Varsity Track and Field

City League track brotherhood tops 100-meter podium

South's Deron Dudley won the Kansas Class 6A 100 meter dash on Saturday with a time of 10.59 seconds.
South's Deron Dudley won the Kansas Class 6A 100 meter dash on Saturday with a time of 10.59 seconds. Brian Hayes

The Class 6A 100-meter field has a group chat, but Friday, it went silent.

Normally South's Deron Dudley, West's Xavier Sellers or Southeast's Ollie McGee will throw trash talk into the chat. They will talk about their times or what they are shooting for the next time they hit the track.

Thursday they wished one another luck at state, but nothing by Friday's preliminaries. And by Saturday, there was a new name atop the podium.

Dudley won the 6A 100 meter dash in 10.59 seconds. He hadn't won a 100-meter race all season but did it Saturday with a blister on his heel.

"I just kept pushing myself, kept pushing," Dudley said. "Kept going up. ... I wasn't going to let anything get in my way. That's how I won. I wanted it that bad that I would let nothing take over."

Dudley finished third at his first five meets this year and came in second at South's regional, beating Sellers by five-hundreths of a second.

The big hurdles were Landrum and McGee. Landrum and Dudley are like brothers, both said as much. Landrum was the reigning 100-meter champion coming into the state meet, and McGee was last year's third-place finisher.

Dudley was runner-up in 2017 but hadn't beaten McGee all year, and those were the two it came down to. McGee finished at 10.64, five-hundreths off Dudley. Landrum said Dudley has "perfected everything" this year.

Sellers came in third at 10.80, and Landrum fell to fourth at 10.85; he would have been a back-to-back state champion in all other classes except 4A.

"I think this is good for Kansas," Landrum said. "It pushes us so much harder."

Five of the sprinters in the 2018 6A field will compete on Team Kansas in June, including all of the City League finishers. McGee said it has been an honor to be part of group as connected and talented as the 2018 6A class.

"We talk to each other every day, but once we get on the track, we're enemies," McGee said. "We're bringing a name out."

It was the last high-school run for McGee and Landrum. Dudley and Sellers will be back to carry the torch, and they will be the favorites for the 2019 crown.

Sellers was often the forgotten one in the City League this year though he won four races. West only competed against South and Southeast twice this season, and when McGee, Dudley or Landrum were in the field, Sellers never won. In fact, he finished sixth in the first meet of the year.

To finish third in arguably the deepest field in Kansas history was quite the achievement, Sellers said.

"I feel like this is the best 6A class there has ever been," he said. "I gotta work hard every day, because I know they're working just as hard as I am. They want to win just as bad as I do."

Even competitors in other classes had to marvel at what the City League did. Carroll's Austin Mernagh won the Eagles' 5A regional over Liberal's state champion Dusty Torres, but at the City League meet, Mernagh finished sixth at 10.88.

Mernagh said the 6A 100 was the race of the day.

"City League is easily the hardest meet of the year," he said. "You got four guys that can run sub-10.6. If I didn't race against those guys, I probably wouldn't be on the podium today."

Sellers said the group chat will come back to life after the state meet wraps up Saturday night. Dudley will likely be the most active, as he should be.

He said this experience among Kansas' best has been something he will never forget.

"We're brothers," he said. "But when we step on the track, it's on."