May 15, 2024

What to watch: Class 5A regional track and field in Great Bend

Posted May 15, 2024 2:00 PM
Lady Panther senior Addy Nicholson is coming off league titles in the 1600m and 3200m runs.
Lady Panther senior Addy Nicholson is coming off league titles in the 1600m and 3200m runs.

Great Bend Post

Great Bend High School will host a Class 5A track and field regional Thursday. Field events begin at 2 p.m. with preliminary races on the track beginning at 5 p.m. The top four finishers from each event will qualify for the Kansas State High School Track and Field Championships held at Wichita State University's Cessna Stadium on May 24-25.

Based on regular-season rankings, here are some of the top times and marks among the athletes in competition Thursday:

The Lady Panthers have won three-straight regional titles. Teams from eight other schools will be pushing to end that streak, perhaps most notably, Salina Central.

100m dash: Newton's Mackenzie Sauerwein and Salina Central's Elle Denning are ranked No. 4 and 5 in the class, respectively. Hays also has a pair of sprinters in the top 16.

200m dash: Sauerwein is ranked No. four in the class, followed by Denning at No. 7. Hays' Kamryn McCall is ranked No. 11.

400m dash: The GB regional will feature four ranked sprinters, led by Valley Center's Laney Hooper at No. 3. Goddard's Leah LaPlant and Newton's Maisie Brubacher are also top-seven sprinters.

800m run: Great Bend's power has been in the distance events. Salina Central freshman Kaylie Schultz enters at No. 6 in 5A (2:19.94), with Great Bend senior Eliana Beckham ranked No. 9 (2:20.35). Salina South's Ava Lemaster is ranked No. 11 at 2:21. Lady Panthers Reese Bullard and Sienna Smith could push for the fourth qualifying spot with Bullard's season-best at 2:25.

1600m run: Salina Central junior Katelyn Rupe has already committed to North Carolina and ranks No. 15 all-time in Kansas at 4:54.45 this year. Her freshman teammate Schultz is ranked No. 6 in Kansas this spring (5:00.17). Great Bend senior Addy Nicholson ranks No. 14 in 5A (5:21), and Smith has gone as fast as 5:30 this spring.

3200m run: Rupe is better in longer races, and her 10:17 at the KU Relays last month ranks No. 6 all-time in Kansas and No. 2 in the state this year. Schultz ranks No. 4 in Kansas at 10:32. Those are the only two ranked runners in the Great Bend field, with Nicholson entering with a season-best 11:46 and Marissa Boone at 11:54.

100m hurdles: The GB regional features four of the top 13 hurdlers in 5A this spring, with Salina South's Tamia Cheeks at No. 4 (15.41) and Hays' Lyndi Zimmerman at No. 5 (15.46). Lady Panther senior Sadie Spray has made strides in her return to the event with a season-best of 16.43, which trails fourth-seeded Anai Fernandez of Newton by 0.35s.

300m hurdles: Lady Panther senior Kenzie Premer is the reigning three-time state runner-up in the event. With Premer out, the torch falls to Spray, who enters ranked No. 12 in 5A (48.56). She will be the No. 3 seed out of four top-16 hurdlers at the regional. Cheeks and Zimmerman are ranked No. 9 and 10, respectively.

4x1: The GB regional features four of the top 13 teams in 5A, led by Hays at No. 5.

4x4: Great Bend leads a field of three ranked teams at the regional. The Lady Panthers are ranked No. 9 in 5A (4:10.47) with No. 13 Valley Center clocking in at a best of 4:11.67.

4x8: Great Bend's marquee event on the track this season has been the 4x8. The Lady Panther team of Beckham, Bullard, Smith, and Kate Welcher posted a school-record 9:39.52 that ranks No. 3 in 5A and No. 7 all-class this year. Great Bend's season-best is 28 seconds faster than eighth-ranked Valley Center.

High jump: Hays junior Katie Linenberger cleared the state bar last May at 5-4 to claim second place behind Great Bend's Valarie Luna, who graduated last year. Spray also cleared 5-4 to finish third in the field. She recently tied that personal best to tie for No. 12 all-class this spring. At the same meet, Linenberger cleared 5-6 to tie at No. 5 all-class. South's Cheeks has also cleared 5-4 this year. The GB regional features seven of the top 15 jumpers in 5A this year. Junior Cassie Ellegood, another state qualifier last year, enters as the No. 4 seed at 5-2.

Long jump: The GB regional is again loaded with six of the top 13 jumpers in 5A. Hays freshman Lynsi Kanak and senior Lilian McGrath have each gone further than 17-7.

Triple jump: South's Cheeks is ranked No. 2 in 5A at 37-0. The GB regional will feature four of the top 14 jumpers in 5A.

Javelin: Lady Panther senior Macy Nachtigal has been the 5A leader for most of the season. Her best throw of 141-4 leads the class by seven feet and ranks No. 5 all-class. Hays' Rylen Harrington is ranked No. 2 in 5A (134-5), and Great Bend will see six of the top-15 throwers in 5A.

