By KEVIN THOMPSON
WICHITA — The only really big surprise at the 2012 Kansas State Track and Field Championship is they finished early.
Most of the area's 3-2-1A boys athletes did what was expected.
Moscow's Osvaldo Granillo will get a chance to triple defend his Class 1A 200-meter dash and 4x400 titles. And he'll get a chance to add the 400 meters to his gold collection.
Holcomb's Heath Tucker won both heats of his 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles to easily make the Class 3A finals today.
And Scott City and Stanton County both had good days overall.
Granillo logged the second-fastest qualifying time in the 400 meters (51.43 seconds) and third-best in the 200 (22.32), and he still had enough left at the end of his day to anchor the 4x400 relay team to the third-best time (3:33.15), reeling in three runners ahead of him on the last leg of his heat.
"I expected to not have to sprint today," Granillo said after the relay, "but sometimes you just can't help it."
The 400-meter race felt really great, he said of the first time running it in state.
Granillo looked back at the end of his race to see how much energy he could conserve for Saturday.
"I need all the fuel I can get," he said.
Granillo will look to defend his 200-meter title, get through the prelims of the 100 meters to defend that title and anchor the relay team to go with his 400 meters.
South Gray's Wyatt Slaven, the defending 400-meter champion, placed third in his heat, but it was enough to get to the finals.
"I tried to place top two, but that one guy got me on the lean, but that's all right," Slaven said.
His 51.65 qualified for finals, and it's close to his season best, so he feels good about his chances, though the competition will be tough, especially with Granillo thrown into the mix.
Tucker's roads to the finals weren't as smooth as he would have liked, despite winning his heats.
In the 110 hurdles (15.07) Tucker hit a number of hurdles but was able to hold on with a lean at the end. And in the 300 hurdles, he hit a couple hurdles on the back curve and had to come from behind with three hurdles to go to get the win.
"And I almost false started, too," he added after the 110 race. "I'm going to have to run the race of my life if I expect to win state this year," he said.
In the 300 hurdles, Tucker said he struggled a bit with some fatigue and he isn't happy with his 39.44 time in prelims.
Scott City's Colborn Couchman also qualified in the 300 hurdles, placing second in his heat despite hitting the final hurdle. In fact, he hit more than that.
"I started out a little bit slow and stutter stepped on the first two hurdles but I got my stride back," he said.
Scott City qualified its 4x100 relay with a 43.85.
"It's not what we want but it'll be all right for the finals," starting man Dalton Buehler said. "We're all smooth right now and we all feel pretty good."
Smoother handoffs, Buehler said, would help in Saturday's finals, especially going up against Phillipsburg, a team whom they have battled twice this season and who nipped them in their heat Friday.
"That's the team we're worried about. I'm excited about the race," he said.
League rival Holcomb dropped the baton on the second exchange and did not finish.
The Longhorns did, however, redeem themselves in the 4x400 meter relay. As defending state champions, they made everyone take notice that they were ready to defend their title.
Tyler LaSalle got Holcomb off to a strong start, Brendan Thomas opened a big lead, and Michael Bandaras and Tucker finished strongly in 3:26.01, just three seconds of the state meet record.
"We were going to try to break the state record and we'd already run a 3:21," Thomas said.
Don't look for redemption as a reason for the race, though, Thomas said. Once the dropped handoff in the 4x100 was over, it was over.
"Coach (Lindall Cox) said that race is over; you can't go back and change it, so you might as well get ready for the next one," he added.
Holcomb will face stiff competition today in the title defense from Hutchinson-Trinity, which qualified with a 3:26.89.
Scott City, which finished second to Holcomb last year, was the eighth and final qualifier for Saturday, finishing in 3:32.58.
The Beavers' Dalton Smith qualified sixth in the 200 meters (23.69).
Brenner Wells of Scott City placed fourth in the javelin at 166-07.
Stanton County's Quentin Kendrick had hoped for a better showing in the pole vault. A season-best 14-6 had given him the confidence. He passed until 12-6 and made that on his first jump. He passed again until 14-6, and he missed on all three attempts.
"I've been doing it and making it, so I figured, why change up now," Kendrick said.
But this time it didn't work. Kendrick hit the bar on the way down all three times. A little extra humidity caused him to slip once, and he just couldn't get comfortable with the standard settings.
"I was determined; it just wasn't my day," he said.
Kendrick and Kyle Dupree tied for fifth.
Teammate Marques Logan had a pretty good day. He qualified fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.85 seconds) but said he will have a tough race Saturday with seven of the eight qualifiers under 16 seconds.
Stanton County's 4x100 relay qualified with a 44.54, second best in prelims, thanks in part to good handoffs, Sam Ashida-Butler said.
"I feel great," he said. "That was one of our (his and Marques Logan's) greatest handoffs ever."
After finishing second a year ago, Scott City positioned itself to make a run at the state title by getting all their Friday track entries to the finals, Wells' javelin finish, and three Saturday events that will highlight junior Joey Meyer in the middle distances.
See results in Track Scoreboard, Page D4.