores have yet to be announced. Traditionally, the Kansas Relays will score the Kansas teams in high school relay events to award the Kansas Cup. When those are calculated, we will update this page with winning teams & points.