Shot put: Goddard-Eisenhower's Leah Wilkinson and Stella Kitt rank No. 1 and 3, respectively, in 5A. Wilkinson's top throw of 43-6 ranks No. 5 all-class. The GB regional features five of the top 13 throwers in 5A, with the No. 15 ranking at 36-11. Lady Panther sophomore Allie Gerhart has a best toss of 35-8.

Discus: The GB regional is loaded with five of the top six throwers in 5A, all with throws of at least 126-7. Eisenhower's Wilkinson is ranked No. 6 all-class at 140-4. In all, seven of the top 16 throwers in 5A will be in Great Bend. Lady Panther sophomore Kimberly Hofflinger has a season-best of 115-10.

Pole vault: The GB regional is again tough with seven of the top 15 vaulters in 5A. Salina South's Bethany Hicklin and Salina Central's Anna Hogeland are ranked No. 1 and 2 in the class, respectively, at 11-1 and 11-0. Great Bend freshman Kayle Baldwin has a best height of 9-0.

100m dash: The GB regional features six of the top 16 sprinters in 5A. Valley Center's Tyler Mankse ranks No. 4 at 10.75, and Goddard's Micah Johnson sits at No. 5 (10.78), but both of those times are from April. Hays senior Malik Bah ranks No. 16 but ran a season-best 11-flat last week.

200m dash: Five of the top 16 sprinters will be in Great Bend. Manske again leads the way at No. 5 in 22.10, closely followed by Hutchinson's Christopher Lachenmeier. Salina Central's Kamryn Jones is also ranked in both the 100m and 200m dashes.

400m dash: The GB regional features just two ranked sprinters at No. 14 and 15. Great Bend's Ramiro Rocho has a season-best of 51.61, which is just half a second slower than the ranked times.

800m run: There are no ranked runners at the GB regional. A 1:59.38 was required to crack the top 16 in 5A this spring. Great Bend's Ismael Ramirez and Braylon Moore both have best times of 2:03.

1600m run: The GB regional again features no ranked runners. A time of 4:27.60 was needed to make the top 16. Ramirez has a season-best of 4:37.18, and Tavon Stroup has gone as fast as 4:41.41.

3200m run: The 2-mile again features no ranked runners in the GB field. A 9:43.55 was good enough for the No. 16 spot in 5A this spring. Stroup has a best time of 10:17.70.

100m hurdles: The GB regional will feature three of the top 13 hurdlers in 5A, led by Goddard's Tyson Wallace at No. 7 (14.73) and Eisenhower's Justus Reynolds at No. 8 (14.91).

300m hurdles: Wallace and Reynolds are the top-two hurdlers in 5A this spring. Wallace ranks No. 4 all-class at 38.92, and Reynolds ranks No. 6 all-class at 38.97. Hays' Carson Avery is ranked in both 5A hurdle events.

4x1: The GB regional features four of the top 11 teams in 5A, and Eisenhower is ranked No. 15 in the class. Goddard ranks No. 7 all-class at 42.47.

4x4: Five of the top 15 teams in 5A will be in Great Bend. Hutchinson ranks No. 4 in the class at 3:25.30, closely followed by Salina South.

4x8: The Panthers enter with a season-best of 8:25.66 to rank No. 10 in Class 5A as the No. 2 seed at the regional behind Valley Center, ranked No. 9. Salina Central is ranked No. 13.

High jump: Great Bend will see two of the top 13 jumpers in 5A. Hays' Kamani Jones ranks No. 2 in the class at 6-6.

Long jump: Six of the top 16 jumpers in 5A will be in Great Bend. Hutchinson's Terrell King is ranked No. 3 at 22-9.5. Panther freshman Cooper Ohnmacht is the No. 5 seed at a season-best 22-0.5 to rank No. 13 in 5A.

Triple jump: Five of the top nine jumpers in 5A will be in Great Bend. Ohnmacht ranks No. 2 in 5A with his school-record of 46-5.5, which ranks No. 4 all-class. Hays' Jones ranks No. 8 all-class with a season-best of 45-9.

Discus: The GB regional will feature six of the top 14 throwers in 5A. Goddard's Matrix Eames ranks No. 2 in 5A at 172-3, which ranks No. 7 all-class. Great Bend's Conner Holliday has a season-best of 139-9 to trail the final ranked thrower in Great Bend by seven feet.

Shot put: Great Bend will see four ranked throwers, but Goddard's Eames leads the class by 15 inches at 57-1, the fifth-best throw in Kansas this spring.

Javelin: The GB regional features seven of the top 13 throwers in 5A. Newton's Niko Ramos is ranked No. 2 at 189-9, followed by Hays' Dalton Meyers at No. 3 (179-10).

Pole vault: The GB regional has seven of the top 15 vaulters in 5A. Salina South's Dylan Brice and Hays' Harley Zimmerman both have clearances at 14-0.