The team titles at this year's Kansas class 3A state track
and field championships will likely provide a contrast of emotions.
On one hand, the boys' title seems to be as certain a bet as
one could get. Scott Community is this division's powerhouse and perhaps the only
question is whether that team will top 100 points at this year's meet.
But the girls' division is the polar opposite. Heading into
this week's championships, it appears that four teams have separated themselves
from the pack, and which one will take home the big gold trophy is anyone's
guess. The four teams could be separated by just a few points at the end of the
Beloit is certainly among those contenders in the girls
division, largely because you can pretty much bank on 20 points from senior
standout Sydney Johnson. She is Kansas' best in the shot put and discus, where
her season bests of 156-8 in the discus and 44-10 in the shot put have her
sitting at No. 17 and No. 60 in the United States right now.
Sophomore Hannah Burks, who won the class 3A cross country
state title last fall, is ranked No. 1 in the 3200 and No. 2 in the 1600, while
her twin sister - Hayley Burks - is also among the contenders in the 3200.
Junior Sydney Barrett is a top five contender in the javelin.
The team that has emerged during the 2017 season, however,
is Wellsville, which could have a slight edge over the other contenders. Junior
Paige McDaniel is a top-three contender in the 800 and 1600 - and in fact
has the top time in class 3A this year in the 800. However, she did not run the 400 at regionals, an event in which she won the state championship last year. It's like a gamble that the added rest will pay off for her in the two longer events.
Wellsville senior Syd Dwyer is a top
three contender in the long jump while senior Grace Newhouse could score big in
the shot put and javelin. Wellsville has excellent relays in the 4 X 400 and 4
Norton Community will be in the mix, largely on its strength
in the distance events and relays. Freshman Hannah Bailey and sophomore Lexi Kats will hold down the distance events. Sophomore Slayten Braun is a top three
contender in the 100, and in the 200, Allison Engelbert, Braun and Kara Frack posted a 1-2-3 finish at regionals.
Cheney's Layne Needham is likely to keep her team in the
race for the title. She's ranked No. 1 in class 3A in the 100 hurdles, 300
hurdles and 200, and No. 6 in the 100. That's a busy day, but if she can pull
it off, her team could make the podium. Cheney also has a strong contender in
senior Kadie Smith, who will compete in the javelin and shot put.
In individual events, a great battle is looming in the 110
hurdles between Needham and two others who have posted identical season-bests
of 15.27. Defending champion Taya Wilson of Sterling and Sophie Francis of
Chaparral will make that race one of the highlights of the class 3A meet.
Wilson is also a top contender in the 300 hurdles.
Elizabeth Kettler of Hiawatha has won a pair of thrilling finish line
battles to win the 3200 meters the past two years, and the junior will try to
make it three straight this year.
Talissa Stone of Perry-Lecompton has the top girls high jump
mark in class 3A, at 5-4, but six others have cleared 5-2 or better this
season. That event should provide its share of drama, as well.
And in the girls javelin, look for a good battle between
Sarah Bond of Mission Valley and Jacy Dalinghaus of Nemaha Central. Both have
thrown just over 140 feet this season.
In boys class 3A, Scott Community's Marshall Faurot just may
be the X Factor that puts his team well ahead of anybody else in the division.
He's ranked No. 1 in Kansas in the pole vault, having cleared 16-0 this season,
but also has cleared 6-6 in the high jump (No. 2 in class 3A), and is a top
three medal contender in the 110 hurdles.
Scott Community also has the division's top times in all
In the 800, junior Wyatt Hayes and sophomore Kaden Wren
could pull off a 1-2 finish, while Wren and Adrian Ruelas could be in the top 5
in the 400. Loren Faurot, the freshman brother of Marshall, is a top-three
contender in the pole vault.
All that star power probably has the rest of the class 3A
boys division fighting it out for second place. The top contenders for the
podium include Garden Plain, Colby, Kingman and Perry-Lecompton.
Garden Plain has three athletes - and seniors -- who are
ranked No. 1 in class 3A in their respective events, including Nick Dooley
(discus), Sam Thimmesch (shot put), and Jared Becker (300 hurdles). Becker is
also a threat to win the 110 hurdles, and Dooley could be in the top 5 in the
Colby's Jordan Schippers leads his team's chances. He's the
top-ranked 200 meter runner in class 3A, but could also win the 100. He's
currently at No. 6 in class 3A in the 400.
Kingman's hopes for state hardware rest on its distance
crew. Junior Owen Pearce, the defending champion in the 3200, is ranked No. 1
in the 1600 and 3200, while junior teammate Teagan Flanagan has a legitimate
shot to make it a 1-2 finish in both events for the Kingman duo.
Shane Quinlan of Perry-Lecompton, a junior, is No. 1 in the
class 3A 400, and a top-3 contender in the 200. Perry-Lecompton also has strong
relays, and could finish in the top 3 in all three of them.
Among individuals, Sterling freshman Tyus Wilson recently
cleared 7-0 to make him the No. 1 ranked freshman high jumper in the United
States this season. He is also No. 8 overall in the country, and No. 2 in
Kansas, and has jumped six inches higher than anyone else in class 3A.
Christopher Ball of Hoisington cleared 14-6 in the pole vault to beat the Faurot brothers of Scott Community at regionals. Expect Ball to place high and possibly even duplicate his victory over the Faurot brothers at state.
And Caney senior Tyler Watts is as good as any in Kansas in
the 110 hurdles. He's won 17 of 23 high school races that he's run the past
three years, and is the defending class 3A state champion in the event. His
only defeat this season has been at the Kansas Relays, where he placed second.
Class 3A girls returning state
hurdles -- Taya Wilson, Sterling
400 -- Paige McDaniel, Wellsville
Elizabeth Kettler, Hiawatha
vault -- Grace Stohs, Marysville
-- Jacy Dalinghaus, Nemaha Central
Team - Nemaha
Class 3A boys returning state
hurdles -- Tyler Watts, Caney Valley
hurdles -- Jace Ruder, Norton Community
Robert 'Owen' Pearce, Kingman
-- Tyler Palic, Marion*
-- Carter Swindale, Osage City
* Marion has moved to class 2A for the 2018 track and field season.