The next time Kansas’ top high school track athletes step inside Cessna Stadium, they will compete for state championships.
Some of the state’s top competitors got a taste Friday in the Shocker Pre-State meet, and several Wichita area standouts shined brightest.
Matte Swartz had never competed on a stage that big with competitors that talented.
But the Chaparral freshman finished first in the elite section of the girls high jump on Friday at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium. She cleared 5-foot-3 3/4 and beat last year’s Class 5A champion Emma Wondra of Kapaun. Swartz said she had no idea, and when she learned the result, her eyes lit up.
“That makes me really excited for state,” she said. “I’ve never really had somebody who can jump super close with me.”
Wondra won the state championship at 5-6 last year. After clearing 5-3 on her first attempt, she could not get over 5-5 3/4, but Swartz said she was surprised she performed as well as she did. The scene was daunting.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “There were a lot of people here that I have never seen before. They really intimidated me. I really thought I was going to barf before jumping.”
Girls high jump results
1. Matte Swartz - Chaparral, 5-3 3/4
2. Emma Wondra - Kapaun, 5-1 3/4
3. Talisa Stone - Perry-Lecompton, 4-11 3/4
3. Kaitlyn Rasmussen - Pratt, 4-11 3/4
5. Jaclynn Schroeder - Great Bend, 4-11 3/4
5. Avyonce Rouse - Southmoore (OK), 4-11 3/4
Last time Deron Dudley stepped in Cessna Stadium, he became a 100-meter state champion.
“It’s great to be back at WSU,” he said. “I made a lot of history for myself here, so coming back is like going home to me.”
Last year, he ran a 10.59 in the 100. Friday, he won the elite section at 10.77, one hundreth of a second off Hutchinson’s Davian Vigil’s state mark for 2019.
Dudley followed it up with another victory in the 200 meters. Wichita West’s Jaleel Montgomery set the state’s top mark in the preceding heat at 22.19, and Dudley said he was inspired watching his City Leauge foe.
“I was in the blocks getting ready,” he said. “When I heard he set the mark, I pushed myself even harder to go get it.”
Dudley finished at 21.98. Montgomery owned the state’s top time for about 45 seconds.
- Deron Dudley - Wichita South, 10.77
- Davian Vigil - Hutchinson, 10.91
- Jason Hubener - Cheney, 11.00
- Jaleel Montgomery - Wichita West, 11.01
- Xavier Sellers - Wichita West, 11.10
- Deron Dudley - Wichita South, 21.98
- Jaleel Montgomery - Wichita West, 22.19
- Shane Quinlan - Perry-Lecompton, 22.43
- Davion Gardenhire - Shawnee Heights, 22.44
- Davian Vigil - Hutchinson, 22.53
Few athletes have had better days than Needham did Friday afternoon.
The Cheney seniors won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles beating some of the strongest fields at the pre-state meet. In the 100, she beat last year’s Kansas Class 5A champion and Oklahoma 6A champion. In the 300, she topped the Kansas 6A champ and three other top four finishers.
Newton’s Maggie Remsberg was Needham’s top competition in the 100. Needham started in the seventh lane and trailed through about 75 percent of the race and flipped a switch, finishing at 15.23 seconds.
“My start was not very good, but I just kept looking over at (Remsberg) and could see her ahead of me the whole time,” she said. “Over those last two hurdles, I just kept pushing, and I got her.”
A couple hours later, Needham was back in the 300 and beat mostly the same field, including Chaparral’s Sophie Francis who figures to be among the top competitors in Class 3A this season. She finished in 45.25 seconds.
Girls 100-meter hurdles results
- Layne Needham - Cheney, 15.23
- Maggie Remsberg - Newton, 15.30
- Analya Miller - Southmoore (OK), 15.53
- Shelbie Maddy - Southmoore (OK), 15.69
- Sophie Francis - Chaparral, 15.71
Girls 300-meter hurdles results
- Layne Needham - Cheney, 45.25
- Shelby Butterfield - Shawnee Heights, 45.78
- Maggie Remsberg - Newton, 46.34
- Sophie Francis - Chaparral, 46.37
- Taylor Savolt - Garden City, 47.34
Eating Crough’s dust
Hutchinson’s finest put on a show three times.
Tayezhan Crough won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.54 seconds, besting his own 2019 state mark by almost two tenths. More impressive: He did it on a 40-degree morning.
