When South sophomore Phillip Landrum found out he would be racing Kade Remsberg, the two-time state champion from Newton, he made sure his coaches filmed the race.
Landrum, an unknown at the time, aspired to someday be someone like Remsberg, one of the fastest sprinter in Kansas. So he filmed the race, broke it down, studied what Remsberg did and found a way to translate what he learned from watching to his own races.
A few weeks later, Landrum is a known commodity in the sprints. He has broken 11 seconds in the 100-meter dash in his last three races and his season-best time of 10.74 is the fifth-fastest time in Class 6A.
“Losing to him wasn’t easy to deal with,” said Landrum, who ran an 11.05 at Heights on April 14 to Remberg’s winning time of 10.68. “But it actually helped me a lot just racing against him and seeing what he does.”
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When Landrum arrived to South, coach Cody Dickman saw a raw specimen. Landrum obviously had natural foot speed, but lacked the form and the tenacious mind frame that the great sprinters have.
As a freshman, Landrum was running close to 11.6 in the 100 – a respectable time, but nothing that would hint at him becoming the type of sprinter he has this season.
“He wasn’t real sure of himself, but you could see something was definitely there with this kid,” Dickman said. “I knew if he worked at it, he could end up being pretty good.”
Dickman said that Landrum has been a sponge, soaking up information to improve his speed. Whether that’s getting in the weight room or studying film on other successful sprinters, Landrum has put in the work to improve.
Landrum expected major improvement this season, but to already be routinely breaking 11 seconds was a surprise. At least initially.
“I was pretty surprised at first, but then I started thinking about it,” Landrum said. “I look back and I see how hard that I’ve worked and how hard the people around me have pushed me to get better and then I realized that this is something that I’ve always been able to do. I just had to work at it.”
Landrum will be one of the favorites to qualify in the 100 and the 200 on Friday at the Class 6A regional in Garden City.
He still has something to prove this season, but with two seasons left to work, Landrum hopes to one day be considered an elite sprinter.
“I think it would be really cool if someday someone is studying film of me and picking up things that I’m doing,” Landrum said. “I know I’ve got to work at it, but that’s the goal.”
“I honestly don’t know what his ceiling is because he is that raw,” Dickman added. “He’s been blessed with so much talent. I think one day he could be a kid like a Remsberg, where kids are saying, ‘We got to see Phillip race. This kid is like lightning.’ I really do believe he could be that way.”
Switch to track a fun decision for Vincze – Paris Vincze played on Andover Central’s girls soccer teams the last two springs. But after transferring to Collegiate for her junior year, Vincze is focusing on track.
Her season-best time of 26.26 in the 200 ranks third in Class 4A, while she is among the leaders in the long jump with a season-best mark of 16 feet, 91/4 inches as well.
She qualified for the state meet in both events Thursday at the Winfield regional.
“I’ve been wanting to just focus on track, like I did in middle school,” Vincze said. “It’s been a change for me, but I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m having the most fun I’ve had in a spring sport.”
Not doing soccer meants Vincze is able to spend more time in the blocks, working on her form and her starts in the 200. It also means she can spend more time with Collegiate jumps coach Jaclyn Webber, whom she credits with her improvement in the long jump.
And she’s already making plans on training for her senior year this summer.
“I’m going to do a lot of weight training this summer,” Vincze said. “We’re doing a lot of agility training and then we have speed days where we work on our form and starts and being explosive out of the blocks. I want to improve my times next year, so I can move up in those rankings.”
Andale’s title chase starts in Holcomb – If Andale is going to continue its state trophy streak – the boys are looking for title No. 4, while the girls are looking for a fourth straight top-three finish – it is going to earn it Friday at the Class 4A regional in Holcomb.
A look at the top times and marks in 4A and it’s easy to see why Holcomb is considered the toughest regional. Andale coach Greg Smarsh tries to view this as a positive, however.
“I figure the good news is that if you can make it out of this regional, then you’re going to be in pretty good shape to do well at state,” Smarsh said. “It certainly is a tough draw, but there’s nothing we can do about it so we are going to have to go out there and compete.”
The goal for Andale isn’t to chase quantity and try to qualify as many entries as possible on Friday. Smarsh’s philosophy is that quality trumps quantity at a large meet like state.
“If I have to make scratches that cost us a chance at a regional championship, I don’t care,” Smarsh said. “Right now the only thing we care about is that four in a row, so we’re going to everything we can do (Friday) to improve our chances.”