By KEVIN THOMPSON
WICHITA — Southwest Kansas had every right to be proud of the area boys in Saturday's finals of the 1A-4A divisions of the state track meet in Wichita.
The medal stand at Cessna Stadium was filled throughout the day with individuals and relay teams from area schools.
Frequenting the stand most often was Scott City. They won two relays and were runners-up in a third, Dalton Smith won two medals in the sprints, and Joey Meyer just lost out on gold in the 800.
Smith's third place in the 200, plus the 4x400 second place, were enough to propel the Beavers to second place in the team standings.
In the 4x800, the Beavers won in 8:17.67, nearly two seconds better than runner-up Holcomb.
Joey Meyer's first leg of 2:01 was good enough to hand off with the leaders. Chris Davis was second after his leg.
Tyler Hess regained the lead on his first curve and held it for AJ Kough.
"I was just hoping I could just hang onto the lead," Davis said. "Unfortunately at the end of the first lap a couple of guys came up and got me. Towards the end I just kicked it in and tried to stay as close to first place as I could."
Kough said he wasn't sure who was behind him and by how much, but he heard his coach tell him 10 yards on the first lap.
"That made me feel a lot better," he said. "I just wanted to know if I could hold it off."
The guy 10 yards behind him was Holcomb's Brendan Thomas, who made an effort on the last leg to take the lead.
Tyler LaSalle ran Holcomb's first leg, and Michael Banderas was in third, just behind Davis. Tayler Chelemedos got the Longhorns back into second for Thomas' final leg.
Kough, however, proved to be tough enough to hold off the late challenge.
Holcomb's 8:18.55 was a personal best for the season, but LaSalle said it was bittersweet.
"We wanted to get Scott City," he said.
Holcomb got its revenge, though, on the final relay of the day, the 4x400, in which freshman Heath Tucker passed Kough in the final 30 meters to get the Longhorns the win.
Thomas, running the second leg, got his team the lead on the handoff, but Banderas passed off to Tucker in second place.
Tucker joined Scott City and Hutchinson-Trinity on the backstretch to create a lead pack trio, and it was a sudden burst of speed near the end that got him across the line first.
"Yesterday (in the prelims) I tried to make my move too early. Today I wanted to wait to (the final curve) to see what I had," Tucker said. "I actually dropped into fourth at the 150 mark and I had to go around them all."
Scott City won its other relay in the 4x100.
Couchman had the lead in the final turn, but Smith said he could feel Trevor Smith of Phillipsburg right on his shoulder.
Buehler, just a sophomore, had extra pressure at the start of the race. A false start brought all the runners back and they had to regroup.
"I didn't want to let the guys down. I was a little scared but I was fine," he said. "I wanted to get the quickest start I could for us and I think I did."
Meyer's 1:58.68 in the 800-meter run would have won two other divisions, but it was not enough for 3A.
Rather than run with a pack, he said he felt he needed to go out fast, and he did on his first lap.
"I thought I was going to die on the backstretch where I usually did at the beginning of the year," Meyer said. "But I just stayed in stride."
The sophomore was running 2:06 last year, and his goal was 2:02 this season, so finishing this season this way felt great, he said.
Smith's 11.15 in the 100 and 22.98 in the 200 were good enough for second and third.
Smith said he had a good start out of the blocks in the 100. At 40 meters, he said he felt he had the lead, but at 60, he knew someone was passing him. It was Michael Mesh of Hutch-Trinity, who won by just .04 seconds.
After being injured as a sophomore, both places and times were redemption for the junior.
"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "All I need is first next year."
Wyatt Slaven of South Gray stood atop the medal stand after easily winning the 1A 400 meters in 50.88 seconds, ahead of the second-place's 52.03.
Though he looked as if he hadn't broken a sweat, Slaven said he still felt a little sore and light-headed after the race.
During the race, though, he looked in total control.
"I had to get out hard, keep my stride in the backstretch and just kick it at the last 200," he said.
Jonathan Miller of Greeley County, who defended his discus title on Friday, finished fifth in the 400.
In 2A, area medalists from Saturday were Tyler White in the discus (5th), Jesus Holguin of Wichita County in the 800 (7th), Joshua Mehl of Wichita County in the 1600 (7th) and Sublette in the 4x800 relay (6th).
Other area 3A medalists on Saturday were Lakin's Joseph McCombs in the 300 hurdles (5th) and Colby Hamel in the shot put (7th).
In 4A, medalists came from two schools.
From Ulysses, Josh Jarnagin finished fifth in the 110 hurdles, Patrick Weaver was fifth in the 800, and Tate Annis was fifth in the 200. The Tigers' 4x100 relay was fifth, as was their 4x800 relay. Hugoton's lone medalist on the final day was the 4x800 relay team, which finished third.
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.