“I’m trying to get down to the 14.1 I set last year, maybe even down to 13.9,” he said. “I warm up differently depending on the temperature, so today I took a lot of time to stretch and slowly getting everything loose.”
Crough is the defending 110- and 300-meter hurdle champion in Class 6A. He broke out as a sophomore and now has a chance to claim six individual hurdles titles in his Hutchinson career.
Crough finished the 300 in 39.35, just 0.15 seconds off Smoky Valley’s Tim Labert, who set the state mark this season at 39.20. Crough’s personal best is 37.85, which was good enough for 19th all-time in Kansas.
“This track is very special to me because in the past, special things have happened,” he said. “It just holds a special place in my heart.”
Boys 110-meter hurdles results
- Tayezhan Crough - Hutchinson, 14.54
- Jaleel Montgomery - Wichita West, 14.72
- Jerik Ochoa - Newton, 14.87
- Kody Marvin - Bishop Carroll, 14.88
- Jack Mull - Winfield, 15.14
Boys 300-meter hurdles results
- Tayezhan Crough - Hutchinson, 39.35
- Riley Petz - Cheney, 39.47
- Kody Marvin - Bishop Carroll, 39.49
- Jack Mull - Winfield, 40.58
- Brett Winsor - Pratt, 40.59
National talent in a 2A town
Tyus Wilson is in a spot not many sophomores in Sterling ever attain.
Last season, he set the top mark in America for a freshman with a 7-foot high jump. He didn’t hit that Friday, but the 6-5 sophomore leaped 6-9 and took the pre-state title. He said he believes he handles the pressure of his accomplishments well.
“A lot of the kids come up to me, so I try to set a good example for them,” he said. “I just try to present myself as best I can.”
Wilson won the Class 3A high jump last year at 6-8. He said he was disappointed with his performance despite winning a state title as a freshman. He went an inch better in his first return back, but said there is still more to come. He is looking for 7-2, he said.
“It’s a big expectation,” he said. “You get on social media, and everybody is talking about you. You just have to tune all that stuff out and focus on what you do best and let it speak for you.”
Boys high jump results
- Tyus Wilson - Sterling, 6-9
- Jonathan Wright - Conway Springs, 6-5
- Cole Landers - Andale, 6-1 1/4
- Vance Shewey - Meade, 6-1 1/4
- Talon Estes - Bucklin, 6-1 1/4
Tossing to a title
Hutchinson was the only school to have two multi-event winners.
Crough stole the show on the boys side in the running events, and Jayla Bynum did the same for the girls in the field. She won the discus at 132-9 and the shot put at 41-2 1/2.
Bynum is the defending Class 6A shot put champion after throwing 42-4 1/4, so there is still a lot of room to grow from where she finished last season. But she will be a near guarantee to bring home a title again in 2019.
Girls discus results
- Jayla Bynum - Hutchinson, 132-9
- Jacy Anderson - Andale, 126-11
- Grace Thompson - Sedgwick, 124-5
- Taylon Mendenhall - Hutchinson, 119-2
- Reagan Geihsler - Salina Central, 117-10
Girls shot put results
- Jayla Bynum - Hutchinson, 41-2 1/2
- Kade Hackerott - Goddard, 41-1 1/2
- Ames Burton - Riley County, 40-2 1/4
- Krysten Bartlett - Central Christian, 38-0
- Grace Thompson - Sedgwick, 37-0 1/4
An improved champion
A normally reserved Ethan Hull let out a triumphant, “Yes,” as he rose from the landing mat.
Hull cleared 15-3 on his third attempt for the first time in his outstanding Bishop Carroll career on Friday to win the pre-state pole vault title. Last season, he won the Class 5A title at 15-1. He is already better with weeks to go before he returns to Cessna again.
“I’m just already excited to come back and get a new PR,” he said. “I wish state was next week.”
Bishop Carroll took the top two spots in the boys elite pole vault as Brian Simon cleared 14-1 1/4 to finish runner-up. But Hill said he just felt his mechanics click on his record vault.
“16-0 sounds pretty good right now,” Hull said.
Boys pole vault results
- Ethan Hull - Bishop Carroll, 15-3 3/4
- Brian Simon - Bishop Carroll, 14-1 1/4
- Ty McPhail - Andale, 13-7 1/4
- Blake Olmsted - Salina Central, 13-7 1/4
- Dakota Whiteley - Abilene, 13-1 1/2
On a train
Kalli Anderson is looking to get back to the top and took a massive step in that direction Friday.
