Varsity Kansas

Track notes: Sunrise junior making waves in 800

No one is intimidated when they find out they will be running against Janell Kidd.

There are no nervous glances sideways to size up Kidd when she steps to the starting line. No one has her in mind as a target.

The only fact they know about Kidd before a race is that she’s from Sunrise Christian Academy. Some have heard of it, none have heard of Kidd.

“Nobody knows who I am,” Kidd said. “I just go out there and do my thing. I go to a small school, so I don’t expect to be noticed. I just go out there and run.”

Kidd, a junior, has never run at the state meet because Sunrise is not a KSHSAA member school. But if she did, her times would likely bring home medals.

Kidd has carved out a niche in the 800 meters, which she has won twice this season at Oxford (2:31.77) and Collegiate (2:35.83). This season she wants to add the 1600 to her repertoire, winning her first race at Oxford in 5:47.37.

“I feel like she can run a lot faster than that if she was in a big race,” Sunrise coach Kelli Woodward said. “People don’t know who she is because she’s from Sunrise, but I definitely believe she’s capable of running against, and beating, some of the best in the state.”

The chance they desire might present itself next week at Wichita State’s Pre-State Challenge, as Woodward is trying to enter Kidd in the elite division.

“It’s such a huge meet, so I’m pretty excited for it,” Kidd said. “I feel a lot stronger than I did last year and I’ve been running with more confidence this year. But really I’m just excited about the competition, to be honest.”

Rose Hill pride — Winning individual events for Rose Hill is nice, but it doesn’t compare to the thrill of winning a relay. The Rockets don’t lose them often.

Rose Hill returns three legs of its state championship 1600 relay team, including Jon Martin, Colton Mays and Austin Shaffer.

“We talk about the team going to meets and winning as a team more than we do individual stuff,” Shaffer said. “As individuals, we feel confidence, but as a team we’re even more confident. We feel like we have a pretty good chance of repeating. It’s really early, but I think we have a reasonable chance.”

In the season-opening quad at El Dorado, the Rockets swept all three relays — 400 (44.69), 1600 (3:32.67) and 3200 (8:50.82).

“It’s important to them to win, especially that 4-by-4 because it’s the finale of the track meet,” Rose Hill coach Greg Slade said. “Everybody that is still there is watching that race and it’s pretty exciting to watch them run it.”

Northwest girls improving — Northwest has been known for its successful boys program, which has placed in the top-10 of Class 6A the last three years.

The girls might not be ready to accomplish that, but the team is progressing this season with the addition of some new pieces to go along with steady returners in Shayla Cotman (jumps), Elizabeth Thompson (sprints), Amanda Johnson (400) and Brooke Doerkson (pole vault).

“We don’t really have that one superstar, but what we do have is a very balanced group of girls and a group that we’re hoping can do some damage,” Northwest coach Ron Russell said.

Russell has not been blind to the ways Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mount Carmel have dominated the girls’ competition at the City League meet in recent years.

“They’ve had some good individuals, but overall they were just strong and deep everywhere,” Russell said. “We’ve kind of patterned ourselves after those groups and we’re trying to get in the mix that way.”