Varsity Track and Field

Girls track notes


Peabody-Burns' Lauren Pickens established herself as the best sprinter in Class 2A by winning the 100, 200 and 400 for a third straight year.

She said she's a natural competitor motivated by the thrill of winning, but what drives her most during her races is the voice of a lost friend.

"When I won the championship my first year, I lost my best friend," Pickens said. "So I always think of her when I'm running. It's motivation. It keeps me running. I can always hear her saying, 'Come on. Push. Push. Always be the best that you can be.' And I was at my best today."

Pickens finished her best event, the 400, in 57.02 seconds. It was less than half of a second off of the meet record, which she set last year.

Milbourn sweeps

El Dorado senior Molly Milbourn won the 1600 in 5:03.92 to win her first Class 4A title in the event and sweep the girls distances races. She won the 3200 Friday. Milbourn won both races by large margins.

"I got into a zone and a pace and it felt good," Milbourn said. "I just get off to a fast start and once I get into it and ease into a steady pace, I don't let up."

Maki wins twice

Kapaun Mount Carmel's Mackenzie Maki may not have set a personal record in the Class 5A 1600, but she admitted winning was a pretty rewarding consolation.

"It's not my best, But I'm happy with it," Maki said. "I'm content. I won state, but there's always room for improvement. It just makes me more motivated to go out there and work hard every day."

Falcons win 400 relay

Taylor Chandler crossed the finish line with a yell and fist pump as she held off Olathe East's Ramie Grayson to help her team win the Class 6A 400 relay in 48.13 seconds.

"It feels great," third leg Tahlia Pope said. "We were focused. We were visualizing our race and everything. We visualized as we won."

Feener takes 100, 200

Independent sprinter Imani Feener couldn't help but smile as she won the Class 3A 200. It was her second win of the day after she beat teammate Tina Liu in the 100, and she struggled to hold back tears. This is her first year running track, and everything has been a blur.

"It's so surprising," Feener said. "I'm not crying because I'm tired. I'm crying because I'm happy."

Redemption for Tjaden

After losing her shoe with the lead last year, Hannah Tjaden won the Class 4A 100 hurdles in 15.45. She beat Jill Kurtz of Chapman (15.53).

Zeiner wins second

After starting off Friday by winning the Class 3A long jump, Julia Zeiner won the 100 hurdles in 15.20. The Marion senior was pushed by Garden Plain junior Sierra Hays.

Worth noting

* Erin Merklein from South Barber got out to an early lead in the 1A 100 hurdles and held off all challengers to win in 15.31.

* Marion senior Shelby Buster threw 118 feet, 11 inches on her fifth attempt to win the Class 1A discus. She beat Callie Cordell of Little River by six inches.

* Sharon Springs sophomore Hallie Kuhlman is still unbeaten at the state meet, winning the 100, 200, 400 and 800 in Class 1A for the second straight year. She needs seven wins in her final two years to break the all-time golds record set by Claflin's Jackie Stiles.

* El Dorado's Jaimie House broke her own 4A pole vault record, clearing 12 feet, 1 inch. That's an inch better than 2009 and her third straight title.

* Maize's Dani Walker won the 6A 800 in 12:15.18.

* Madison's Shelby Buster won the 1A shot put in 34-1. The distance came on her final attempt.

—Chris Elliott