Maize’s Swenson breaks 6A javelin record
When Keiryn Swenson found out she had missed the state record by three feet, the Maize senior looked over her shoulder, toward the field, as if she was silently asking for just one more throw.
Swenson accomplished a lot in the throws she did make, though. On her second attempt, Swenson threw 162 feet, 5 inches – it was her personal best, the best throw in Kansas this year and the Class 6A record at the state track and field championships.
Swenson’s throw put her fifth-best nationally this season and easily the best among Saturday’s competitors. She beat second-place Megan Vanatta, from Campus, by nearly 30 feet.
“I couldn’t be any happier,” said Swenson, who has signed to play basketball at Arkansas. “I’m still shaking from the moment. That was just a dream come true.”
Considering she is often competing against herself, Swenson often finds ways to push herself. She aimed this weekend for the 6A record, set by Maize’s Ulrika Hinson in 2004 at 149-7.
Swenson matched Hinson’s record on her first throw, then obliterated it minutes later.
She wasn’t aware of the 165-5 mark set by Tonganoxie’s Roxi Grizzle in 2008, but when she found out she seemed disappointed she couldn’t beat it.
“I realized I got in a pretty good rhythm,” Swenson said of her feelings after tying Hinson’s record. “But at the same time, it kind of irritated me. I was just like, ‘I’m so close, that better not be my best throw.’”
New look, same result
Heights won the Class 5A 400-meter relay last year and aimed for a repeat with half of the personnel.
The Falcons replaced departed runners Gabriella Ocadiz and Chaylynn Conley, the team’s first leg and its anchor. The holdovers from the team that set a meet record last year were Kolby Ganther and Rianne Richard.
“It was different because we didn’t know each other at first,” Ganther said. “But the chemistry came together once we started running together.”
With junior McKenna Sullivan starting the relay and sophomore Dynesha Williams finishing, Heights got even better. The Falcons set another meet record in the prelims with a time of 48.20 before winning on Saturday at 48.47.
Williams maintained Heights’ lead as the Falcons crossed well before Andover, which finished at 49.29 seconds.
“She’s perfect,” Richard said. “At the beginning of the year we were having troubles with the order and stuff, and we finally found our fourth leg.”
El Dorado sophomore Sidney Howland almost immediately collapsed after the 4A 400-meter race as leg pain and emotional exhaustion caught up to her.
But Howland could endure fleeting discomfort because she had just won a state championship, beating her fiercest competitor to boot.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s not like anything else,” Howland said of her fatigue. “There’s no way to really prepare yourself mentally for it.”
Howland held off Winfield senior Courtney Griffiths, who finished in the top three four times but never won it. The two Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division III runners have competed in several events but Griffiths usually wins.
Last year, Howland finished fourth, one spot behind Griffiths.
“She likes to her first 200 really fast,” Howland said. “I just make sure that I’m even with her and staying with her by the 300 mark – then I know I’ll be able to finish.”
Not long after Griffiths missed that elusive 400-meter championship, she excelled at her best race, winning the 800 in 2:16.76, the state’s fastest time this year.
Griffiths ran a near-perfect race, surging to the lead early and using a late push to blow away the field. She beat her closest competitor by nearly four seconds.
“That’s definitely how I wanted it to go,” Griffiths said. “My plan was to run second for the first lap like I did last year, but then the girl on the outside came in, so I just went.”
Griffiths, a senior, defended her 800-meter championship but lamented her defeat in the 400. She came close in each of her four years, with four top-three finishes, but never sealed the deal.
“Oh, man, I wanted that so bad,” Griffiths said. “I’ve been gunning for it since my freshman year.”
After she won the 2A 100-meter hurdles, West Elk senior Sarah Hines was given a bouquet of flowers by a representative from Burrton. Hines began crying as she fell to the ground.
Late Tuesday night, two West Elk Students, Damon Wilson and Reid Russell, were killed in a car accident in Elk County. Hines teared up again as she remembered them, and she wore a patch in remembrance of Wilson and Russell on her uniform.
“A boy came up and gave me some flowers and said, ‘This is for Damon,’ and I just kind of broke down,” Hines said. “I’m happy that I was able to run for them and do that for them.”
Hines also won the 300 hurdles and the triple jump. She forced herself into a competitive mentality while most of her thoughts were with her former schoolmates.
“Really just giving it all to God and knowing that I’m just doing this all for (Wilson and Russell),” Hines said.
Andale’s Leah Reichenberger won the 4A 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles. She defended her title in the 300 but surprised herself by winning the 100 on Saturday morning.
“I’ve never really excelled in this race,” Reichenberger said. “…I finally got my rythym down, which was key in this race. I had a rough start in the beginning, I probably was in third over that first hurdle. Then I got that rhythm down toward the third hurdle, and I was pretty confident with that.”
▪ East’s Astrid Same won the 6A shot put with a throw of 41 feet, 9 1/2 inches. That’s more than three feet better than her best throw last year, when she finished 12th.
▪ Newton senior Payton Roberts followed Friday’s 5A shot put championship by winning Saturday’s discus with a throw of 131-8. She beat second-place Amanda Kakoulias, from Andover Central by more than 11 feet.
▪ Maize South’s team of Chidinma Iweha, Teagan Hayes, Sydney Mortensen and Kassidy Johnson won the 5A 1600 relay in 4:02.55
▪ Collegiate’s Jewell Bolden won the 100 hurdles but was unable to win two other events. After winning Friday’s long jump, the sophomore finished second on Saturday in the 100 meters and sixth in the 200.
▪ Lauren Doll, a junior from Flinthills, won the 1A 100- and 300-meter hurdles. She did not compete in either event last year.
▪ Cunningham won the 1A 3200-meter relay at 10:21.58. Its runners were Kortney Ricke, Kylee Ricke, Annika Panek and Mikaela Meyers.
▪ Pratt Skyline’s Jessica DeWeese took the 100 meters on Saturday at 12.54 seconds, then won the 200 hours later at 26.15.
▪ Silver Lake earned big points in multiple running events. It won the 400-meter relay, and Alexandra Ferguson won the 400 and the 800. Rachel Heiman finished fifth in the 100 and fourth in the 200.
▪ Olathe South’s Jacqueline Darby held off East’s Kimani Evans in 6A’s 100 meters. Darby won in 12.09 seconds, just ahead of Evans’ 12.16.
▪ Gabbi Dabney became the second Lawrence Free State runner to win the 100-meter hurdles, following Alexa Harmon-Thomas last season. Dabney’s time Saturday was 14.64, narrowly beating Hutchinson’s Tyjai Adams at 14.72.