Boys track: Saturday’s state notes (updated 7:25 p.m.)
Going for the win … and the record – Bishop Carroll senior David Thor and his teammates, Gage Garcia and Nick Martin set out at a brisk pace in the Class 5A 1600.
Thor’s goal was clear: he not only wanted to win the 1600 for the second straight season, he wanted the 5A record. He got it, winning in 4:15.43, beating the previous record of 4:16.6, set in 1986 by Salina South’s Jason Goertzen.
“I’ve been shooting for a really godo time this year,” Thor said. “I’ve been coming up shorts the last few years in my goal. This time I finally did it. I pushed through that pain barrier. I finally got it.
“… I was glad to win, but that record was kind of icing on the cake. Turning around and seeing my other teammates, especially a sophomore (Martin) playing up there in the top five with us, that was awesome.”
Thor, who won the 3200 on Friday, won the 800 at 5A for the first time, finishing in 1:56.64. There was some concern early in the race, though, when he got boxed in.
He raced around the outside and took the lead in the final 100 meters of the first lap.
“I got boxed pretty bad, but it kind of worked out in my favor just because I went out about the 200, about 28 seconds, that’s what we were planning on me to hit,” he said. “I think that was probably a good thing. I didn’t really like the boxing, though.”
Thor was also a part of Carroll’s second-place 1600 relay team as he helped Carroll finish second to Hays in the team race.
Clean living — Buhler’s Andrew Pope worried Friday night about dropped batons.
Buhler’s 400 relay team hadn’t had a dropped handoff all season, but anything can happen at state.
“We didn’t have as clean of handoffs (last year) as we have this year,” he said. “… It was nice having that coming into state. There’s always a chance for error, everyone is human. We make mistakes all the time. I was just hoping it wouldn’t happen at the wrong time.”
Buhler had nice handoffs all around and won the 400 relay in 43.13.
Buhler also won the 1600 relay in 3:21.21, setting a 4A record by 0.23 seconds. That helped the Crusaders take the 4A team title with 52 points. Baldwin was second, Andale third.
The Matt Denning Fan Club – Carroll junior Matt Denning knew exactly where his family was – right in front of the Cessna Stadium finish line.
And when he crossed it to win the Class 5A 400 title in 49.68 seconds, he heard his family erupt in cheers.
“My mom and dad and my brother, my aunts and uncles, friends, family — they’re just awesome,” he said. “I love them to death. They’ve been there every year for the past three years.”
This was his first competing in the 400, though.
“I was really nervous, yet really confident and I knew I had a good field with me,” he said. “It would be a good field no matter what. When I came around the curve, it was go as fast as you can and hope it holds out. I felt good all the way around. God blessed me today.”
Something to prove — Southeast’s 400 relay team definitely ran with a chip on its shoulder.
“We’ve had good teams all these years, but never really had a championship,” senior Bradan Smith said.
The relay members felt like they had been overlooked and written off as unable to win, despite talent.
The Buffaloes got the win in the 400, though, winning in 42.74. Heights was second at 42.78, Northwest fourth in 43.11.
“It’s just a great feeling to finally win something as a team,” senior Steven Calloway said. “Southeast has more talent as a school, and we can make something out of it.”
Calloway is tough to miss. He’s got a high fade haircut and added a dash of bleach blond through the middle in the front.
And he also knows how to win, taking the Class 6A 400 in 48.26 seconds.
“It was a great feeling,” he said. “When I was in the tent (before the race), in the blocks, ‘Ain’t nobody did what I did in the winter time.’ All that crying every day, resistance bands, weight jackets, thousands and thousands of meters, crying to my coach, asking him for mercy.”
Calloway is headed to Kansas State.
Experienced winner — Douglass’ Avery McNelly repeated in the Class 3A 400, winning in 49.40 seconds. But coming in, he didn’t have the relaxed feeling that sometimes comes when one has been there before.
“I was a little nervous about how hard these guys can push,” he said. “I know they’re good competitors.”
Over the last 100 meters, McNelly felt good.
“I couldn’t hear anybody behind me,” said McNelly, who was undefeated this season. “And I didn’t see anyone in the shadows.”
Repeat — South Haven’s Blake Wilkey repeated in the Class 1A 110 hurdles, winning in 14.77. There was plenty of pressure on him, but he shrugged it off.
“You come out and you perform the best you can that day,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
He didn’t get the start he wanted, too, though.
“I was last coming out of the blocks, I was last to the first hurdle, actually,” he said. “I just ran my race like I run it. It got me first.”
Wilkey also won the 300 hurdles in 39.45.
Worth noting — Medicine Lodge’s Lakin Liebst won the Class 2A triple jump at 42-9¾. He edged Berean Academy’s Loren Pearce, who jumped 42-7¾.… Berean’s Daniel Claassen won the Class 2A 1600 meters in 4:32.02, more than three faster than second place.… Smoky Valley’s Nick Deterding won the Class 4A 400 in 48.88. Collegiate’s Rhys Powell was second, while Maize South’s Ridge Williams third, Buhler’s JP Lohrentz fourth, Rose Hill’s Colton Mays fifth.
A tough crowd – Augusta’s Zach Budda knew he was going to have a tough time winning the Class 4A high jump. He’d been through an extremely tough regional just to get to state.
“I knew at our regional, we were going to be the top three,” said Budda, who will compete for Wichita State next year.
They got two, with Budda winning with a height of 6-8 and Andale’s Garrison LeRock taking third.
“It prepared us a lot,” Budda said of his regional competition last week. “We knew what it was going to come down to. We thought it was going to come down to scratches. It did until I made 6-8. I didn’t miss until 6-8.”
Right ending – Hutchinson Trinity’s 3200 relay team took 16 seconds off its best time to win in 8:04.22
“We wanted to come out and win,” senior Paul Cuellar said. “I wanted to show some leadership. We wanted to get out there and give it our best. We knew if we tried our hardest, we’d get our first, and we got it.”
First time, a title – Andale junior Jake May has run the hurdles since seventh grade, but this is the first season he’s made it to the state meet.
He won the Class 4A 110 hurdles Saturday morning in 14.68.
He was hindered as a sophomore by a hip flexor issue in his lead leg. But even if he had been healthy and qualified for state, he doesn’t think he would have reached this level.
“I wasn’t running like this year,” he said. “I wasn’t anywhere as fast. I changed my mind, said I was going to make it this year. I worked hard. Hurdles every day, technique. I started out slow, then eventually, hard, hard, hard.”
He got a slow start, but recovered.
“(Circle’s) John Nicholas was ahead of me until about the fourth hurdle, by a couple meters, and then I told myself I didn’t want to lose and I turned it on,” May said.