Jet takes flight
When Heights senior Jet Moreland was introduced before his final throw in the Class 6A javelin at Cessna Stadium, it was as the 6A champion. He smiled and then went into his seven-step approach and ripped off his best throw of the day at the state track and field meet, 185 feet, 10 inches.
Moreland finished third in 2011 as a sophomore, fifth in 2012. While his poor 2012 finish affected his confidence, he knew he still had another season to make up for it.
“I worked hard all year. I have a new throws coach (Terry Harrison), and he instructed me on a few things that made me throw a little better,” Moreland said.
A major change was Moreland’s runway approach. He did away with his jog to start.
“I don’t want to say that by jogging you waste energy, but that’s the way I felt about it,” he said. “When I stand still and take off in a sprint toward the toe board, all my energy is conserved and I can exert it out once I hit the toe board and throw with all my capability.”
Harrison also stressed patience. Moreland peaked early in past seasons.
“With the javelin being so hard on your arm, we try to peak at the end, come out of the gate slow,” Harrison said.
Moreland has thrown his best the past two weeks, including a 6A-best 187-10 at regionals.
He also improved his mental approach.
“I think that’s what separated him this year,” Heights boys coach Steve Crosley said. “He stayed loose, but he was ready to compete every single time. He kind of tailed off a little bit last year from what he did as a sophomore, and mentally this year, he was much looser going into the meets.”
Jumping to jump
As Cheney senior Hunter Veith stood at the end of the triple jump runway, he systematically slapped each part of his body.
It’s a ritual, done to urge the blood through his body. By the time he was done with his final jump, he was the 3A state champ, going 46-4¼.
Winning the triple jump meant more to Veith than when he won his second straight long jump (23-1). In 2012, Veith failed to qualify for the state meet in the triple jump, his specialty.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a great feeling. Last year was very hard. But I learned from my mistakes. This year I’ve changed,” said Veith, who has signed with Wichita State.
Veith, who won the long jump in 4A in 2012, doesn’t overthink each jump anymore, doesn’t focus on what other jumpers are doing.
“This year, I’m clear-minded, just jumping to jump, whatever happens, happens,” he said.
Buhler’s Allen hurt
Buhler junior Riley Allen pulled out of the 4A long jump and the 200 meters because of a broken bone on the top of his right foot. Allen was the 400 relay’s anchor, but he was in pain.
“It hurts,” he said. “It hurts doing everything. … It feels like I got shot in the ankle, kind of. There’s a sharp pain.”
Allen suffered the injury during practice when he was slowing down following a sprint.
Allen isn’t sure if he’ll run in the 100 and the 400 relay on Saturday. In 2012, he finished second in the 100.
While Bishop Carroll senior Gage Garcia won the Class 5A 3200 in 9:31.54, the title isn’t what he will remember most from the state meet.
“It’s sweet, but the sweeter thing is getting to run with my partner, James (Hampton), one more time,” said Garcia, who was second in the 3200 behind teammate David Thor in 2012. “That’s what I’ll cherish more than the win here. We’ve spent so many years together, not just races, but tough practices, long weeks, even the easy runs. After all his injuries, I didn’t think I’d get to run with him. He scratched his way back to the top. He’s inspirational.”
Hampton, who missed part of the season after having a surgery on his leg for compartment syndrome, finished eighth.
Hillsboro’s Tyler Proffitt won the Class 3A pole vault at 14-0. He finished tied for fourth in 2012.
“It’s been a long year,” Proffitt said. “I’ve been working hard. Honestly, this last week was probably my worst week of practice ever. I felt like I kind of peaked at regionals. I just kind of knew I was going to jump well. I just came in, kept my head on straight.”
Emporia’s Jerel Morrow, who has signed with Oklahoma State for football, won the 5A long jump by setting a record with a 25-0¼ leap. His mark would be a record in all classes.
Morrow’s jump is the best in the nation this year, but his career best is 25-8½.
Goddard’s Mitchell Hilger won the Class 5A javelin, with his best throw of 171-2 coming on his third attempt. The event was dominated by Wichita-area athletes as Andover Central’s Kolten Holinde was second, Valley Center’s Evan Balthazor third, Valley Center’s Miles Balthazor fifth.
• Madison’s Willie Derryberry won the Class 1A high jump at 6-6.
• Centralia’s Lukas Koch set the Class 1A record in the 3200, finishing in 3:27.96, nearly three seconds better than the previous record.
• Sterling’s Jed Dierksen won the Class 2A shot put with a throw of 50-8.