SM West’s Cash headlines a record-breaking day at Kansas State track meet
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
State-meet records continued to fall despite the 93-degree heat at the Kansas state track and field championships, which wrapped up Saturday at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium.
While most record runs seem to come when least expected, that wasn’t the case for Shawnee Mission West junior Alli Cash, who has been so dominant in the 1,600 meters the last two seasons it was almost a given she would set a new Class 6A record.
Cash didn’t disappoint, winning the 1,600 by 20.08 seconds in 4:52.31 and breaking SM East graduate Lori Nelson’s 32-year-old record (4:55.00).
“My coach told me to go for the mile record, because he thought I could do that even with it being hot and windy,” Cash said. “The 800, he told me to just go for place.”
Still, Cash nearly broke the 800 record as well, winning in 2:15.51 – only 2.22 seconds off the pace set by Hutchinson’s Morgan Bonds in 2002.
Snagging a fourth gold medal, Cash also helped the Vikings to a 3,200 relay championship (9:24.28). She anchored the win after legs by seniors Michelle Willis and Molly Smith, along with sophomore Chloe McMahon.
“The four-by-eight is pretty important, because I love all my teammates,” said Cash, who will compete June 9 at the New York Dream Mile.
Pickell breaks 32-year-old record
While Cash was busy burning up the track, SM East junior Grace Pickell shocked even herself with the second-best girls high jump in the nation.
Pickell exceeded her personal record by 21/2 inches, winning the Class 6A high jump with a record-setting mark of 5 feet, 101/2 inches.
“I was just hoping to PR again, so when I got 5-8 on my first try I felt great and had so much adrenaline,” Pickell said. “I can’t believe I got the record. That’s amazing.”
The old record was 5-101/4, set by Wichita East’s Kym Carter in 1982.
“I was in disbelief and didn’t know what to do,” Pickell said. “I just ran up and immediately hugged my dad. That was the first thing I wanted to do, was give him a hug.”
Bishop Miege freshman Ashanti Hutton established a new Class 5A girls 400 record (55.34).
The old mark (55.90) was set in 1981 by Bonner Springs’ Viesta Suffren.
Hutton also anchored the Stags’ girls to a 1600 relay title in 4:01.88 with help from senior Anna Church, junior Emily Meyers and sophomore Anisa Moore.
Thomas leads Olathe East to fifth straight title
Olathe East won the Class 6A girls team championship for the fifth straight year, beating a pack of four local squads to nab the girls crown.
The Hawks were led by sophomore Jasmine Thomas, who turned in a scintillating gold-medal performance in the 100 (12.01). She also was closing hard on Wichita Heights’ Taylor Chandler in the 200 before collapsing in a heap with five meters remaining.
Olathe East already was assured of striking gold by that point, thanks to sophomore Kelsey Quiring’s runner-up performance in the 800 behind Cash.
Quiring also anchored the winning 1,600 relay, surging to the front of the pack down the backstretch to sweeten the team victory.
“To win one is amazing,” Hawks coach Mike Wallace said. “To win five in a row, I can’t put it into words. It’s unbelievable.”
Senior Jenny Pinkston, junior Rebekah Raetzel and freshman Valencia Hinton-Scott also ran the 1,600 relay (4:03.21).
Relays paved the way to a Class 6A boys repeat for SM Northwest, which edged Olathe East by one point.
The Cougars pulled ahead of the Hawks with a runner-up finish in the 1,600 relay (3:18.52).
The same foursome — seniors Anthony Yates, Blake Evans and Luke Schnefke and junior Jackson Barbour — teamed up to win the 3,200 (7:54.43).
