The finals of the 100 meter dash.
And they may even stand en masse as a star-studded field
roars down the track. These are strong, athletic and fast athletes who will be
separated by tenths and hundredths and maybe even thousandths of a second.
Whatever they charge for admission to Cessna Stadium on
Saturday, pay it. Sneak in if you have to. Just be in your seat at 1 p.m.
Saturday for the girls, and about 1:15 for the boys.
Deron Dudley of Wichita South and Xavier Sellers of Wichita West are the headliners after serving up a delicious preview at last week's
regional meet. Dudley won with the sixth best time ever run in Kansas, 10.38,
while Sellers was right on his heels at 10.50.
Dudley won the state title in the 100 last year, while
Sellers finished third. Dudley's time last week was just two-hundredths off the
All-Class state meet record of 10.36 by Mario Ponds of Wichita Southeast in
Dudley and Sellers lead a field in which all 16 state
qualifiers have run faster than 11 seconds this season. It is quite possible
that the eight who make Saturday's final will have run 10.85 or better.
Some of those hoping to spoil the Dudley-Sellers party on
Saturday, with the times they ran last week, include Nevan Tebb-lolar of Blue
Valley West (10.70), Jon-michael Herman of Blue Valley Northwest (10.74),
Graham Hough of Lawrence (10.83), Ezekiel Seamster of Hutchinson (10.83),
Donyel Evans of Topeka (10.85) and Migc Aiyanyor of Derby (10.85).
The class 6A girls 100 meters is certainly no side-show.
Seven Kansas girls ran 12.16 or better at last week's regional meet, including
two - Gardner-Edgerton's Kendra Wait and Wichita West's LaJada Owens - who
dipped under 12 seconds.
Wait is, perhaps, the most versatile track and field athlete
in Kansas. She has the No. 1 time in class 6A this season for 100 meters,
11.95, and the No. 1 marks in the shot put and pole vault. She's also entered
this week in the 200.
Owens burst through with a career best time of 11.96 to win
her regional meet. The junior had not run faster than 12.17 before last week,
and failed to qualify for the finals in her first time at the state meet last
year. She certainly appears ready to take the next step.
Those two will have their hands full with a fast field that
includes Leavenworth freshman Dhakiya Blake (12.03), Shawnee Mission East's
Destiny Ray (12.07), Lawrence's Asjah Harris (12.09), Derby's Aneesa Abdul-hameed (12.16), Leavenworth's Wynter Ramos (12.16), and Hutchinson's
Eleecya Birney (12.20).
The girls' 100 may also be a key event for deciding the team
titles. Defending champion Lawrence, Leavenworth, Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe
Northwest and Mill Valley make this a very tight race for the state
Lawrence's Harris will also run the 200 and probably the 4 X
100 meter relay. The Lions have a lot of state experience on their roster,
incuding Evann Seratte (400 and 800), Hannah Stewart (800 and 1600), Josie Hickerson (pole vault) and Amaya Harris (javelin). Those are all girls capable
of placing in the top 3 of their respective events.
Lawrence qualified in all three relays, and have top three
times for class 6A in each.
Leavenworth will likely go as Blake and Ramos go, but that's
certainly putting your chances in good hands. Blake is just a freshman and
Ramos a sophomore, but they've performed beyond their years this season. They
have a legitimate shot at finishing 1-2 in the 200 and 400, and then there's
this matter of the wild scramble for places that will happen at the finish line
of the 100.
Blake and Ramos also team up in the 4 X 400 relay, while
Colbie Fairley (discus) and Saniyah Hammonds (triple jump) could score well for
Wait and Kylie Moorehouse (200 and 400) lead
Gardner-Edgerton's title hopes, as well as Kennedy Comstock in the javelin. The
squad also has very strong 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays.
Olathe Northwest has a pair of strong state title contenders
in Maddie Righter (100 hurdles, high jump and long jump) and Jaleesa Mcwashington (long jump, triple jump and 300 hurdles). Lindsey Heller (triple
jump) could bring in some valuable points, as well.
