Speed dominates at Pre-State Challenge

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If you ventured over to Wichita late last week for the Pre-State Challenge at Wichita State University, you may not have had much fun sitting in the stands.

But on the track…it was rockin'. The same wind that may have made things a bit testy for spectators pushed times way low in the short sprints.

Kalli Anderson of Newton ran a wind-aided 11.58 to win the girls 100, shaving nearly four-tenths of a second off her season best. Even though it's wind-aided, it is listed currently as the 13th best time run in the United States this season -- wind-aided or not.

And Wichita Southeast's Ollie McGee continues to put down his claim to the fastest high schooler in Kansas. On Friday, he clocked a wind-aided 10.56 to beat a stellar field at the Pre-State Challenge. The time falls at No. 70 in the United States for the 2018 season.

McGee led a wave of eight Kansas runners who all ran faster than 11.0 in the finals of the 100.

One of them who didn't join that party was class 6A defending champion Phillip Landrum, who instead ran the 200 and 400 at the meet. The Wichita South star won the 400 in perhaps the most thrilling race of the day, edging Liberal's Dusty Torres by three one-thousandth of a second.

Both got times of 49.29, but FinishLynx actually had Landrum at a state-leading 49.284 and Torres a razor-close second at 49.287.

Shane Quinlan of Perry-Lecompton also broke 50 in the quarter, finishing third in 49.75.

The girls 400 was a nailbiter, as well. Tianna Holmes of Moore, Okla. outdueled Kansas' class 6A state champion Christal Mosley. Holmes was timed in 55.81 to Mosley's 56.59, which was about a second off the time Mosley ran to win the state title on this same track nearly a year ago (55.50).

McGee and Landrum did square off in the 200, and McGee won the showdown, winning 22.10 to Landrum's 22.19. Newton's Anderson won the girls 200 in 24.93, edging Mosley (25.14).

A couple of state leaders came out of the boys' hurdling events. Tyler Watts of Caney Valley ran the best time in Kansas this season, winning the 110 hurdles in 14.25. And Hutchinson's Tayezhan Crough won the 300 hurdles in 39.38.

A couple of stars from smaller schools won the girls' hurdling events. Rachel Miller of Lakeside clocked 14.66 to beat Newton's Maggie Remsberg in the 100 hurdles; and Layne Needham of Cheney won the 300 hurdles in 45.87, just ahead of Andale's Abby Smarsh (46.25).

In the field events, Shawnee Heights' Michael Hoffer recorded the fourth-best high jump in the United States, clearing 7-0.25 to win the boys' crown. It's the first time Hoffer has cleared 7-0 outdoors, though he previously had cleared that height during the indoor season.

Hoffer also won the long jump, an event where he also has the No. 4 mark in the country (23-8). On Friday, he won the Pre-State Challenge with a leap of 22-11.

The pole vault provided high drama. Three athletes cleared 14-5.25, but Peyton Lane of Clay Center got the win based on fewer misses. Ethan Hull of Bishop Carroll and Chandler Heid of Caney Valley finished second and third. Nine vaulters cleared 13-5 or better in the competition.

Sam Hankins of Manhattan was his team's sole representative and he didn't disappoint. He's the No. 3 ranked javelin thrower in the country right now (210-11), and he threw darn near that distance on Thursday, winning with a toss of 209-7. On Friday, Hankins won the Manhattan Invitational with a throw of 209-2.

Fans had a chance to see another of the nation's best throwers at the Pre-State Challenge. Patrick Larrison of Moore, Okla. rose to the No. 1 U.S. ranking in the discus with a throw of 196-9 -- his previous best of 191-9 had him at No. 5 entering the meet.

Larrison also is No. 5 in the country in the shot put at 64-11. On Friday, he won the meet with a toss of 64-9.25.

Also in the discus, Winfield's Matthew Everett placed second with a throw of 181-2, which sits as the best mark in Kansas right now. And Hillsboro's Wesley Shaw was third at 171-4, currently No. 4 in Kansas.

