Varsity Track and Field

All-Metro Girls Track: Meet the Eagle’s second annual team, featuring 20 state champs

In 2019 alone, 20 state champions made the Eagle’s All-Metro Girls Track and Field team. Here are the selections:

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Newton’s Kalli Anderson, 2019 Wichita Eagle High School All-Metro Girls Track and Field 100 meters selection
Newton’s Kalli Anderson, 2019 Wichita Eagle High School All-Metro Girls Track and Field 100 meters selection Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

One of the greatest sprinters in Kansas high school history, Anderson capped her career in style.

She hit a 2019 personal record at Newton’s Class 5A regional tournament at 11.59 seconds in the 100 meters. A year earlier, she went one-hundreth better and set the No. 2 mark in Kansas history. This marks her second straight All-Metro selection at the 100 meters.

Anderson won the 5A 100, 200 and 4x100-meter relay. The performance came on the heels of a humbling performance at state last year where she was beaten in the 100 and 200 meters.

“I’ve had some great sprinters, but Kalli is the fastest girl I’ve ever coached,” Newton coach Tad Remsberg said at the state meet. “There’s just no doubt about it.”

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Cheney has produced some outstanding high school athletes, and Needham is near the top.

Needham won three more state championships in 2019, the 100- and 300-meter hurdles along with the 4x100-meter relay in Class 3A.

She helped the Cardinals to a runner-up team finish in 3A, the school’s best finish since winning in 2014. Her five individual titles and nine state medals tied her sister Taylor for most in school history.

“That’s probably one of my favorite moments is getting a first-place medal from her and giving her a hug, standing up and having Lucas Schroeder say my name,” Layne Needham said.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Circle’s Kim Cook, 2019 Wichita Eagle High School All-Metro Girls Track and Field 200 meters selection
Circle’s Kimalee Cook, 2019 Wichita Eagle High School All-Metro Girls Track and Field 200 meters selection Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

At her first state meet in a Circle tank, Cook turned all the Class 4A eyes her way.

After spending her freshman season at Remington, Cook won the 100 meters in 12.25 seconds, tying a personal record (PR), and finished her individual meet with another title. She won the 200 in 26.28, about 1 second off her season’s best time.

She will have plenty of time to move up the Kansas leaderboard.

“I didn’t want to have too high of expectations this year, so to win it all as a sophomore is pretty cool,” Cook said at state. “I just focused on me and on my race, and I honestly didn’t think I won until I looked up and saw my time. I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches for helping me not to be so tense and helping me relax.”

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Newton’s Maggie Remsberg Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Arguably no runner at state ran with more visible passion.

After falling in the 100-meter hurdles at regionals and failing to qualify for state, Remsberg came back and blitzed a 300-hurdles field that included All-Metro selection Kindel Nordhus of Carroll to win her second individual title with a time of 43.36 seconds.

Remsberg set her career PR for the No. 7 time in Kansas history. Last year, Remsberg was selected All-Metro in the 100 hurdles.

“I don’t know if there’s any way to make up for that disappointment, but it definitely softens the blow,” Newton coach Tad Remsberg said at state. “She came in with the right mindset. She figured it out down that last home stretch where it really, really hurts and she went to where she’s never went before.”

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Nordhus entered the 2019 state meet with top-10 times in four events.

The Bishop Carroll star helped push the Golden Eagles onto the team podium, finishing runner-up to St. James Academy. She was the No. 2 scorer in Kansas this year.

Nordhus, who will run track at Kansas State, won the 400 in 57.49 seconds. It was a PR and the No. 3 time in Kansas in 2019.

“This was a pretty special group,” Nordhus said. “Everyone seriously did so well. Boys, too, and girls as well.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Wiebe’s career has been one of consistency.

She finished fourth in the Class 5A 400, fourth in the 800, third as part of Andover Central’s 4x800-meter relay team and captured her first title with the 4x100 team. Her All-Metro selection comes in the 800 in 2 minutes, :21.35 seconds.

Wiebe earned eight top-five finishes throughout her career, including four in the 800. This marks her second straight All-Metro selection in the event.