Mill Valley's 4 X 800 relay comes in at No. 1 in class 6A,
but otherwise the squad will rely on above average depth to score points. Look
for Delaney Kemp (800 and 1600), Morgan Koca (3200), Clair Kaifes (shot put),
Lydia Mcdaneld (long jump) and Adele Warford (javelin) to key the Jaguars' title
Among individuals, Manhattan's Clara Mayfield has been the
state's most dominant distance runner this season, posting the state's top
times in the 1600 (4:52.83) and 3200 (10:36.00). She's also No. 2 in class 6A
for 800 meters. Mayfield is seeking her first state title after a pair of close finishes in cross country the last two years.
She'll be challenged by a familiar foe: Jaybe Shufelberger
of Washburn Rural, who has the division's top 800 meter time and No. 2 times in
the 1600 and 3200. It's shaping up to be a good battle between the two
Centennial League foes.
Junction City's Kiena Newman won state titles in the 110
hurdles in 2017 and 2018, and the 300 hurdles in 2017. She has never finished
lower than fourth in either event at state, and could win both again this
Taylor Savolt of Garden City has the top time in class 6A
for the 300 hurdles, and stands as the key obstacle to Newman in the hurdle
events. Savolt beat Newman for the 300 hurdle title a year ago.
In the girls' javelin, Lexy Farrington of Blue Valley North
comes in with a season-best of 146-4, the top throw in class 6A this season.
Gardner-Edgerton's boys seem to have separated themselves
from the pack in the race for the class 6A state title. The squad is talented,
In the field events, the Blazers have the top rated pole
vaulter (Colton Goodman) and high jumper (Dayton Williams) and the No. 2 rated
triple jumper (Teven McKelvey). Nick Allen and Jacob Serrioz have the fourth
and fifth best throws in the javelin.
They have qualified all three relays, and have the 2016
cross country state champion - Trent Cochran -- holding down the 1600 and 3200.
They should also get quality points in the 200 from SaeVheon Alcorn, and
Several teams make up the chase pack, though they may be
fighting it out for second place. They include Blue Valley West, Olathe
Northwest, Olathe East and defending champion Manhattan.
Blue Valley West's Tebb-lolar will be right in the mix in
the 100 and 200, while David Brown is in the 200 and 400. Luke Ralston has the
No. 2 mark in the javelin for class 6A, and Trevor Laube is No. 4 in the 800
entering this year's meet. The squad also has the No. 3 ranked 4 X 100 and 4 X
Olathe Northwest has the state's top-ranked 4 X 800 relay,
and is No. 2 in the 4 X 400. To that mix they add Connor Boyd (No. 1 in the
discus and No. 6 in the shot put), Andrew Dumas (No. 3 in the shot put), and
400 meter runner Cole Morris.
Olathe East enters with the No. 1 time in the 4 X 100, but
will be right in the mix in the 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 relays as well. Among
individuals likely to place high, Olathe East has Jacob Vermillion in the 800,
Kameron Byers in the 400 and Kevon Penerman in the 300 hurdles.
Manhattan's got about as sure of a 10 points as anyone might have. Junior javelin thrower Sam Hankins is not just the No. 1 thrower in Kansas: he's the best in the United States this season. The two-time champion will throw on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Manhattan's Darius O Connell is No. 1 in the discus, and distance runner Daniel Harkin -- runner-up in cross country last fall -- is among a half dozen who could win the 1600 and 3200. Manhattan's bid to repeat as 6A champions took a hit at regionals, however, when hurdler Max Lansdowne -- ranked No. 2 in the 300 hurdles -- was unable to compete because of injury.
But Manhattan is one of those programs that seems to find its way to the podium. They have placed either first or second in 7 of the past 10 years. If they are to grab a top three finish, they'll also need points from James Higgs and Jaden Magana in the discus, Declan Weixelman in the 800, and its 4 X 800 relay.
Individually, Leavenworth's Guy Ramos is lightning on the track;
he's got a good chance to win the 200 and 400 meters, while Hutchinson's
Tayezhan Crough and Wichita West's Jaleel Montgomery are likely to dual it out in
the 110 hurdles. Crough is also No. 1 in the 300 hurdles; he won both the 300
hurdles and 110 hurdles a year ago.
Class 6A cross country champ Asher Molina of Shawnee Mission North has the No. 1
times in class 6A in the 1600 and 3200 but those races are likely to be a tight
pack of 4-5 runners. Quinton Hicks of Campus is one to watch in the discus and