Varsity Track and Field

Pickens still tough to keep pace with

When Peabody-Burns junior Lauren Pickens walks through the halls at school, her friends tell her she doesn't stroll, she power walks. Everywhere she goes, she's moving quickly.

"She's always in a hurry," Peabody-Burns track coach Kim Topham said.

Friday at the Shocker Pre-State track meet at Cessna Stadium, that was especially true as Pickens won the elite division 100 meters, 200 and 400.

Pickens edged Shawnee Heights' Abreanna Parker twice — Pickens won the 100 in 12.28 seconds, while Parker finished in 12.33.

"That was a pretty close race," Pickens said. "I didn't know who got it. I saw her shadow and my shadow, so I leaned at the end."

Pickens, who will run at the Kansas Relays next week, won the 200 in 25.32, just ahead of Parker in 25.43.

Pickens won the 400 by nearly two seconds. Andover Central's Tiffany Bias, the defending Class 5A state champion, suffered a quadriceps injury last week. She pulled up near the finish line Friday, taking third.

"The elite division was a pull," Topham said of bringing Pickens to WSU. "To have her compete against other runners of her quality.... Some of it I was shocked this early in the season to have her do (that well). But I know Lauren. She has that little extra that it takes to win. She has the ability and she has decided that she'll work for it."

* Valley Center junior Joe Fisher decided in the offseason that track was his focus. He lifted weights five days a week with the basketball team, working on getting power in his legs and putting on weight.

It is paying off.

Fisher finished second in the elite 100 meters at 10.74, losing to Wichita Trinity's Morgan Burns, who won in 10.71.

Fisher then won the 200 meters in 21.7 — the first time he's broken 22 seconds — while Burns finished in 22.1. Garden Plain's Kurt Pauly finished third in 22.4.

"I knew both races were going to be nailbiters," Fisher said.

He ran the curve well in the 200, but Burns was right with him.

"The stretch carried me through," Fisher said. "I hit another power phase the last 50 meters. I could hear (Burns). He was breathing down my neck."

As for Burns, he had hoped to run the 100 against Northwest's Demarcus Robinson, who scratched.

"I always run against little schools, 3A, 4A," Burns said. "I wanted to run against bigger schools, get out and have fun.... I'll run against whoever. The competition was good."

Pauly, who won the 100, 200 and 400 in the 2009 Class 3A meet, was glad to be a part of the elite division.

"That's the first time I've competed against 1(A) through 6A," Pauly said. "It's a different feeling — you know you're in with the best. It would be an honor to place against those guys. You're part of the elite. You know that even running the race is something special."

Pauly got a win in the 400, holding off Burns to finish in 49.53.

* The Heights boys showed they've got a wealth of sprinters when they finished 1-2 at the Maize invitational in the 400 relay on Tuesday.

At Cessna Stadium, the Falcons showed it again when the 400 relay finished in 43.47, more than a second better than runner-up Andale. And they did it despite a poor handoff, and despite it being a new team.

"We only got a little bit of work done yesterday," Heights coach Steve Crosley said. "We'll fine-tune those handoffs, and we'll be in really good shape."

Dreamius Smith was added to the relay team as its anchor, while two other spots were shuffled. Lewis Taylor returned to run the first leg, and he had made up the first stagger well before he made the handoff.

"I think I have an advantage coming out of the blocks, so I wanted to use that to get out of the blocks and give my team a big lead," Taylor said.

* Bishop Carroll's Cara Detmer won the elite pole vault with an leap of 11 feet, 6 inches. Yet she wasn't satisfied.

"I've jumped 12 before," she said. "Today I jumped 12, but I hit (the bar) on the way down. Frustrating."

Detmer finished third in Class 5A in 2009, jumping 10-6.

"It was not my best meet," she said. "I would really like to get to 13 this year. That's my all-time goal. But I'm just trying to get better each meet."

* Northwest's Andrew Etheridge is an intimidating presence in the infield during a track meet — even with his pink hat and pink and white socks.

His focus this season isn't only on pre-race preparation, though. It's on winning the 110 and 300 hurdles in 6A and helping his team win a 6A title.

He's off to a good start with wins in both events in the elite division. He won the 110 hurdles in 14.26 and the 300 hurdles in 40.45, more than a second better than the runner-up.

"I don't really know what happened (last year at state)," Etheridge said. "Our whole team didn't do well at state. That's what happens. I can say I'm focused on winning myself, but I'm focused on winning a team title. I think we have a good chance."

* Andover's Danielle Robinson won the elite high jump at 5-1 3/4.

The Trojans also had a win in the elite triple jump with Kimberly Clark, who went 35-2 1/2. Teammate Baylee Clifton finished third with a jump of 34-4.

* Kapaun Mount Carmel's Emily Cook finished second in the elite shot put and discus, both times behind Great Bend's Alex Hartig.

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