“I got fourth as a freshman and just kept trying to knock it down,” Wiebe said. “It was really cool for it to be the last race of the 4x4 and finally crossing in first.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Few freshmen snag an All-Metro honor in any sport, but Ecord is one of two in 2019 to get a pair.

After making The Eagle’s All-Metro cross country team, Ecord earns the nod in the 1,600. She finished third in Class 5A at 5:19.59. She also earned a sixth-place finish in the 800 and helped Maize to a top-three finish in the 4x400 relay.

Ecord’s state meet was special, she said. She got the chance to perform on Kansas’ biggest stage alongside her brother Kael.

“It was great because this was his last year and my first year,” Ecord said. “I was just really excited that we were able to do that together.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Along with the other distance runner on the All-Metro team, Jackson is believed to be one of two freshmen to earn two All-Metro honors in their first high school seasons.

Jackson was selected to the cross country All-Metro team and followed it with a pick in the 3,200 meters. She finished second in Class 5A at 11:15.15. Jackson did not run the 1,600 at Carroll’s regional meet, but she focused her energy on the 800, 3,200 and 4x800 relay. It paid off with a trio of top-five finishes.

Jackson said the inspiration to get better is easy to find.

“It was a lot to take in, but I had teammates that pushed me,” she said. “It’s so cool knowing I got second my freshman year. I know I can only improve from here.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Garden Plain had one of the most outstanding girls sports seasons in Kansas history.

Following volleyball and girls basketball state championships, the Owls not only won their second straight 4x100-meter relay title at 50.05 seconds but also brought home the team title.

“Even though I wasn’t part of the volleyball or basketball team, I knew that track needed to win,” senior Macy Catlin said.

Junior Claire Clark was part of all three championship teams in 2019. She said though all were memorable, the track title stands out.

“We just worked so hard together,” Clark said. “We were pushing all season. Coach (Eric Rockers) never lets us think, ‘Oh, It’s going to be easy.’ He always stayed on us.”

Senior Nikole Puetz said what the Garden Plain girls accomplished was amazing and “unbelievable.”

“It was pretty special to go two years in a row,” she said.

The Owls’ relay had a champion on the anchor leg. Freshman Brooke Hammond, who won the 100 and 200 meters, brought home the title in the 4x100.

“My mom did track in high school, and she did really good at it,” she said. “My dad did it, and it just kept going. I’ve been doing it since I was 6. I just kept training and training, and I guess it paid off.”

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The Andover Central 4x400-meter relay team has gone through a classification change and has worked its way to the top.

After a 10th-place finish in 2016, coming in fourth a year later and runner-up last season, the Jaguars won the Class 5A title at 4:02.27, a season’s best. Senior Kinsley Ochsner was part of every year’s relay and was selected to the All-Metro team in the triple jump last year.

“The whole season we definitely knew that we had a chance to win, but in the back of our minds, I think we thought, ‘Well we don’t want to get our hearts too set on it,’” Ochsner said. “But seeing Hannah (Wiebe) cross the finish line in first and holding our lead the whole time was a big shock.”

Freshman Brittany Harshaw stepped in and made an immediate impact. She will be one to watch in the Wichita area across multiple sports going forward.

“We were definitely pretty close, and all three seniors were just such great leaders and role models,” Harshaw said.

Senior Peyton Vincze was familiar with a big stage. Vincze plays for an Olympic Development soccer team, which keeps her off the Jaguars’ high school team, and has earned caps on the Welsh National Team.

“I know how to perform under pressure,” Vincze said. “And fitness-wise with soccer, that helped me on the track.”

But the Jaguars’ anchor, Wiebe, seemed to deserve the title most. After eight top-five finishes, including a pair in the relay, Wiebe had never been atop the podium.

“Three of us are seniors, so we all got really close over this season,” she said. “Right when I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t believe it, and I was about to start crying. Then they all tackled me, and we couldn’t stand up. It was really funny and really surreal.”

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Berean was a state runner-up with a time of 10:15.05, but its best time this season was 9:59.55, the No. 15 time in Kansas in 2019 and the best in Class 1A. That time would have won three classifications’ state championships.

The Warriors’ runner-up finish was more than 22 seconds better than last year at state when they finished seventh. It marked their fifth top-three finish in the past six years.

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Masters will likely represent history next year.

