LAWRENCE — Andrew Etheridge set a goal coming into the Kansas Relays of running the 110-meter hurdles in under 14 seconds. The Northwest senior didn't quite get that, but his time of 14.35 was fast enough to win at the prestigious meet and give him the top time in the state this spring.
"I felt pretty good," Etheridge said. "It was a big success and a big confidence booster coming into the end of the season. Hopefully I can keep coming out on top and getting better and better every meet."
Northwest track coach Ron Russell doesn't think Etheridge is too far from his goal, and added that with his drive, he will end up getting it.
"Without a doubt he's one of the most competitive kids I've ever been around," Russell said. "This year he's been very focused and dedicated to getting that state championship. He wants a 14 flat. He's very capable of doing that. We think by the end of the season he will be sub 14 or close to 13.8. That's kind of the goal."
Southeast girls cruise to victory — Southeast sprinters Aarian Tipton, Dana Gates, Jamillah Bonner and Kerish Broadus stood at the 40-yard line at Memorial Stadium. As their faces were shown on the giant screen on the scoreboard they grinned from ear to ear and even broke into a random dance after hearing their names called over the PA system.
It was something they couldn't wait to do after winning the girls 400-meter relay in 48.63 seconds.
"It's exciting. Our goal before we ran was to get a 48.1, so we could get the record. I feel like we did way better than we did yesterday," Bonner said. "Everyone gave it their all. We can't wait to get our medals."
Tipton said the team showed improvement and knew going into Saturday's race that it would post a better time than it did in the preliminaries.
Southeast sprinters coach David Griffin couldn't have been more satisfied with his team's showing.
"This is huge. This is why we come here, to kind of judge where we will end up at state," Griffin said. " We've had a lot of talent in the past in the 4x100, but this is the first year where the girls have actually come together and won."
The girls also won the Sunflower Showdown the 1600 relay in 4:05.03.
Ukaoma goes all out — The last 200 meters was a dead lock between Maize senior Miles Ukaoma and Garden Plain senior Kurt Pauly. Each runner seemed to be pushing the other to the brink, but in the end Ukaoma edged his future Nebraska teammate to take the boys 400 with a time of 48.18.
"It's awesome. It's really awesome," Ukaoma said. "You don't really get this many meets with this much competition. So when you do, you're psyched to try and get your best times, get PRs, break some records. It felt good."
Ukaoma was a little hard on himself after the race, saying that he wanted run in the 47s, but coach Jeff Handy wouldn't let him get down on himself.
"48.18 is really good at this time of the season," Handy said. "It's the sixth race that he's ran and the fourth 400 that he's ran. He's in pretty good shape right now. I'm not disappointed at all. I know he wants to run in the 47s but he's right there."