By KEVIN THOMPSON
WICHITA — Friday's opening day of the Kansas state track and field meet was filled with ups and downs for the two area 4A boys teams.
Ulysses' Izzy Mendoza began his final state track meet in style, shaving 14 seconds off his personal best to capture silver in the 3,200-meter run.
Mendoza took advantage of the 8 a.m. coolness, clouds and light breeze to run his strongest race of the year, at time of 9:43.82. The senior ran with winner Angel Vasquez of DeSoto for nearly the entire race.
"I was right on him the whole time, then he started breaking away the last 300 meters," Mendoza said. "I don't have that good of a kick, so I should have out-paced him with two laps to go."
Mendoza, ranked sixth coming into this race, had a logical reason for cutting off so much time.
"Usually I have two or three events under me before doing the two-mile. Today I was running on a full tank," he said. "And the weather was awesome, too."
Jacob Martin of Hugoton placed seventh in 9:58.64.
Mendoza has the 1,600 meters and 4x800 relay today. If Friday's time was any indication, he said he expects a fast mile.
Ulysses' 4x800 relay team came into the state meet with the fastest time in its 4A regional last week, and Mendoza, Collin Widder, Kyle Zerr and Carlos Galindo will be looking to make that stick.
Tate Annis qualified fourth (second in his heat) in the 200-meter dash in 23.03, his favorite running event.
"I was feeling a little tired today, but I made it into the finals and that's what matters," Annis said. "I'll come back ready to get them Saturday."
Annis, who placed fifth last year (22.78), said he feels competitive for Saturday, and taking off a quarter of a second is in reach.
Unfortunately, Annis' long jump hopes fell short as he placed sixth with a best jump of 21-7 in the prelims and 21-3.5 in the finals, far short of his 22-10 to start the season.
Two of his jumps started from behind the mark, though, so who knows what might have been, he said.
"It was just one of those days. I don't know what else I could have done," he said. "I just came up short on the board. I didn't feel real great leaving the board."
The Tigers' 4x100 team missed qualifying for Saturday's finals by one place — just .02 seconds.
Avery Stegman of Hugoton placed sixth in the shot put after winning his flight with a throw of 48-05. He will throw the discus Saturday.
Saturday could hold more points for Ulysses and Hugoton, with both having entries in the 4x800 relay and the 1,600-meter run.
Annis also has the 100 meters, Garrett Kissell has the high jump, and Tregg Rodriguez has the triple jump for Ulysses.
Patrick Weaver and Skylar McLain also have the 800-meter run for Hugoton.
See results in Track Scoreboard, Page B4.