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
© 2012 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansascity.com
2011 All-Sunflower League track and field
Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011
Shot put: Blake Hocking*, Lawrence
Discus: Zac Bendrick*, SM South
Javelin: Brent Guiser, Olathe East
Long jump: Jacob Schultze, Olathe East
Triple jump: Austin Flory, Lawrence
High jump: Austin Haug, Lawrence Free State
Pole vault: Kyle Engelken*, SM East
100: Adonis Saunders*, Olathe North
200: Adonis Saunders, Olathe North
400: Victor Simmons, Olathe North
800: Jalen Lewis, SM Northwest
1600: Aaron Thornburg, SM Northwest
3200: Aaron Thornburg, SM Northwest
110 hurdles: Seth Kotzman*, SM Northwest
300 hurdles: Marquel Nickens, SM South
400 relay: SM West* (Jason Crow, Ricco Hopkins, Jordan Chapman, Will Livingston)
1600 relay: SM Northwest (Evans, Lewis, Schnefke, Barbour, Fancher)
3200 relay: SM Northwest (Barbour, Lewis, Gray, Verschelden, Thornburg)
Shot put: Megan Smith*, Olathe South
Discus: Megan Smith*, Olathe South
Javelin: Lizzy Jeronimus, SM West
Long jump: Alexa Harmon-Thomas, Lawrence Free State
Triple jump: Jenny Pinkston, Olathe East
High jump: Alexa Harmon-Thomas, Lawrence Free State
Pole vault: Kendra Martiny, SM South
100: Toni Aguiar, SM East
200: Ramie Grayson, Olathe East
400: Janessa Clay, SM North
800: Alli Cash*, SM West
1600: Alli Cash*, SM West
3200: Brenna McDannold, Olathe East
110 hurdles: Alexa Harmon-Thomas, Lawrence Free State
300 hurdles: Alexa Harmon-Thomas, Lawrence Free State
400 relay: Olathe East (Erica Ousley, Jenny Pinkston, Kaylyn Williams, Ramie Grayson)
1600 relay: Olathe East (Kelsey Quiring, Jenny Pinkston, Megan Powell, Ramie Grayson, Rebekah Raetzel)
3200 relay: SM West (Willis, Smith, Mulholland, Cash)
Shot put: Brian Williamson, SM East
Discus: Brian Williamson, SM East
Javelin: Hayes Grissom, SM West
Long jump: Austin Fulson, Olathe East
Triple jump: Avery Parker, Olathe Northwest
High jump: Kendal Harland, Olathe South
Pole vault: Cameron Bock, SM Northwest
100: Will Livingston, SM West
200: Drew Johnson, Olathe South
400: Troy Wilkins, SM East
800: Stan Skwarlo, Lawrence Free State
1600: Michael Gawlick, SM South
3200: Kain Anderson, Lawrence Free State
110 hurdles: Marquel Nickens, SM South
300 hurdles: Sam McReynolds, Olathe East
400 relay: SM Northwest
1600 relay: SM West
3200 relay: Lawrence Free State
Shot put: Korbin Richards, SM South
Discus: Lizzy Jeronimus, SM West
Javelin: Laura Meschke, SM South
Long jump: Jenny Pinkston, Olathe East
Triple jump: Michon Hargrove, SM West
High jump: Grace Pickell, SM East
Pole vault: Amy Hein, SM Northwest
100: Ramie Grayson, Olathe East
200: Toni Aguiar, SM East
400: Abby Dunn, SM East
800: Kelsey Quiring, Olathe East
1600: Kelsey Quiring, Olathe East
3200: Hayley Francis, Lawrence Free State
110 hurdles: Lizzy Lothamer, Olathe South
300 hurdles: Erin Murphy, Olathe South
400 relay: SM South
1600 relay: SM East
3200 relay: Lawrence Free State
Shot put: Zac Bendrick, SM South
Discus: Blake Hocking, Lawrence
Javelin: Eric Pinkelman, SM Northwest
Long jump: DeAndre Graves, SM West
Triple jump: Lorenzo Boyice, SM West
High jump: Kai Rowden, Olathe North
Pole vault: Jeff Spangler, Leavenworth
100: David Fancher, SM Northwest
200: Jacob Schultze, Olathe East
400: Drew Johnson, Olathe South
800: Jackson Barbour, SM Northwest
1600: Ben Anstaett, Olathe North
3200: Jonah Heng, SM West
110 hurdles: David Sosna, SM East
300 hurdles: Seth Kotzman, SM Northwest
400 relay: Leavenworth
1600 relay: SM East
3200 relay: Olathe East
Shot put: Precious Ojiaka, Olathe East
Discus: Korbin Richards, SM South
Javelin: Jazmine Holbert, Olathe East
Long jump: Brooke Holmes, SM South
Triple jump: Logan Weckbaugh, SM East
High jump: Hanna Bohl, Olathe North, and Erin Murphy, Olathe South
Pole vault: Alana Steward, SM South
100: Clare Bingaman, SM South
200: Clare Bingaman, SM South
400: Hanna Jane Stradinger, SM East
800: Hanna Jane Stradinger, SM East, and Lynn Robinson, Lawrence Free State
1600: Brenna McDannold, Olathe East
3200: Alex Elliott, SM West
110 hurdles: Kierra Botley, Olathe North
300 hurdles: Chloe Weck, SM West
400 relay: Leavenworth
1600 relay: Olathe South
3200 relay: Olathe East
Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011
East girls nab fourth straight state crown
By TOD PALMER
WICHITA | Seven times now Olathe East coach Mike Wallace has seen one of his track and field teams ascend to the top spot on the podium at the Kansas 6A state track and field meet.
