Thrills galore as Kansas athletes prep for the postseason

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You could call the past week in Kansas track and field the calm before the storm -- you know, the final week for teams to get ready for the post-season triumvirate of league, regionals and state.

But if this is the "calm," then -- my, oh my -- the storm is going to be something special.

More than one-third of the division-leading marks went down in Kansas this week, including 38 new marks in the six boys' divisions, and 37 more in the girls' divisions.

Included in the carnage was a pair of performances that landed Kansas athletes among the top 15 in the United States so far this year.

Samantha Vanhoecke of Paola cleared 13-1.5 to win the pole vault at the Wellsville Invitational. The mark puts her at No. 12 in the U.S. rankings currently.

And Tyler Palic of Marion let loose with a throw of 191-11 to win the discus at the Hesston Relays, putting him at No. 14 in the country.

But a huge chunk of the state's top performances took place at the Shawnee Mission North Relays, which has quickly become one of the premier high school meets in the state.

Shawnee Mission Northwest distance standout Molly Born made her mark again, even though it's just the third race she's run all season. Born, who is easing her way back from injury that cut short her 2017 season, has run one event each of the past three weeks -- first the 3200 meters at the Kansas Relays, the 800 at the Seaman Relays, and now the 1600 on Friday at Shawnee Mission North.

She won the 1600 on Friday with a state-leading time of 4:54.51, which is also the 48th best time in the United States right now. It's the second time in her three races that Born has notched the best time in Kansas; her 10:45.70 in the 3200 two weeks ago is 10 seconds faster than the next best in Kansas this year.

Mitch Dervin of Mill Valley also lit up the track in the 1600. He won in 4:19.02 for the best time among Kansas boys this season.

The St. James Academy girls won by 20 seconds and put themselves way out ahead of the state's rankings in the 4 X 800 meter relay, winning in 9:23.16. And Brayden Soza of Schlagle smoked the field in the 200, winning in a state-leading time of 21.78.

But not all of the best performances at Shawnee Mission North landed atop the state rankings.

Leavenworth speedster Aarika Lister, in fact, was something of a show-stealer. She clocked 11.83 in the preliminaries and 11.78 in the finals to win the 100 meters. Later, she ran 24.78 in the prelims and 24.49 in the finals to win the 200.

The only Kansas times faster than Lister's winning efforts Friday have been wind-aided.

In the girls 3200 meter run, 14 girls ran faster than 12:00, led by St. James Academy's Sarah Murrow, who won in 11:01.75.

Lawrence's Evann Seratte scored a pair of impressive wins. She beat defending class 6A state 800 meter champion Sophie Scott of Blue Valley North in a mad sprint to the finish, winning in 2:18.16 to Scott's 2:18.91. Seratte also won the 400 meters (57.87) in an event that had 12 girls under 1:02.

The fields events at Shawnee Mission North included a "Who's Who" of Kansas track and field.

Maddie Righter of Olathe Northwest won the high jump at 5-7. Bailey Turner of Olathe East won the long jump at 19-3.5 (Righter was second at 18-10.5). Reygan Brown of Olathe East won the triple jump with a mark of 38-10, just ahead of Shawnee Mission East's Jessie Stindt, who leaped 38-8. And, Olathe North's Dana Baker won the javelin with a throw of 170-1, just under her career-best of 171-5 that has her sitting at No. 2 in the United States currently.

In the boys' meet, Ethan Marshall of St. Thomas Aquinas -- the class 5A state cross country champion -- won the 3200 meters in a season- and career-best of 9:26.44, leading a pack of 18 runners under 10:00.

Hayden Goodpaster of Shawnee Mission Northwest won the 200 (22.14) and 400 (48.80), while the hurdle events went to Zhanarden Vil of Shawnee Mission Northwest (110 hurdles, 14.92) and Emmanuel Okwuone of Olathe South (300 hurdles, 38.82).

Jack Durst of Shawnee Mission West jumped 6-9 in the high jump, and Lawrence's Hunter Krom threw the javelin 200-8 to highlight the field events. For Krom, his throw moved him to No. 13 in the United States, and it was the first time he has topped the 200 foot mark in his career.

Vil won the long jump (22-4.5) and triple jump (46-3.5) to go along with his win in the hurdles.