After missing out on her second straight 100-meter championship last year, Anderson returned to Cessna’s track and won the pre-state 100 at 12.29 seconds in the cold.
The mark was almost two tenths off her state-high mark of 12.12, so that was frustrating, she said, but with the chilly weather, a win of any kind was encouraging.
“This is my last year at Newton, so getting back here before state is like a practice run, and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
Girls 100 meter results
- Kalli Anderson - Newton, 12.29
- Jada Atkinson - Southmoore (OK), 12.57
- Eleecya Birney - Hutchinson, 12.73
- Aneesa Abdul-Hameed - Derby, 12.88
- Lajada Owens - Wichita West, 12.91
The strongest field?
There were likely two state champions on the girls pole vault runway Friday.
Last year, Bishop Carroll’s Taylor Linn won Class 5A at 10-6, and Andale’s duo of Jayden Cates and Jaden Eck were the top two non-senior finishers in Class 4A. Friday, Cates won the pre-state meet at 11-1 3/4, and Eck and Linn shared a mark of 10-8.
Linn hit her personal best with the third-place finish, but Cates and Eck have been on a path toward a state championship so far this season.
Girls pole vault results
- Jayden Cates - Andale, 11-1 3/4
- Jaden Eck - Andale, 10-8
- Tyalor Linn - Bishop Carroll, 10-8
- Victoria Maxton - Salina South, 9-8
- Georgia Bell - Salina South, 9-2 1/4
In one of the tightest finishes of the day, Bishop Carroll’s Kindel Nordhus never made it look difficult.
All eight of the top finishers came within five seconds of Nordhus’ time of 59.99, just three tenths off her top time this season.
Nordhus is the defending 300-meter hurdles champion. She didn’t run the 400 at state last year but is looking to add that to her belt in 2019.
Girls 400 meter results
- Kindel Nordhus - Bishop Carroll, 59.99
- Aneesa Abdul-Hameed - Derby, 1:00.51
- Layne Needham - Cheney, 1:00.70
- Ansley Scott - Moore (OK), 1:00.82
- Yasmine Johnson - Southmoore (OK), 1:01.26
Jumping on their shot
Wichita South’s Deron Dudley was left waiting.
The Titans dropped the baton during the boys 4x100, which left the door open for Hutch, and the Salthawks pounced. They won the elite section at 42.85 seconds.
South set the all-time state record last year at 41.62 seconds, a mark that will be in danger again in 2019 with the Titans and Salthawks both contending for it in 6A.
Boys 4x100 meter relay results
- Hutchinson - 42.85
- Wichita Northwest - 43.98
- Bishop Carroll - 44.26
- Mulvane - 44.59
- Newton - 45.01
Last year, Carter McFadden finished 13th in the Class 6A long jump, but she soared to the top going almost a foot farther at pre-state.
McFadden held off one of the top performers in Class 6A, Garden City’s Taylor Savolt, by fewer than two inches to win the event. She also beat out the Class 5A runner-up and third-place finisher from last season.
Girls long jump results
- Carter McFadden - Hutchinson, 17-4
- Taylor Savolt - Garden City, 17-2 1/4
- Shelby Butterfield - Shawnee Heights, 17-1 1/4
- Maggie Remsberg - Newton, 16-10 1/2
- Ashlynn Doebele - Burlington, 16-9 3/4
Andover’s pair of All-Metro cross country runners swept the boys elite section of the 3,200 meters.
Junior Ryan Kinnane won it at 9:54.97, and senior Asher Moen was second at 9:55.58, joining Andale in the girls elite pole vault as one of the only events to sweep the top two finishes.
Boys 3,200 meters results
- Ryan Kinnane - Andover, 9:54.97
- Asher Moen - Andover, 9:55.58
- Ethan Thompson - Meade, 9:56.14
- Britte Magnuson - Maize South, 9:56.50
- Matt Harding - Bishop Carroll, 9:56.89
A new Hope
Bishop Carroll’s Hope Jackson is having some freshman season.
Already named an All-Metro cross country selection, Jackson added another accolade Thursday by winning the girls elite 3,200 meters. She won it at 11:30.78, almost 30 seconds ahead of Maize South runner-up Alexa Rios.
Girls 3,200 meters results
- Hope Jackson - Bishop Carroll, 11:30.78
- Alexa Rios - Maize South, 11:57.97
- Claire Winter - Bishop Carroll, 12:03.43
- Jaycee Vath - Lincoln, 12:08.31
- Vivian Kalb - Derby, 12:09.31