By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
With just a handful of athletes at the 2023 KSHSAA Track and Field State Championships in Wichita Friday and Saturday, the Great Bend boys were in no contention for team hardware. But the Panthers did make the most of their contention by bringing home several state medals.
Senior Kaiden Esfeld kicked off action Friday night in the Class 5A 3200m run finals. He ran a personal best of 9:33.73, which was good for seventh place. Esfeld missed sixth place by a quarter of a second.
Senior Mathew Moeder also picked up a medal in the javelin Friday. His first throw of 164-2 proved to be his best of the day, good enough for sixth place. He missed fifth-place by 19 inches. Even with top-seeded Jackson Daniel of Kapaun fouling on his three throws, the event still featured two of the top-50 throws in the U.S. this year.
Esfeld picked up another medal in the 1600m run Saturday afternoon. He ran sixth in 4:24.38 to miss fifth place by half a second. Kapaun senior Luke Brock set a 5A meet record with the win by 0.23 seconds in 4:15.03. The race featured three top-10 all-class performances in Kansas this spring.
Esfeld closed out his decorated career as a Panther with his best finish of the state meet in the 800m run. He placed fifth in 1:57.85 to miss fourth place by just 0.35 seconds, and miss the bronze by 1.38 seconds. The event featured two top-10 all-class times in Kansas this spring.
There is no preliminary race for the 4x800m relay. Great Bend's team of Ramiro Rocho, Pedro Enriquez, Braylon Moore, and Alex Galindo placed 16th in Saturday morning's finals in 8:41.42, eight seconds out of 15th place.
Private schools took four of the top-five spots in the team standings, led by St. James Academy with 68.5 points. Kapaun scored 66 points for second, and Hays broke up the sweep with 51.5 points in fourth.