In other meets this week:

Salina Central Invitational -- Tayezhan Crough of Hutchinson swept the 110 hurdles (14.16) and 300 hurdles (38.38) and moved to the top of the class 6A rankings in both of those events. Clyde King Jr. of Manhattan edged former teammate Ian Sanchez of Junction City in the 200, clocking 21.99 to Sanchez' 22.26. Sanchez had earlier won the 100 in a good time of 10.91.

Sam Hankins of Manhattan, ranked No. 3 in the country in the javelin currently, won that event with a mark of 210-7, and Buhler's Bradon Rose was second at 188-11 -- the No. 4 throw in Kansas and No. 1 in class 4A. Brendan Webb of Buhler won the shot put with a toss of 57-1.

On the girls' side, McPherson sophomore Emma Ruddle continues to impress, winning the 100 hurdles in 14.76, beating class 6A defending state champion Kiena Newman of Junction City, who was second in 14.92. Ruddle's season best is 14.71, which is the top time in class 4A this season.

Newman rebounded to win the 300 hurdles -- an event she also won at last year's class 6A state championships -- in 47.11.

Lacora Bryant of Great Bend won the 100 in 12.29, while Christal Mosley of Wichita Southeast took the 200 in 24.69 and Lyric Holman of Junction won the 400 in 59.34.

The middle distance and distance events went to Tabetha Deines of Salina Central (800, 2:24.17), Michelle Sanchez of Junction City (1600, 5:16.49) and Hannah Nuest of Buhler (3200, 11:45.85).

Goddard Invitational -- Kindel Nordhus of Bishop Carroll put up the state's best time for girls in the 300 hurdles, winning that event in 44.64. The time puts her just outside the top 150 in the United States right now. Nordhus beat Andale's Abby Smarsh, the 2017 class 4A state champion for 300 hurdles who had earlier won the 100 hurdles in 14.99.

Isabella Hohl of Bishop Carroll swept the 100 (12.03) and 200 (26.26). Katy Commons of Andale won the javelin (135-1) and shot put (38-11).

On the boys' side, Xavier Sellers of Wichita West moved to No. 3 in Kansas in the 100 meters, winning in 10.64. Dusty Torres of Liberal was right on his heels, finishing second in 10.84. Austin Mullins of Liberal, the class 5A state runner-up for 300 hurdles last year, won that event in 38.95, but was pushed to the finish by Joseph Holthusen of Bishop Carroll (39.46) and Tyrique Chandler of Liberal (39.77).

Sam Garrison of Bishop Carroll won the shot put with a throw of 55-6, which sits as the fourth best mark in Kansas this year.


At the Joe Schrag Invitational in Topeka, Michael Hoffer of Shawnee Heights added the triple jump to his haul of state-best marks, jumping 46-3.75 to win that event. He now has the best marks in class 6A for the high jump (7-0.25), long jump (23-8) and triple jump. The high jump and long jump marks are also the best in all divisions.

Cale Carson of El Dorado lowered the state's best time in the 800 meters when he won the Circle Invitational in 1:54.99. At the same meet, Taylor McGlothlin of Wellington posted class 4A's best marks in winning the 200 (26.36) and 400 (58.91), and Paola's Elizabeth Pomatto threw a career-best to push her class 4A leading javelin mark to 150-2.

At the Cherryvale Invitational, Tyler Watts of Caney Valley continues to take on and beat all comers. He lowered his state-leading time in the 110 hurdles to 14.13 for his fifth win in six races this season. The only blemish on the senior's season was a runner-up finish at the Kansas Relays.

At the Wellsville Invitational, Carter Swindale of Osage City threw the javelin 199-5, which for a while was the second best mark in Kansas. By the end of the weekend, it still stood at No. 3 in Kansas, and No. 15 in the United States.

Drew Blake of Ellinwood grabbed a firm grip on the best 100 meter time in class 2A, winning in 10.62 at the Russell Relays. Jacob Faerber of Sacred Heart put himself on top of class 2A in the 200 (22.35) and 400 (49.88).

At the Victoria Invitational, Collin Kisner of Victoria took over the top spots in class 1A in the 200 (22.94) and 400 (51.74).

Results from many of this week's meets are available on Kansas MileSplit's results page.