Long after every competitor had packed up and every team bus had rolled out of the parking lot at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium, Bishop Carroll was still on the field.
Coach Cory Swords gathered his team in the northwest corner of the track. The Golden Eagles talked for about 30 minutes after custodians started sweeping through the bleachers. And when they finished, both teams ran around the south side for one last victory lap in the empty stadium.
Bishop Carroll won its second straight Kansas Class 5A boys track and field title Sunday, edging De Soto and Andover with 64 team points. The Golden Eagles didn’t have the 119 team points of last year, but Swords said they had the same connection.
Last year, the Carroll boys finished with four individual state championships. They had three in 2019. Last year, they had 13 top three finishes. They had four in 2019.
Carroll scored a lot of team points in the fourth-through-eighth spots, and that made the difference. But senior hurdler Kody Marvin was the biggest point-scorer.
Like Joseph Holthusen did last year, Marvin won both hurdles events. His time didn’t match the current Shocker’s, but Marvin’s 20 points were among the most of any competitor in Class 5A.
Together with juniors Justin Powell and Tommy Harter, Swords said that group was a good example of the love he tried to spread through his program.
“Part of that success was Kody, and part of that was the coaches around him,” Swords said. “We have the best hurdles coach in the state of Kansas.”
Another sample came in the pole vault. Carroll had three of the top five finishers in senior AJ McCormick, who took fifth; junior Brian Simon, runner-up; and senior Ethan Hull, who won his second straight championship.
Hull and Simon went into a jump-off at 16 feet that captivated the west side of Cessna Stadium. After every clearance, they high-fived and hugged, and even after Hull won, Simon smiled as his teammate ran to him, picked him up and ran around the runway.
Swords said those two are outstanding in their own right, but McCormick has had to fight for his points and accept the value in them.
“He has had a struggling year but has continued to soldier,” Swords said. “He has struggled through injury and struggled through issues, and I just don’t want his story to be lost. With those three guys, it comes down to the love between them.”
Senior thrower Matt Redick and senior distance runner Matt Harding were the other point-scorers for Carroll along with the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
Carroll was well represented on the podium Sunday as the girls took second in Class 5A. The Golden Eagles haven’t won a team title since 2011 and fell 19 points short of St. James Academy but had six top-three finishes, including a state championship from senior Kindel Nordhus in the 400 meters at 57.49 seconds.
Swords said his program is one, not two, and the Golden Eagles shared in the glory Sunday.
“Last year, our theme was ‘Role Players,’ ” he said. “That followed in line this year. We needed to pick up one or two points from those who were willing to accept their role, and to this group’s credit, they did that.”