Varsity Kansas

Girls track and field notes (May 28)

Early success

Clearing 11 feet on the first attempt made all of the difference for Douglass pole vaulter Amanda Gardner. She took home the gold after beating defending Class 3A champion Page Stuhlsatz from Garden Plain.

Neither vaulter could clear 11-6, so the winner came down to jump attempts and Stuhlsatz didn't clear 11 feet until her third attempt.

"It was crazy. I couldn't believe it," Gardner said. "I was shocked and super happy. Hopefully I can continue it and do better next year."

Stuhlsatz couldn't get enough of the competition.

"At 11 feet, I knew I had to clear it just to keep going with her. And at 11-6, I just tried. I gave it my all and, of course, I got on a new bigger stick, so that was totally different for me. But we duked it out. It was pretty good."

Milbourn wins gold

Molly Milbourn won the Class 4A 3200 meters with ease. She won in 11 minutes, 13.17 seconds, about 27 seconds faster than her closest competitor.

"It was so close last year. This year that was on my mind during the race," Milbourn said. "I wanted to win this one so I could make up for last year."

Rivalry is motivation

Kapaun Mount Carmel's Mackenzie Maki won the Class 5A 3200 in 11:12.58. She out-ran friend and City League rival Kaelyn Balch of Bishop Carroll, who clocked in at 11:34.34.

Maki said there is a friendly rivalry between the two and El Dorado's Milbourn. They love to compete and practice against each other.

"We're all friends," Maki said. "We've all been together in the off-season. It just depends on the day (who's better)."

Southeast relay falls

A critical mistake in the handoff between Southeast sprinters Aarian Tipton and Dana Gates cost Southeast a spot in today's final. The Buffaloes entered the meet with a state-best time of 47.5 seconds.

The baton was dropped on the exchange between the second and third legs.

Good to repeat

Marion's Julia Zeiner won the Class 3A long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 11 inches. It was her second consecutive year to win, but Zeiner said she wanted to set a personal record by jumping better than 18-6.

"It feels good, but I was just hoping for a little more," Zeiner said. "I didn't get my best this year like I was hoping to, but it's still good because I won state."

Best in the nation

Ottawa senior shot putter Kearsten People set a personal record and threw the nation's best distance this season at 51-10. The Missouri signee said it was nice to set that mark in her final high school meet.

"I feel really happy because it's been my goal for two years," she said. "So I definitely surpassed it. I would have been happy with 50."

PR at the state meet

Carroll pole vaulter Cara Detmer cleared 12 feet for the first time at a state meet. She placed second in 5A, though, because she did it on her third attempt and Cassie Wait from Gardner-Edgerton got it on her first try. Neither jumper cleared 12-5.

"I wanted to do better than 12 feet, but I'm OK with 12, I guess," Detmer said. "I knew I had to make this because Cassie did, and I just gave it whatever I had left. I planted really strong and I pulled up and I just pulled as hard as I could and squeezed over it."

—Chris Elliott