Of course, it never gets old even for one of the city’s longest-tenured coaches.
“I never in my coaching career thought this would ever happen,” Wallace said. “I never thought we’d win one and now we’ve won seven. That’s hard to believe, very hard to believe.”
On Saturday at Cessna Stadium, the Hawks girls claimed a fourth consecutive state crown in perhaps the most surprising championship run in the program’s history.
“This wasn’t based on one person,” East senior Megan Powell said. “It was a true team effort.”
Powell, who helped the Hawks win state titles in each season, ran the third leg for the 1600 relay, which became the first relay in Hawks history to strike gold when junior Jenny Pinkston, sophomore Rebekah Raetzel and Powell watched anchor runner Ramie Grayson, a senior, motor around three other runners down the home straightaway for the win.
“We lost several girls (at the regional meet), but we were still confident we could contend for state,” Grayson said. “But being able to finish the four-by-four so strong was an amazing way to finish. Going around those girls down the stretch was a great feeling.”
East, which started the race tied with Shawnee Mission West for first place, finished in 4:03.31 and nipped Blue Valley West by 0.57 seconds.
It was the perfect way for the Hawks to finish the perfect team day.
“We had nine events today and we placed in all nine events,” Wallace said. “We’ve got wonderful kids and kids that track is important to them, and they work very hard.”
That was the only event gold medal for the Hawks, who totaled 66 team points and finished just ahead of Sunflower League rivals SM West (58) and Free State (54).
Pinkston was second in the triple jump (37-4) for the Hawks. She finished fourth in the long jump (17-0).
The Hawks’ 400 relay, which included Pinkston and Grayson along with juniors Erica Ousley and Kaylyn Williams, also finished second (48.55) to Junction City and its star Alisha Keys.
Meanwhile, sophomore Brenna McDannold was second in the 3200 (11:34.16) behind only Wichita North junior Amber Eichkorn.
Freshman teammate Kelsey Quiring impressed in the 800, finishing third (2:20.64), and wound up sixth in the 1600 (5:24.27).
“It’s going to be awesome the next couple years, because having someone that you can train with year-round really pushes you harder,” McDannold said. “Together, we’re going to be awesome. I am already better because of her. She pushed me all year long.”
Quiring and McDannold will headline the bid for a fifth title next season along with Pinkston.
“It was fun,” Quiring said. “I didn’t run as well as I wanted in the mile. I got bunched in the back, because there were so many runners. I couldn’t come back from that. But I learned a lot. You have to be tough and can’t be nice at state.”
Senior Precious Ojiaka was fifth in the shot put (37-3 3/4), while junior Jazmine Holbert claimed fifth in the javelin (119-8).
East’s 3200 relay – sophomores Brenna McDannold and Riley Gay, senior Jessica Thomas and freshman Kelsey Quiring – snagged fourth place (9:48.85), edging rival Olathe North by nearly 4 seconds.
Freshmen Taylor Walters, Loretta Achoki, Libby Friesen and Emily Hines each ran a leg for the Eagles. In sprint events, Grayson crossed the line third in the 200 (25.68) and scooted to fourth place in the 100 (12.41).
Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011
North’s Saunders snags double gold again
By TOD PALMER
WICHITA | Two years ago, Olathe North’s Adonis Saunders sat atop the Kansas state track and field world.
But injuries kept Saunders from repeating as the 100-meter and 200 champ as a junior last spring.
With one last shot at redemption, Saunders, now an Eagles senior, came through again.
He won his second 100 title in 10.61 seconds and added the 200 crown in 21.68 to go with the pair he won as a sophomore.
“It felt good to win both again, because people were doubting me and thought I had lost my speed since my sophomore year,” Saunders said.
Saunders’ title-winning runs came on the heels of a disappointed preliminary round for the Eagles.
Among the favorites in the 400 and 1600 relays, senior Dominick Wilson pulled a hamstring as North failed to reach the final in the former relay. That led to a scratch in the latter relay, which dashed any hopes the Eagles had to finish on the podium as a team.
That made finishing strong a priority for Saunders and senior teammate Victor Simmons, who nabbed his own individual gold in the 400 (49.27).
“My coach, Jesse Owen, always told me I was going to win state my senior year, and all he ever talks about is legacy,” Simmons said. “My senior year, starting off all I was worried about was legacy.”
That legacy seems secure for both Simmons and Saunders.
“I think it’s a good legacy after coming out sophomore year and winning three gold medals then winning state our junior year in football,” Saunders said. “We came back and went to state again in football and now adding two gold medals here, I feel pretty good about it.”
Kansas football coach Turner Gill ought to feel good too. He put an emphasis on speed in recruiting after a disappointing first season with the Jayhawks, and clearly both Saunders and Simmons have the speed Gill needs.
Junior teammate Michael Gagliano was seventh in the 100 (11.10).
Meanwhile, Olathe East junior Jacob Schultze wound up second in the long jump (21-11 1/2), losing his grip on the good medal when Manhattan’s Logan Mahan topped 22 feet on his final jump.
Hawks teammate Austin Fulson, a senior, finished sixth (21-0 3/4).
East also had the javelin runner-up in senior Brent Guiser (179-6) and the 300 hurdles runner-up in the junior Sam McReynolds (39.80).
The Hawks had the seventh-place 3200 relay with freshman Nick Hinrichs, juniors Garang Anyit and Max Walden and senior Marcellus Ramsey combining to medal (8:11.27).
Olathe South also had its share of medalists.
Senior Kendal Harland was third in the high jump (6-4) with East’s Michael Williams snagging seventh (6-2).
Falcons freshman Braden Smith, whose sister set a state-meet record in the 6A girls shot put, finished sixth (52-1).
South’s 400 relay – Harland, juniors Teddy Colbert and Drew Johnson and sophomore Chris Coleman – finished seventh (43.38).
Johnson also medaled twice on his own, claiming fourth in the 400 (50.21) and sixth in the 200 (22.46).
At Kansas state track championships, Washington’s Pledger is invincible
WICHITA | To understand how good Washington senior Le’Tristan Pledger is, just gauge her reaction to winning three gold medals at the Kansas state track and field championships.
On the heels of winning the Class 5A girls long jump on Friday by more than a foot, Pledger added titles in the 100-meter hurdles and 100 on Saturday at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium. But she was underwhelmed with the performances.
I’m actually disappointed, especially with the hurdles and the long jump,” said Pledger, who finished her career with 11 gold medals at state. “My goals were to come back and break my records, but that didn’t go as planned. Still, a win’s a win, so I’ll take it, and I am very proud of my career.”
Pledger, who is headed to Texas Tech, dominated the 100 hurdles (14.19), winning by 1.37 seconds — a lifetime in a sprint final.
She also coasted to victory in the 100 (12.04) on a chilly, overcast day that wasn’t conducive to sprinting.
Team champsThree teams flexed their collective muscle in claiming overall championships.
Olathe East won its fourth straight Class 6A girls title by striking gold for the first time in the meet’s final event, the 1,600 relay.
The Hawks had been tied with Shawnee Mission West entering that race and pulled away to team gold behind senior Ramie Grayson, who passed three girls on the final straightaway as East snagged the first girls relay gold in program history (4:03.31).
