You see, at the beginning of the season, the hype machine
was at full throttle for Andale's field events. We said right here in this
space that Andale's girls could take the points from just their field events
and pretty much double up any other class 4A girls team in the state.
The Andale boys, while not quite that dominant, still were
likely to ride a wave of field event dominance to the top of the podium.
Well, that pretty much still holds true, as Andale heads
into the 2019 championships as the favorite to win the girls and
boys team titles.
Senior Katelyn Fairchild is the pre-meet favorite in the
girls' javelin and discus, and teammate Jaden Eck enters this week's state meet
as the No. 1 pole vaulter in class 4A.
Andale could sweep the top three spots in the pole vault
with Eck, Jayden Cates and Aspen Liby. Samantha Marx may be Fairchild's closest
competitor in the javelin, while Jacy Anderson could be in the top three in the
Fairchild and Anderson also are likely to score in the
Between the throws and the jumps, Andale is projected to
score 70 points. Then, they have top-three ranked relays in the 4 X 100 and 4 X
400 that will boost their team total.
It looked for a while like Baldwin would be able to hang
close to Andale. Carly Lindenmeyer (long jump) and Kayla Kurtz (javelin and
shot put) stand to put up big points in those field events, and Baldwin has
some strength on the track with Lindenmeyer in the 100 hurdles and 400; Ambrynn Stewart in the 800; and their 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 relays.
But Baldwin's strength in the distances surprisingly didn't
play out as the season went along. Baldwin won the state cross country title
last fall, but from that team, only Stewart was able to qualify for the state
track and field meet in an open event.
It probably leaves Baldwin to fight it out with Circle,
Louisburg and Piper for second place.
Kimalee Cook of Circle enters state as the top sprinter in
class 4A, and could win the 100 and 200. Tori McGinnis has the division's top
time in the 100 hurdles this season, and high jumper Kayli Duncan could be in
the top five in her event. Circle is pretty good in the 4 X 100 and 4 X 400
relays, as well.
Louisburg's Delaney Wright is ranked No. 1 in the class 4A
long jump, and she also qualified in the 200 and 400. Carlee Gassman is No. 2
in the 300 hurdles, and Louisburg will field strong 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays.
Piper speedsters Ayreona Carter and Evelyn Vazquez have two
of the top three 100 meter times in class 4A this season, while Kinley Brown
and Vazquez should make the finals of the 200. Brown is ranked No. 3 in class
4A in the 400.
Andale's boys will do some damage in the field events, but
all of the top teams in class 4A boys will be loading up and throwing punches for much
of the two-day meet.
Andale's Brayden Meyer, Ty McPhail and Joseph Spexarth have
the top three marks in the pole vault, which could be a whopping 24 point event
for the squad. Others who enter this week's meet in a good position to score
points include Easton Hunter (triple jump and high jump), Alex Scott (long jump
and triple jump), Mason Fairchild (shot put and javelin), Cooper Venjohn
(discus and shot put), Carson Fair (discus), Devin Marx (discus) and Creighton Camp (shot put).
Based on pre-meet rankings, Andale could score 60 points in
the field events alone.
But Andale probably won't get a whole lot of points on the
track, so it leaves Piper and Paola with a shot at taking the team title.
Piper's Lemoses White (discus) and Cooper Beebe (shot put)
could win individual state titles, while David Holmes and Devon Marshall should
make the finals of the 100, 200 and 400. Jonathan Moon (800) and Owen Roellchen
(1600 and 3200) will hold down the longer events, and Piper's 4 X 100 relay has
the second-best time in class 4A this season.
Like Andale, Paola brings a lot of strength in field events.
Seth Richmond is the No. 1 ranked javelin thrower in class 4A, and Jeffrey Schartz sits at No. 3. Others who will likely score for Paola include Preston Martin (pole vault), Connor Hasz (long jump), Lamont Hill (triple jump) and
Rowan West (shot put).
Paola is probably the most-rounded team of the three
contenders. Carson Eilts is No. 1 in the class 4A 300 hurdles, and No. 5 in the
110 hurdles. Ryan Wokutch is No. 2 in the 200, and Chase Robbins could also
make the finals in that event. Seth Richmond could be top 5 in the 300 hurdles.
Wamego is wild card in this race. They've stayed a bit under
the radar, but the state meet could well be a coming-out party. Hurdler Steven Roudybush is one of those athletes that you haven't heard much about, but he's
a star on the rise; he could be the 110 hurdle champion in this division, and
top 3 in the 300 hurdles.
Wamego also qualified three relays to state, and have
potential point scorers in Bristol Swann (high jump), Jack Watson (400),
Marquise Cade (400 and 110 hurdles) and Brady Blanka (javelin).
Chapman's Aaron Modrow has five state medals in cross
country and track and field, but none of them are gold. He has a great chance
to add three more medals, in the 800, 1600 and 3200, where he has the top time
in class 4A this season.
Modrow's distance triple should help keep Chapman in the
team race along with 400 meter runner Shaun Blocker and the squad's 4 X 400 and
4 X 800 relays.
Some individuals to watch for in class 4A include:
For the girls, Augusta's Abbee Rhodes comes to state with
the No. 1 mark in the shot put, and No. 2 in the discus; and McKenna Kirkpatrick
of Chapman is No. 1 in the triple jump.
McPherson's Emma Ruddle is the defending state champion in
the 100 and 100 hurdles. She'll be looking to defend those two titles this
Chapman's Taylor Briggs is the pre-meet favorite in the 1600
and 3200. Briggs, a sophomore, has never lost a state meet race in cross
country or track and field, but she'll get a good test in the 1600 Saturday
against Abilene's Sydney Burton, who is also the No. 1 seed in the 800.
Also look for Sian Helfrich of Pratt in the 300 hurdles and
Summer Spigle of Ottawa in the 400.
For the guys, the division's biggest star is probably
Winfield's Matthew Everett, whose throw of 192-6 in the discus is No. 1 in
Kansas and No. 15 in the United States. Everett will also compete in the shot
put this week.
Tanner Newkirk of Hayden and Ezekiel Kemboi of El Dorado
should make the 1600 and 3200 meter races exciting. Parsons' Davonte Yates has
the top marks in 4A in the long jump and triple jump; expect a good battle
between Yates and defending state champ Nahshon Houston of Sumner Academy in the long jump.
Wellington's Eric Kop has a good shot at gold in the 110
hurdles and 300 hurdles.
Class 4A at a glance
Returning Individual State Champions
100 - Emma Ruddle, junior, McPherson
200 - Isabel Williams, sophomore, Spring Hill
800 - Sydney Burton, senior, Abilene
1600 - Taylor Briggs, sophomore, Chapman
3200 - Briggs, sophomore, Chapman
100 hurdles - Ruddle, junior, McPherson
High jump - Maddie Rivers, junior, Spring Hill
Shot put - Abbee Rhodes, senior, Augusta
2018 Top Five Teams
Jefferson West 34
Milesplit projection for the 2019 class 4A girls track and field state meet
5) Piper 44
Returning Individual State Champions
400 - Andrew Wilson, senior, Arkansas City
Long jump - Nahshon Houston, senior, Sumner Academy
2018 Top Five Teams
KC Piper 40
Smoky Valley and Bishop Miege 33