Kansas Meet of the Week: Shawnee Mission South Relays

Meet of the Week: Shawnee Mission South Relays

     Below, I will cover the fast times, far throws, and top jumps from this past weekend at the Shawnee Mission South Relays.



 On the boys' side, the distance events were the highlight of the meet. A total of eight Kansans ran the 3200m in 9:40 or faster. This was an exciting race as Clay Shively broke the forty-five-year-old Kansas 2-mile record with a time of 8:44.29 (8:41.29 for 3200m). The eight athletes who broke 9:40 are also the fastest eight in the state this year. The other seven athletes under 9:40 include Max Larson (9:16.24), Parker Walion (9:19.73), Gunnar Hornung (9:23.61), Andrew Schumacher (9:26.85), Palmer O'Connor (9:30.88), Dylan Plath (9:31.98), and Canyon Buehler (9:36.17). What an amazing week it was for the boys' 3200m. It's exciting to see how much faster and the growth of depth we'll see in this event throughout the season.

     The 1600m was also very exciting as we have a new state leader, Conner Doherty, with a time of 4:16.73. I briefly wrote about Doherty's significant improvement from last season to this season in week 2's recap. He held a PR of 4:30.44 going into this race and came out 14 seconds faster in just his season opener. Junior Caleb Tofteland also had an outstanding 1600m race. He finished fifth in the race but was the second Kansan to cross the line. Tofteland opens up his season with a PR of 4:21.71, improving two seconds from his previous season's PR. When looking at his consistent progression through past seasons, he is on track to cut down his time and break 4:20 this season. Six other athletes dipped under 4:30, including Noah Summers (4:23.34), Crew Buehler (4:23.52), Jacob Hobson (4:26.64), Brock Olsen (4:29.57), Jack Broghammer (4:29.57), and Michael Knaussman (4:29.95).

     Last but not least of the distance events at the Shawnee Mission South Relays was the 800m. Three Kansas athletes went sub-2, and we have a new state leader, Noah Summers (Off White Singlet, Lane 1). Summers battled all the way to the line to collect his PR of 1:56.44. He had a season opener that he should be proud of, after collecting a PR in the 1600m with a 4:23.34, he came back two hours later and ran this state-leading 800m. Number two in the state, Francisco Juarez (White singlet, lane 2) , finished about two tenths of a second behind Noah Summers with a PR performance of 1:56.63. Juarez is a fantastic runner, whom I mentioned in week 2's recap for his extreme progress in the 800m. Before this race, he had never broken two minutes in this event. The final Kansan runner to break two minutes in this event was Cody Hammond with a time of 1:59.79. Hammond made his name known after his second-place performance in the 2a State Championship 800m race last year. He has some catching up to do to reach his 1:56.29 PR, but after seeing his progression last season, there's not a doubt in my mind that he will do so. Hammond opened up last season in 2:12.81 and finished with his 1:56.28 PR at last year's State Championship.

     Blue Valley Southwest's pole vault squad brought their A-game at the Shawnee Mission South Relays. Leading their squad of three at this meet was Gabe Heck with a strong performance of 15-3. Gabe Heck's vault shot him up to second in the state behind University of Kansas commit Bryce Barkdull. Second of Blue Valley's pole vault squad is sophomore Dylan Cross. Cross brought home a PR of 14-6, showing significant improvement from this time last year. This season opener is a great indicator of a successful season ahead. The final pole vaulter from Blue Valley Southwest is Carson Ratzlaff with a vault of 14-6. Carson is a quality vaulter who has placed in the top five at the Kansas 5a State Championship two years in a row.


     Aurora Wessel dominated the 100mh event with a time of 14.61 at her home meet. She has shown significant improvement during her time at Shawnee Mission South, and entering this season, she was considered a top returner. During the last outdoor season, she earned a third-place finish at the 6A State Championships with a then 15.38pr . Wessel has transformed into a whole new athlete this season, leading the state with her 14.61 performance at the Shawnee Mission South Relays, an improvement from her season opener of 14.70 just a week prior. She is an exciting athlete with immense potential for a successful championship season ahead.

     The girls' 1600m race was just as thrilling as the boys'. Three Kansan girls achieved times under 5:15, placing them top ten in the state so far this year. These three standout runners are Bree Newport (5:08.25), Liz Browning (5:12.34), and Amy Gotfredson (5:14.40).

     Olathe West showcased their impressive depth in this event, with Bree Newport and Liz Browning finishing first and second. Kate Miller , another talented runner from Olathe West, claimed the fifth position with a time of 5:24.27.

     During last season's Cross Country State Championship, I had the opportunity to interview the entire Olathe West team. One recurring theme they emphasized was the significance of maintaining a confident mentality. I believe this mindset is a key factor contributing to their elite depth in distance events.

     Another duo sets the track on fire, with Delia Gregory  (55.83) and Audrey Brown (57.39) representing Blue Valley North High School in the 400m. Following their commanding performance, Gregory claimed the top spot in the state rankings, while her teammate Brown secured second place. It's remarkable to witness such synergy between teammates, both of whom are juniors and have the remainder of this season and the next to further develop as athletes. Having faced elite competition in State Championships and top AAU events, they're poised to shine again this year, with even faster times. Keep a close watch on the duo from Blue Valley North throughout the Kansas Outdoor Track & Field Season.

     Moving on to a field event, Addie Cline of Olathe West achieved a PR of 40-4 in shot put. This marks her second consecutive shot put victory this season. Prior to this outdoor season, she had only won one shot put event. It's thrilling to witness her continuous improvement, especially considering she has yet to claim a state championship title. Despite this, she has secured three regional championship victories in both shot put and discus. This may be the year that Cline adds a state championship to her resume.