Verbally committed to Wichita State, Masters’ signature on her National Letter of Intent would be Bluestem’s first to a Division I program in any sport.

This year, Masters won the Class 2A long jump at 17 feet, 1 3/4 inches for the first championship of her career after finishing runner-up in the high jump last year. She also came in third in the high jump and 10th in the 100 meters.

“Last year I really thought I would get first in the high jump, and when they called my name for second, I was so mad,” Masters said. “When they called me for first in the long jump, I was just so happy I threw my hand up. ... It’s awesome to be the first for something this big.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Sebastian is becoming one to watch next season.

She caught fire late this season. She set the school triple jump record at Northwest’s Class 5A regional meet, winning the title. With her leap, she became a three-time state qualifier in three tries.

At state, she finished third at 36 feet, 5 inches, improving on a 10th-place finish last year and not even qualifying in the event as a freshman.

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Cantu has had a wild run to becoming a state champion.

She finished 12th as a freshman, focusing her career in the high jump. As a sophomore, she improved drastically, finishing fifth. But last year, she dropped back to seventh at state.

In 2019, she set the school record at 5 feet, 5 inches and won the Class 4A title at 5-4. She corrected the downward turn and became just the second girls track and field champion out of Augusta since before 2014. She joined her teammate and fellow All-Metro selection senior Abbee Rhodes.

“I still can’t believe it sometimes,” Cantu said. “Going into high school and running track, this has always been my biggest goal is to win state. All my letdowns int he past three years really kind of sucked, so to win this one was awesome.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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In the middle of one the most competitive pole vault hubs in Kansas, Eck shined.

Last year, Bishop Carroll’s Taylor Linn won the state title in Class 5A, and Eck came in fifth at 11-0. This year, the All-Metro field improved significantly with Linn still around and her teammate Jayden Cates with the No. 5 mark in the state.

Eck represented the family name well, winning the 4A title at 12-0. Her mark was a foot better than last year and good for No. 20 all-time in the state. This marks her second straight All-Metro honor.

“It was awesome after experiencing my sister win; it was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Eck said. “It was easier for us because we all competed against each other all throughout the year. It was just a really good experience.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Rhodes is one of three All-Metro selections heading to Division I programs next year and likely has the highest profile.

Signed to Texas Tech, Rhodes finished her career with two state shot put championships, winning in 2019 with a toss of 41 feet, 3.75 inches, and six state medals.

Rhodes’ PR was 45-2, and though she didn’t hit that at state this year, she became one of the only two-time track champions in Augusta history. This marks her second straight All-Metro selection.

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Thompson has what some would consider a non-traditional lineup of events.

In 2019, she qualified for state in the 100 and 200 meters, shot put and discus. She didn’t finish lower than sixth in any of them and brought home the first two titles of her career.

Thompson won the Class 2A shot put at 39 feet, 2 inches and the discus at 131-4. Marking her second straight All-Metro discus nod, Thompson had a season best of 137-8 in 2019.

“It felt pretty good to perform pretty well despite the schedule changes,” Thompson said. “It was just almost a relief that all the hard work that I have put in has paid off.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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It will be a busy summer for Fairchild.

With trips to the East Coast and Europe to compete in the javelin, a second straight All-Metro selection for the Andale sophomore likely won’t be her last.

She won her first state title in 2019 with a PR toss of 156 feet, 11 inches, No. 14 in Kansas all-time. She also came in the top four in the shot put and discus.

“This is something that I never expected to happen,” Fairchild said. “I’ve always wanted to travel, so the fact that I get to do something I love while doing it is really great.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Handed some of the most accomplished Kansas high school athletes of 2019, Rockers carried on the roll.

Garden Plain won the Class 2A girls track and field team title with 71.5 points, 14 ahead of Bennington in second. The Owls had four state championship performances, including one in the 4x100-meter relay, which earned All-Metro honors.

Two more came from freshman Brooke Hammond who won the 100 and 200 meters. In total, Garden Plain had eight top-five finishes at state.

“The craziness of the state meet this year, going over three days for the first time in 109 years, was just mass chaos, but it allowed me another couple of days with those girls,” Rockers said. “And that was an awesome experience.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle
Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.