Legendary _ It was just another weekend at Cessna Stadium for Peabody-Burns senior Lauren Pickens.
She came, she ran, she walked away with another three gold medals. That's been a constant for the last four years at the state meet in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races.
Pickens became the first athlete in Kansas history to become a four-time winner in those three events.
"I'm really excited to be the first person to hold my championships for all four years," Pickens said. "I owe a huge thank you to my coaches and my teammates for pushing me and my friends and fans coming out to support me."
The golden day started with a win in the 100 with a time of 12.46 seconds, then she defended her 400 title in 58.32. She wanted to cap her day with a meet record in the 200.
"It didn't quite happen today," said Pickens, who won in 25.91 _ six-tenths away from the record. "But I'll take what I have with the 12 gold medals and that's pretty sweet."
It was a surreal moment for Pickens to stand atop the medal stand for the last time in front of the crowd as the announcer read off her achievements. "All I can say when I look back at it is, 'Wow, how did I do that?' " Pickens said.
Pickens has said she will give these medals, as she has her first nine, to the mother of her best friend, Kylie Terronez, a fellow track athlete who was killed in a 2008 automobile accident.
Best friends, top competition _ It would be easy to understand if Independent's Imani Fenner and Tina Liu were spiteful rivals.
Fenner is Liu's top competition in the sprints, and vice versa. But there is no animosity, as they worked with each other to push themselves. The result was combining to score 39 points and then adding 10 more by running legs on the winning Class 3A 400 relay team.
"I love Imani to death," Liu said. "I love her personality. I don't think I could hate her, even if I tried."
Fenner swept the sprints, winning the 100 in 12.47 and the 200 in 25.65. Liu finished third and fifth in those. But Fenner credited her teammate for her wins.
"I wouldn't have done this without my start," said Fenner, pointing to Liu, "and that's all thanks to her. Tina pushed me on my starts every day in practice.
"It was kind of like the turtle and the hare. Imagine how the turtle felt at the start of the race; that was me."
Liu had her own glory at the start of the day in defending her triple jump title. She was down to her final jump of her high school career, needing to better her mark by eight inches to win. She came up clutch, jumping 37-8 to win by six inches.
"It was unbelievable," Liu said. "When I got out of the pit and saw how far I jumped, I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I couldn't believe I actually did it."
Household name _ Not much was left for El Dorado senior Jaimie House to accomplish in the pole vault. She had already won a 5A title, which she did again on Saturday, and she had already vaulted 12 feet, which she did again to tie her own meet record.
But the news for House was cementing her place as the only Kansas girl to win a pole vault championship all four years. This is the 12th year of the event.
"It's a little bit frustrating I didn't get higher, but at the same time I'm really happy that I did something no one else has done before," House said. "I know I can jump (12-6)... I've jumped it in practice many times."
Proving ground _ Not winning a title on the track last season didn't bother Valley Center's Morgan Wedekind so much. But it did motivate her to change that this year.
Wedekind proved she could, first winning the 5A 3200 race on Friday night and then capping her weekend with a 5:10.01 run that won her the 1600 on Saturday afternoon.
"I'm starting to get really excited about (Friday) night and today," said Wedekind, whose previously said the winning hasn't sunk in yet.
Though she won by a comfortable nine-second margin, Wedekind lunged across the finish line as if she had to in order to win.
"I really wanted to get under (5 minutes and) 10 seconds," Wedekind said. "I felt like I was going a little slow the second and third lap, so I knew I had to get out that last one. I didn't quite get it, but I almost did."
CPL power _ Emily Doffing, a senior hurdler at Conway Springs, didn't have to look far for her top competition in 3A. Sierra Hays, her main challenger, was right down the road at Garden Plain.
After trading the top mark all season, the Central Plains League duo verified their spots by finishing first and second with Doffing prevailing in the 100 hurdles in 15.35. Hays finished right behind at 15.47.
"It's been neck-and-neck every single time," Doffing said. "It's nice to have someone there to push you the whole way through during the year. When I ran without her, I didn't run as fast as when I had her next to me."
Worth noting _ South Barber's Erin Merklein ended her career with six Class 1A titles in the hurdles, adding two more on Saturday. She won the 100 hurdles for the fourth straight time and the 300 hurdles for the second time.
* The Douglass 3200 relay team of Savannah Wright, Cassie Hollenback, Sarah Bergley and Sarah Wright shaved 18 seconds off their season-best time to win the 3A race in 9:53.02.
* Cheney freshman Taylor Needham had the top qualifying time in the 4A 400, then she verified herself by winning the finals on Saturday in 58.23.
* Nickerson's Cassie Caswell didn't place in the shot put or the discus last season. But after work in the weight room, Caswell swept both events in 4A. The junior won the shot put with a throw of 42-2 and the discus with a toss of 129-3.
_ Taylor Eldridge