Running for a record _ When Mulvane senior Evan Landes ran the Kansas Relays 3200 meters in 9 minutes, 14 seconds in April, he increased his season goals. He already had set the goal of winning the Class 4A 3200, but after KU, Landes decided he was going after the 4A meet record of 9:27.9, set in 1981 by Lyons' Mike Rogers.
Landes fell just short Friday, winning in 9:28.11.
"The conditions are just about as good as you can ask for at the state meet," said Landes, who has signed with KU. "It's notoriously bad here. The little headwind that I had, the last three laps, it threw me off a little bit.
"I'm still happy with the win, but I would have liked to have broken the record. I didn't feel quite as smooth as I wanted to. I tried to stay relaxed and run the way I wanted to run."
Waiting to win _ Andover's Grant Ralston knew he needed a great final jump in the 5A triple jump because Bishop Miege's Richard Smith had taken the lead on his final jump.
On Ralston's final attempt, he felt a pop in a knee, but it didn't hinder him, finishing at 46-3 1/2, bettering his personal best by two feet to win his first title.
"After I found out I got first place, all the pain went away," Ralston said.
Finding motivation _ Maize South high jumper Kerry Graber was irked that he had only cleared 5-10 in the Class 4A meet last year. Instead of giving up, he increased his workouts _ lifting weights more frequently, doing plyometrics and leg workouts. He won Friday, clearing 6-8.
"I kind of choked last year and I did bad," Graber said. "I didn't want that to happen this year, so I was real motivated.
"I came out more dedicated to my sport. Right at the beginning of the year, I went 6-4, which was my best last year. The next meet I went 6-6, so I wanted to keep doing better and better."
Nothing new _ In the moments after Bishop Carroll junior David Thor won the 5A 3200 meters in 9:37.85, he didn't feel any different.
Since he approached the state meet as nothing special, he didn't get sucked into going at a faster pace than he wanted and started in the middle of the pack.
"I know kids get the jitters because it's the state meet," he said. "I learned to back (off the pace) or I'll eat it in the end if I don't. I think it's a good idea to go out a little slower than the rest."
Thor goes for titles in the 800 and 1600 today.
First timer _ Carroll senior Alex Hill won the 5A high jump at a personal-best 6-6. It was his first trip to the state meet.
"It's insane," Hill said. "I really didn't expect it. Those other guys were really good. I just peaked today."
Getting some help _ Hillsboro senior Joel Allen got a little help from his future roommate at Tabor College, Minneapolis' Garrett Daugherty. Allen, who won the Class 3A 3200 meters in 9:50.06, credited Daugherty with pushing him.
"It was a chore to run him down three or four times, but ultimately, I think it was because of him that I was able to pull away from everyone else," Allen said."... I was determined to stay right behind the leader or be the leader. When he got so far out in front of me, at one point, he was 15 meters ahead of me, around the mile mark, I think was when it was. I had to chase him down. I couldn't let him continue to be out there like that. He pulled me out hard and really extended the lead for me."
Wanting more _ Halstead senior Dakota Becker has been pole vaulting since he was young, often using old poles in his backyard. His dad, Dennis, was a pole vaulter at Maize.
That experience paid off as Dakota Becker got his first state title, winning the pole vault with a jump of 14-0. He missed at 14-6.
"I really wanted to make 15-1 or 14-6, but I guess I got my (personal record)," Becker said. "I've always wanted to win state, but I also wanted to get 15-1 because that's the school record."
He wasn't the only one not pleased with his performance. Chaparral's Sione Siale, the defending champion in the 3A javelin, repeated with a throw of 181-9. But he wanted the state record.
"Winning is all right," Siale said.
He will try to defend his 3A shot put title today, but he won't have the chance to win all three titles after he finished fourth in the discus.
The last male athlete to win three throws events was Marion's Gary Melcher in 1969.
Repeat _ Hutchinson Trinity's Brandon Koenigsman successfully repeated in the 3A discus, winning with a throw of 164-6.
"It means a lot to me knowing that I won a state championship by myself twice in a row. It means a lot to me because of all the hard work I put into it, all the days of practice," he said.
The first throw by Koenigsman, who had a large cheering section, showed his nerves as it went out of bounds. He made sure he had a slow turn on his second throw, just to get one in. After his third throw, he knew he was in the finals, so he relaxed the rest of the competition.
Worth noting _ Buhler's Andrew Pope won the 4A pole vault at 14 feet. He finished tied for third in 2010.
* Conway Springs' Joseph Gerber won the 3A triple jump with a personal-best 45-6 1/2.
_ Joanna Chadwick