“We had nine events today, and we placed in all nine events,” Hawks coach Mike Wallace said.
•SM Northwest’s boys posted an 18-point victory over Manhattan in the other Class 6A title chase.
“I don’t like telling other groups, but this is my favorite one,” Cougars coach Mike Cooper said. “I have 17 nice boys here, and then they have a lot of talent. You put the two together and — wow — we score 72 points.”
Senior Seth Kotzman, whom Cooper singled out as the squad’s leader, won the 110 hurdles (14.49), while SM Northwest also won in the 3,200 relay (8:00.77).
Junior David Fancher nipped SM West at the wire in the day’s final race as the Cougars iced their first team crown since 2002 with a gold-medal performance in the 1,600 relay (3:22.24).
•Louisburg junior Garrett Griffin defended his Class 4A boys javelin title, uncorking his best throw (200-5) on his final attempt to lead the Wildcats to their first state team title.
“My goal was 208-7, because that’s the state record, but it’ll be my goal again next year, I guess,” he said. “Obviously, I’ll take the win. Any time you can be a champion, it’s awesome.”
Records fall: Olathe South senior Megan Smith did get her coveted state-meet record in the shot put. Her winning throw (48-2) erased Manhattan’s Pinkie Suggs from the record book. The old record, 47-3 1/2 , had been set in 1982.
“I have wanted that record since my first year at state,” said Smith, who had taken first Friday in the discus. “That was again a top priority. I was getting a little nervous toward the end, but I dug down deep and was able to get it out there.”
•Gardner Edgerton senior Casey Bowen also established a state-meet record, winning the pole vault with a clearance of 16-6. That eclipsed former Trailblazer Isaac Mallory’s mark by three inches.
Double winnersThree athletes claimed two individual gold medals apiece Saturday, including SM West sophomore Alli Cash, who crushed the field in the Class 6A girls 1600 (4:58.59) and 800 (2:16.92). She also helped the Vikings’ 3,200 relay to a first-place finish.
•Olathe North senior Adonis Saunders, who will play football next season at Kansas, won his second titles in both the 100 (10.61) and 200 (21.68). He had won the events as a sophomore, but couldn’t defend those titles last spring because of an injury.
•Sumner Academy senior Tyler Sloan was the third double gold-medal winner.
She won the 100 (12.40) at the wire, edging Basehor-Linwood junior Dakkota Edmonds by 0.06 seconds and also won the 300 hurdles (44.84).
“I’m happy with two gold medals,” Sloan said. “Not many people can say they have gone to state in four events four years in a row, so I’m pretty happy with today and with my career.”
Edwards returned the favor in the 200 (25.18), edging Sloan by 0.14 seconds for the gold.
Other winnersOlathe North’s Victor Simmons won the Class 6A boys 400 (49.27) and SM West’s boys in the Class 6A 400 relay (42.24).
•Two SM South seniors struck gold: Zac Bendrick won the discus (159-0) and Marquel Nickens prevailed in the 300 hurdles (38.94).
•Blue Valley West junior Alyssa Kelly snagged her second gold medal in as many days.
Fresh off winning the triple jump on Friday, Kelly clipped Lawrence Free State freshman Alex Harmon-Thomas by one-quarter inch with a leap of 18-3 3/4 .
•Harmon-Thomas, who had won the Class 6A girls high jump on Friday, added another gold in the 300 hurdles (44.86). Senior Austin Hoag completed a Firebirds sweep in the high jump (6-4).
•Wrapping up Class 5A, Gardner Edgerton sophomore Danie Plank repeated as the javelin champ (145-0), and Bishop Miege junior Anna Church won the 800 (2:20.08).
•Piper won the Class 4A girls 400 relay (49.54), while Basehor-Linwood won the Class 4A boys 400 relay (43.15).
•Paola senior Skylar Hawkins capped an amazing high school athletic career with the Class 4A boys long jump title (22-3 3/4), while Osawatomie sophomore Tayler Soucie won the 100 hurdles (15.22).
submitted by TOD PALMER – 2011-05-28 21:54:01