Class 4A: Jessi Arnold leads Ulysses into today's finals


By Kevin Thompson

By Kevin Thompson

WICHITA — The first day of the state track and field competition at Cessna Stadium was a combination of the old with the new in Class 4A.

Ulysses and Hugoton are old hands at that level, but Scott City has moved up from 3A.

On the old side, Jessi Arnold of Ulysses qualified for both hurdle events.

She had the fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles at 15.86 seconds, and the second fastest in the 300 meters at 46.84.

She finished just behind Leah Reichenerger of Andale (45.10), and well ahead of the pack in her heat, and Arnold looks forward to today's final.

"I could have run faster, I think," she said, "but I wanted to save some for (today), I guess."

The junior's best time was as a freshman at 45.13, so Arnold knows she has it in her.

She described her 300 hurdles race as "clean" as she came out strong and cleared each hurdle.

"I tried coming out of the blocks harder than I usually do, just so I could try to stay ahead a little longer," she said, just as she did in the shorter race earlier.

She has only run the 100-meter hurdles four times since seventh grade.

With only these two events to run, Arnold said she feels confident for today.

Hugoton's Isaac Castro finished fifth in the 3,200 meters, running 9:56.33.

The Ulysses boys qualified their 4x100 relay, finishing fifth in 44.22 seconds.

The Tigers Tregg Rodriguez placed sixth in the triple jump (41-10.75).

On the new side, Scott City's Kelly Wycoff did what she does best, qualify in the sprints.

Her 400 meters time of 58.18 was the third fastest in qualifying behind two Andale runners, and her 25.36 seconds in the 200 meters was second to Andre'a Newton of Feld Finley (25.09).

The 200 meters, her favorite race, sets up to be a tough one, Wycoff said. Newton has been consistent all season.

"She's going to be tough," she said.

Wycoff is a two-time champion in this event at the 3A level, looking to add a 4A title to her resume.

In the 400 meters, Wycoff finished second in her heat and will run today in lane three.

"It's where I want to be so I can keep an eye on (the two Andale runners)," she added.

Wycoff will be trying for her title in the 200 and in the 400. She also qualified in the 100 meters.

The experience helps, "but you still don't get over the nerves," she said, "but at least I know what to expect."

Wycoff also anchored the 4x400 relay team, taking her team from fourth to third on the final leg. Scott City qualified sixth at 4:08.91.

That team also has Bailey Nickel, Aubrey Davis and Megan Thornburg.

Scott City's boys 4x400 relay team not only qualified for today's final, they did it in style.

Seeded seventh coming into the meet, Braden Strine, Drake McRae, Wyatt Kropp and Brett Meyer hit their personal best of 2:27.93, just a second behind first.

"We have improved the last two meets, so we're doing really well right now," Meyer said.

McRae and Kropp are running this event for the first time, and they kept the Beavers at the lead of the pack.

"Usually your nerves get to you but they did really good for us and kept the lead for us," he said. "I think we can get down to 3:25 because these guys go hard and want to be here."

Hugoton also qualified, finishing eighth in 3:30.40.

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