All Varsity Kansas Stories

Boys track notes: Andale’s Meyer vaults to win

Published May 30 at 8:51 p.m. | Last updated June 2 at 8:12 a.m.

Andale senior Ethan Meyer had heard how it would be easy for him to win a Class 4A title in the pole vault, had heard that he had to win because the Indians needed his points to contend for another team title.

The pressure intensified Friday when he missed on his first two attempts at 13 feet in the state track and field meet at Cessna Stadium.

“Those first two misses almost killed me,” Meyer said. “Man, going through my head, I was just, ‘you gotta do it, you gotta do it.’ 

Meyer did and then went on to win his first title, clearing 14-0.

“Luckily I did (clear 13),” Meyer said. “When I got up, I was shaking so bad. I was shaking terrible because I was so relieved.… I thought, ‘I made it. I did it. I’m still alive.’ It felt awesome. The best-feeling jump I’ve ever taken.”

Andale pole vault coach Mark Schmidt was especially impressed by how Meyer handled his situation.

“You talk about the weight of the world being on you when you come in with the best jump,” Schmidt said. “Everybody’s saying it will be easy for you.”

After he cleared 13 feet, Meyer visibly relaxed. When no other vaulters cleared 14-0, Meyer went for 15-1, which was a half-inch higher than his career best. While he didn’t get a personal record, he was OK.

He is a champ, after all.

Osen sets 4A 3200 record

When Winfield’s Riley Osen heard announcer Don Steffens say Osen needed to finish the final 200 of the 3200 meters in 35 seconds to set a record, Osen knew it would be his.

“I’m just remembering in practice we do 200s and we run it in like 26 seconds. I just said, ‘run it like practice,’ and I did and I got the record,” said Osen, who finished in 9:26.71. The previous record was 9:27.90, set in 1981.

Osen’s teammate, Josh Hanna, was second, finishing in 9:39.02.

“We push each other every day,” Osen said of his friendship with Hanna. “Whenever we’re doing 400s, 800s, the last 100, we’re usually fighting each other.”

The two planned the race over the last several weeks when Hanna started running the two-mile in the league and regional meets.

“We’ve tried to break (the pack) with a mile to go and just push each other the last three laps,” Osen said. “I just got a little bit better than Josh today.”

Hanna credits Osen for helping him prepare for the 4A cross country meet in the fall. Hanna edging Osen for the title.

“I got hurt at the beginning of the cross country season last year, and Riley helped a ton to get me back up to speed and to come back at state,” Hanna said. “He won every meet, but then I came back and won at state. I feel bad for doing it to him because he’s the one who helped me do it.”

Fonseca’s a champ

Wichita West distance coach Steve Couch has wondered what would happen if junior Dominick Fonseca ran the 3200 fresh.

He found out when Fonseca won the 5A title, finishing in a season-best 9:33.15. Carroll’s Paul Becker and Nick Martin finished third and fourth.

“This is great, man,” Fonseca said, putting his hands on top of his head and looking up. “I can’t think of words. I’ve worked so hard for it. I finally got it.”

Fonseca broke away from the pack with 800 meters to go, then with 400 he analyzed how fast he needed to finish.

“I always ask myself, do I think he could run 400 and plus whatever I’m in front of him faster than I can run 400 meters? I knew he could do it,” Fonseca said. “I had to push, I had to push, I had to push.

“I’m a state champ, man. Can’t nobody take that. I did it by myself. I always dreamed of getting a state championship, something I can call my own.”


The first day of the season, Garden Plain senior Mitch Hilger could feel the pressure of expectations.

He had won the Class 5A javelin as a junior at Goddard, throwing 171-2.

Now that he had transferred to Garden Plain, there was an expectation that he could do it again.

He did, throwing 181-1 on his first attempt Friday.

“(The pressure) starts at the very beginning of the season because if you don’t make it, you’re not in good shape,” Hilger said. “It starts as soon as the season starts, but I get more anxiety the farther the season goes on. I’d say regional is when it really kicks in. That’s when it hit the hardest.”

Winning as a senior trumped his win as a junior, though.

“It’s the best feeling in the world being a senior and winning state,” he said.

A winning feeling

Hesston junior Justin Smith already knew what it was like to win a title as he was part of the Swathers’ unbeaten basketball team that won a 3A title in March.

Now he’s an individual champ, winning the 3A triple jump by going 44-6 on his final jump to get the win.

“I hadn’t been jumping very well,” Smith said. “I got it together in the finals, jumped fairly good on my second to last jump and then jumped my best of the year.”

Smith edged Independent senior Thomas Varenhorst, who jumped 43-9.

Worth noting

Sterling’s Jed Dierksen won his second straight Class 2A shot put with a throw of 54-0.… Two-time Top 11 football player Braden Smith, a senior at Olathe South who has signed to play football at Auburn, repeated in the Class 6A shot put. He throws the discus at 1:15 Saturday afternoon.… Pike Valley’s Caden Callaway set a record in the 1A 3200, finishing in 9:25.97. The previous record, 9:27.96, was set in 2013 by Centralia’s Lucas Koch.

Joanna Chadwick

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