The 6A team races this year are more lopsided than usual. The boys' race is Olathe North's to lose. Their regional performance pushed them even further into the favorite column, while Olathe East and Shawnee Mission East didn't qualify as much as they needed to match the Eagles. For the girls, Olathe West is a substantial favorite, although Olathe Northwest is in the neighborhood. The Owls have won all year long, though, so I wouldn't expect anything different.
Individually, we have a boatload of performers to watch. A big storyline to follow is Olathe West's distance girls. The Owls are a dominant distance team, but have never won an individual title. Kate Miller, Paige Baker, Bree Newport, Kalyn Willingham... all of them will score points, and they should easily win the 4x800. Charis Robinson has the best chance of being the first individual champion. She has the top time in the 800 this season, but had the 2nd fastest time on regional weekend. Shawnee Mission Northwest's Paige Mullen will make it very difficult to win either the 1600 or 3200.
6A Girls Rankings | 6A Boys Rankings
In the sprints, Olathe North's Kaliyah Jordan is a name to know. She's had an undefeated year in the 100 & 200. The 400m could be exciting between Harli Omli of Manhattan and a rising star from Wichita Heights, Karynne David. Meanwhile, Adryana Shelby of Wichita Northwest and Olivia Cooper of Olathe Northwest will have a two-day battle across both hurdle events.
Blue Valley North has a heck of a 4x100 to watch, and they'll meet in the middle with Olathe West's distance team in the 4x400 for a mighty clash to finish the meet.
In the jumps, SM North's Rosjai Curtis continues her upward trajectory. She should compete for the 6A crown in the long and triple jumps. Meanwhile, the high jump is wide open. Free State's Reese Hulcher has the best jump of the season, but as we saw at the SM North Relays, anything can happen. In the pole vault, Mill Valley could sweep in any order. Pick your favorite between Ava Fleetwood, Libby Strathman, & Makenna Payne.
Lastly, the throws feature a remarkable Olathe Northwest squad. Val Galligan, Adrienne Locke-Garcia, and Kendall Yarnell could all be double-digit scorers for the Ravens. Jillian Huckabey could be a wild card scorer in the Javelin, too.
Lawrence Free State's Reese Hulcher leads 6A in the High Jump
(Photo by J. Hobson)
On the boys' side, Jordan Allen is the throws stud for Olathe South. He is the favorite in the shot and disc. The javelin throw will be a battle, with Dawson Kindler (Gardner-Edgerton) and Kyle Souders (Olathe-Northwest) each throwing 190 at different points this year. Last week, the top mark was Olathe West's Vincent Gaschet at 178.
The pole vault features Pierson Carlisle (Gardner-Edgerton), Ian Quarles (Olathe North) and Andrew Kirby (Olathe East), each of which have cleared 15-6 this season. Manhattan's Aaron Newcomer will seek to upset Olathe West's Elijah Hakim in the high jump. Both cleared 6-6 at regionals, but Hakim has a PR of 6-9.
Josh Parrish of Olathe North has emerged as a long & triple jump favorite. Additionally, he and his brother Jason will be must-see athletes in the hurdles. The pair may also make an appearance on the Eagle 4x100. They will be in a major battle with Manhattan, Blue Valley North, and Lawrence for what could be one of the most exciting races of the weekend. The 4x400 and 4x800 are close, too. Olathe North and Blue Valley West both broke 3:24 last weekend in the 4x400, while BV North, BV West, and Olathe South all broke 8:00 in the 4x800. Those races are anybody's guess.
In the distance events, Wyatt Haughton of Shawnee Mission East will be the star to watch. The senior Lancer hadn't pulled off the distance triple until regionals, but he handled the competition well and should have plenty of recovery between events this weekend. Depending on his preference, any of the three state records could go down.
In the sprints, Nen Matlock of Mill Valley and Manhattan's Tanner Dowling-Burnett will be battling it out in the 200 & 400. Meanwhile, Lawrence senior Tyrell Reed will look to finish a wild career with a 6A title in the 100.