Wichita County's Wells sweeps distance races at Scott City Relays.
By BRETT MARSHALL
SCOTT CITY — The Scott City Relays has a history of great times in the track and field events.
That's what happens when an event has been around for 77 years.
On Tuesday, though, the boys and girls in the 19-team, two-division meet, had to battle gusty southerly winds on the track and with the finish going into the southwest corner, times struggled to move into The Telegram's Honor Roll.
But with the field events mostly being contested in the morning hours when the temperatures were cool, and wind not so blustery, there were several strong efforts on both the boys' and girls' side.
The boys' Class 3-4A team race wasn't decided until the final event of the meet — the 4x400-meter relay. Ulysses, trailing Scott City by a half point, had to run in the first heat of the relay and clocked a time of 3:38 and then had to wait for the Beavers to run in the second heat. The Beavers trailed Hoisington and Phillipsburg in that heat, but their time of 3:38.77 was 0.54 seconds behind Phillipsburg, thus giving Ulysses a 110-105.5 margin for the title.
Oakley and Colby won the 1-2A and 3-4A girls' divisions with 125 and 113 points, respectively, while Ness City took the boys 1-2A team chase with 99 points.
First, for the individual stars of the day, there was Hugoton's Avory Stegman in the 3-4A shot put.
The Eagles senior recorded a personal best and a Telegram season-best throw of 51-7 to easily win his specialty.
Second, Syracuse's Kyle Dupree came away with a double-gold performance, capturing the Class 1-2A pole vault with his season best 13-0 and capping it off with a 41-11 leap to win the triple jump. The pole vault is the best in the area thus far while his triple jump equaled his area best from last week.
Then, there was the steady performance of Ulysses' Kaylea Britton, who garnered firsts in both the shot put (40-9) and discus (108-10.50).
In one of the strongest events of the day, Hugoton's two-time triple jump champion Nicole Kinser eclipsed her season best mark of 36-9 by soaring 37-00.75, but it wasn't enough as Hoisington's Rose Savannah bested her with a jump of 37-08.
But one of the top individual performances of the day came from distance ace Paige Wells of Wichita County.
The Lady Indians' junior, one of the top 2A runners in the state, ran a season fastest time of 12:01.20 in the 3,200-meters. And while they weren't competing in the same division, she bested Colby's top distance runner, Emilea Finley, who came in at 12:06.60.
"I'm really pleased with the 3,200. That's what I was looking for today," Wells said. "It's my first time to run it this year, so we're working on a number of things with my three races. Getting to where I almost broke 12 (minutes) feels good."
The 3,200 was run earlier in the day before the southerly wind kicked up to 20 to 25 mph.
"It was my kind of weather," Wells said of the cooler, slightly breezy conditions. "I went out and ran smart. The last two laps kicked in for me, and I caught her. Running against somebody as good as her (Finley) kinda helps, and I can improve myself. It's a good warmup for me for the 800. I'm trying to get my marks for that."
Wells would tack on two other wins in the 800 (2:30.94) and 1,600 (6:01.52).
"I wouldn't say the 1,600 was very good, but I wasn't focused on my time there," Wells said. "We've been working on more speed stuff so my 800 times can come down. I think it's working well so far."
Stegman's previous best throw had been a 49-11 just the week before. On Tuesday, though, he not only topped the 50-foot barrier, he barreled right through it.
"It feels great to get it. I'm very happy," said a beaming Stegman. "It feels good to get 50. It's been my goal all year."
Stegman said he had been getting some good-natured ribbing from his friends about the 50-foot barrier.
"They've been picking on me, so now I can just focus on going after the school record (52-3, Stegman thought)," Stegman said. "I got it on my third throw after a couple in the 48s, and then I scratched on my fourth trying to really go for it."
For Syracuse's Dupree, getting to the 13-0 height midway through the season made for a successful and surprising day.
"Getting 13-0 this early is good," said Dupree, a two-time state medal winner in the event. "I just used the pole today for the second time (Monday practice was first). I was a little nervous getting on the new pole."
By the time he got to 12-0, he already had won the event, so he skipped 12-6 and went right to 13-0.
"No one else was vaulting, so I didn't want to waste energy on 12-6," Dupree said. "I've gotten a lot stronger, I'm faster and my form has improved. Just trying to get things consistent."
His 41-11 in the triple jump equaled his previous best mark set last week at Elkhart.
"I've gotten better on my form, but I just need to stay into the jump longer," Dupree said of his triple jump effort. "The last phase, I need to stay in the air longer, shoot my feet up and just reach for it."
Ulysses' Tate Annis left the Relays with a pair of golds — the long jump and 200 meter. He also was third in the 100 meters as Scott City's Dalton Smith captured the shorter sprint.
"I'm not a real good 100 guy. It's too short, and I've got long legs," Annis said. "I really was glad to see Dalton healthy because that just pushes me harder."
Annis won the 200 meters with a time of 23.33 to Smith's 24.02 and won the long jump with a leap of 21-5, well below his season best of 22-10.
"I wasn't impressed with the distance," Annis said. "I was way behind my board, so I'll just have to go home and practice on it and get ready for Friday (Holcomb Invitational). It was just one of those days that you forget and go on."
Britton, who medaled in both events at the state meet a year ago, said she was gradually improving on her technique as her final season heads into the stretch run.
"I can't complain. There was no wind, and I did fine," Britton, who will play basketball at the University of Vermont next year, said of her two wins. "The shot is doing well, but I've been struggling with the discus some. I need to speed up everything and plant my foot harder. Overall, though, I'm just building and working each day to get better."
Hugoton's Patrick Weaver, one of the top 800 runners in the area, ran the 1,600 for the first time in his three-year career and came away with a win over Ulysses' Izzy Morales and Scott City's Joey Meyer with a time of 4:43.65.
"My hamstrings are dead," a tired Weaver said afterward. "I guess I liked it. It was fun to win. I really didn't know what kind of splits I'd end up with, but being able to beat Izzy and Joey, they're both good, so I see this as a really good day."
Meyer returned the favor in the 800 by winning with a time of 2:01.47 while Weaver was on his heels in 2:02.59.
Scott City sophomore sprinter Kelly Wycoff came away with a pair of wins in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, but the joy of that was minimized when she false-started in the 100-meter preliminaries and was disqualified.
"I wouldn't say the two wins made up for the 100, because I really wanted to run the 100 today," Wycoff said. "It happens to everyone, so maybe I've got mine out of the way. It just seemed like he (starter) held us in the block a little longer. I just tried to guess and jerked a little and then tried to come back. I was really upset."
But Wycoff gathered herself and won impressively in the 200 (27.34) and 400 (1:01.62), both of which finished into the 20 to 27 mph wind.
"The 200 felt like it was better," Wycoff said of her two wins. "I got out of the blocks faster, and I think I'm getting better coming off the curve in the early part of the race."
Another Scott City runner — senior Colborn Couchman — produced just one win in his specialty, the 300-meter hurdles, but it came in his first outing of the season. Battling hamstring muscle issues most of the spring, it was the first time the Beavers' speedster was able to compete in the event. He clocked a strong 40.92, again finishing into the strong headwind.
"I was surprised in general at the time," Couchman said. "It feels great to be able to run, especially since it's my last time to run in the Relays here at home. I went over three or four hurdles with the wrong leg, but those are things I can fix."
See complete results in Scoreboard on Page B2