In the last month of the season, Inman senior Grant Garst decided he should try the 1600 meters.
Garst had run only the 400 through junior high and his freshman year of high school, then he added the 800. He took fifth in Class 2A at the state track and field meet as a sophomore, and won the 800 as a junior.
He won the 800 Saturday at Cessna Stadium in 1 minute, 58.88. seconds.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
But the 1600 wasn’t a race he had done.
“I kind of grew up as a sprinter, then all of a sudden this season, I decided I might run the mile,” he said. “It took off from there.”
Saturday at Cessna Stadium, Garst won the 2A 1600 title in 4:25.16.
Up until May, Garst’s focus had been on the 800.
“I kind of started getting recruited for my 800, and I started putting focus on that,” he said.
He has signed with the Air Force Academy, which serves two purposes. He gets to run track in college, and he plans to achieve his childhood dream of being a pilot.
“I never really have flown, but I’ve always wanted to fly,” he said.
Carroll’s surprise title
Carroll’s 400 relay team qualified sixth and really only had hopes of setting the school record (43.23), which they had been missing by just a few tenths of a second.
“We ended up shattering it pretty good,” Carroll’s Scott Linnebur said.
Carroll, known for churning out high-caliber distance runners, won the sprint in 42.95.
Andreas Gunther got a good start and handed off to Linnebur, who promptly had a perfect handoff with Bryce Harvey.
“I was running, and I didn’t see anybody behind me,” Harey said. “I had to keep on the curve and thought, ‘hey, we could win this.’ ”
After Gunther ran his leg, he ran across toward the finish line and saw anchor Nick Meyer in the lead.
“Wait, is that Nick? Is that Nick?” Gunter remembered thinking.
Meyer, a two-time champ and record-holder in the pole vault, was in the lead.
“Yesterday the Lansing kid came out of nowhere and beat me,” Meyer said. “Today I told myself, ‘this isn’t happening. This is the last race of your high school career, the last thing you have to do.’ ”
Winfield junior Josh Hanna made sure to avoid the swimming pool before the state meet. He’d gotten an ear infection shortly before the 2012 meet after going swimming and finished fourth in the 1600, fifth in the 800.
Hanna felt good on Saturday as he won the Class 4A 1600 in 4:27.40.
“My strategy was to hang back, let the others plow the way and then, with 300 to go, go out as fast as I can,” Hanna said. “It worked out exactly as I planned. I pretended it was the last 100 meters of the race, if you can get around there, you can hold on for the last 200.”
Hanna, who won the 4A cross country title in the fall, got into distance running in seventh grade. He wasn’t that successful in cross country, but when he won several races in track, he stuck with it.
“I worked over that summer, and in eighth grade, I never lost a race. I thought I really had something, and I started to focus in on it,” he said.
Hanna also won the 800 in 1:57.44.
May wins again
Andale senior Jake May ran the kind of race hurdlers envision in the Class 4A 110 hurdles. He ran it cleanly.
“That was the first clean race I’ve had in a while,” said May, who signed with Wichita State. “Usually I’m hitting four or five hurdles out of the race, so that felt good. That was my best one this year.”
May won his second straight 4A 110 hurdles, winning in 14.47.
“When you hit one, it throws you off balance, so you’re bound to hit more,” he said. “The first one sets the tone for the race, but I’m usually fourth or fifth to the first hurdle because I’m not the best starter out of the blocks. I know my race, though. I’ll catch them at the end.”
May also finished second in the 300 hurdles.
Bishop Carroll senior Gage Garcia won his first title on Friday night in the 3200. He won his second in the 1600 (4:22.16) and then his third in the 800 (1:59.65) on Saturday.
Friday’s win “sort of took away my nerves a little bit,” Garcia said. “It was like, ‘OK, it’s just another meet then.’ ”
As Garcia started the final lap of the 1600, Liberal’s Daniel Frazier took the lead. Garcia didn’t tense up, though.
“I figured if I passed him back, he’d probably stick on me for a little bit,” he said. “I thought if I could stay with him for a little bit, I could outkick him. He’s a smart runner, a great runner.”
Wichita East’s Calil Burnett finished sixth in the Class 6A 100 in 2012. It was an impressive showing for the freshman in a stacked field that included five other City League sprinters in the top eight, including winner, Heights’ Skylarr Gatson.
Now a sophomore, Burnett finished second in 6A, running 10.83 and was the top finisher from the Wichita area. Shawnee Mission North’s Henry Bell won in 10.79. Wichita South’s Davontae Harris was fourth, running 10.85.
“I feel like I did a very good job,” Burnett said. “I’m proud of myself.”
Burnett had been the top qualifier in the morning’s preliminaries, running a 10.832, just better than the second-top qualifier, who ran a 10.833.
• Andale won the Class 4A team title. Andale tied with Andover for the team title in 2008 and won in 2007.
• Hutchinson Trinity’s 3200 relay won the Class 3A title in 8:08.07, edging Sacred Heart, which finished in 8:08.66.