The thing that West girls track and field coach Sandy Nixon loves about Angelia Murray is her refusal to accept she can’t do something.
Murray, an accomplished 400-meter runner, is the lone hope for the Pioneers to score points on the track, so Nixon has looked to expand her role.
On April 19, after a season full of 200 and 400 races, Nixon asked Murray to run the 100 at the Clearwater Invitational. Murray responded by winning the race in a hand-timed 12.76 seconds.
“She’s one of those kids that you don’t get very often,” Nixon said. “The little things that other kids can’t or won’t do, she can do. She’s not ever going to tell me she can’t do it. In the classroom, it’s the same way.
“I’m just really glad she’s only a sophomore.”
Since West’s final regular-season meet was cancelled Thursday at Circle, Murray’s focus is already on the postseason. If she runs in all three of the sprints, Murray will figure to be in the mix for a triple qualification for regionals with her season-best times of 12.76 (100), 26.50 (200) and 59.74 (400).
“She wants to get down to a 58 in the quarter mile,” Nixon said. “Our strategy is if we can get her to the first 200 in 28 seconds, then we can work with her on kicking it in and really work on pumping her arms when she gets tired. I think she’s going to be able to pull it off.”
Campbell is 4-0 in the 100 and 200 without much of a challenge. Her lone close race has been at Wichita State’s Pre-State Challenge in the 200, when Campbell held off Derby’s Alyxis Bowens down the stretch to win in a season-best 25.71 seconds — three-tenths ahead of Bowens.
“That’s the moment when I really saw it,” Wellington coach Tyler Ryan said. “She’s running with so much confidence and every time she steps to the line, you can tell it’s, ‘I’m not going to lose this.’ ”
After finishing fourth in Class 4A in the 100 and 200 last season, Campbell, a Wichita State signee, has put herself in position to compete for the title in each race with her times this season.
Campbell will run at the Goddard Invitational on Monday.
“Megan is one of the hardest-working athletes I’ve ever coached,” said Ryan, who also worked with state champion Morgan Burns at Trinity Academy. “She’s not afraid to work for it. She’s been very committed and I think all of the little things have added up for her this season.”
But there isn’t any bitterness between the Maize South seniors, as the duo has teamed together to form one of the top 1-2 punches in the state.
“They work really well together,” Maize South coach Steve Rasmussen said. “The competition is a healthy competition. They’re always pushing each other and they help each other out, in a good way.”
“It’s turned meets into a crapshoot,” Lee said on another day his team was forced indoors. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The fact is your kids never get in a practice rhythm. They never get in a week-by-week rhythm.”
The three big meets this week have been affected already. Thursday’s meet in Towanda was canceled by Circle and will not be rescheduled; Goddard has moved its meet back to Monday with hopes of better weather; Derby will make its final call by 9 a.m. Friday, but if it does happen then there will be no preliminaries and throwing events will be condensed.
“It’s just frustrating for the kids and you can see it in their faces,” Lee said. “I doubt we’ve had 15 practices outside this season. The weather should be getting better and it’s not. The kids are just in a better mood when they’re able to be outdoors working.”
Teams aren’t able to conduct full practices when weather forces them inside.
“There’s only so much you can do inside,” Maize South’s Rasmussen said. “And then you’re competing with space with baseball, softball, soccer. You’re limited with what you can do, especially for the field events. The jumpers and throwers get hurt the worst.”