Some highlights from other meets this past week:

Jock's Nitch/PSU Gorilla Relays (Pittsburg)

McKenzie Wilks of Pittsburg became the first Kansas girl to break 5:00 in the 1600 this season, winning on Friday with a time of 4:58.62. She also is the first Kansas girl to break 2:20 in the 800, winning that event in 2:17.20.

Camryn Huggans of Campus had the second best throw by a Kansas athlete this season, winning the javelin with a mark of 143-8. It's a career-best for Huggans, who was the state runner-up in class 6A last season.

Nathan Jones of Maize ran a nifty double. He placed second in the 1600 (4:25.74, the best time by a Kansas runner this season and Jones' career-best in the event), and then won the 3200 in another career-best time of 9:35.12. Teammate Kael Ecord was right on Jones' heels in the 1600, placing third in 4:26.02.

Redmen Relays (Smith Center)

Beloit's Sydney Johnson pushed her state-best throw in the shot put to 44-10, about four feet better than anyone else in the state. The throw also puts her at No. 16 in the U.S. rankings. Johnson also won the discus with an outstanding throw of 150-0, good for the 20th best throw in the country this year.

Manhattan Invitational

The class 6A defending state champions Junction City's girls had their full allotment of stars on display, and they didn't disappoint. Junior Kiena Newman, the defending state champ in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, won both of those events in 15.52 and 48.83. Senior Lyric Holman won the 100 (12.61), 200 (25.66) and 400 (1:01.07).

Manhattan's Clyde King, Jr., a transfer from Junction City this season, ran a state-best 22.00 to win the 200 meters. He also won the 100 in a time of 11.10. Cooper Schroeder of Manhattan clocked a career-best time of 9:40.70 to win the 3200 meter run.

Anderson County Invitational (Garnett)

Isabelle Holtzen of Louisburg cleared 11-6 in the pole vault to nab the second best mark in Kansas' class 4A division this year.

Smoky Valley Invitational (Lindsborg)

Marshall Faurot of Scott Community cleared 15-0 to win the pole vault, and tie for the No. 1 mark in Kansas this season. Jessica Williams of Concordia also did well in the pole vault, winning that event at 11-6 -- the third best mark in Kansas so far this season.

In the discus, Marion's Tyler Palic -- the class 3A defending state champ in the event -- moved to No. 3 in Kansas this season with a career-best throw of 177-0.5.

Mid-Season Meet (Shawnee Mission South)

Shawnee Mission Northwest's Abigail Kelly-Salo pushed her state-leading mark to 12-2 in winning the pole vault. And in the javelin, a great battle took place between two Gardner-Edgerton throwers: Kennedy Comstock eventually took the win with a throw of 124-6, while Brenna Davidson was second at 124-2.

The meet was shortened due to weather.

Rolla Invitational

Alexandra Hart of Rolla took over the state lead in the girls high jump, clearing 5-9 at her team's home invitational. She took over the No. 1 spot in Kansas from Shelby Ohlde of Linn, who again cleared 5-8 in winning the Frankfort Invitational this past week.

Other top performances…

Hadley Splechter of Yates Center broke 2:00 in the 800 for the first time in his career, winning his home meet in 1:59.76. Splechter then turned around later in the week and won the 1600 and 3200 at the Pre-State Challenge in Wichita.

Kayla Kurtz of Baldwin moved into the top five in Kansas, throwing the javelin 137-0 to win the Baker University High School Relays.

Halle Johnson of Bennington felt right at home on the track where she won three state titles in class 2A a year ago. At the Pre-State Challenge, Johnson anchored Bennington's 4 X 800 relay to victory in the 1A-3A division, and later won the open 1600 over Mill Valley's Morgan Koca.

Up Next: Kansas Relays

One of the Midwest's premier events takes place this week, with high school events planned for Friday and Saturday at the Kansas Relays, held in the world-class Rock Chalk Park. For information on that event, visit KansasRelays.com.