Greeley County Jackrabbits
Cimarron, Greeley County get two medalists each at Day 1
By BRETT MARSHALL
AND KEVIN THOMPSON
All that's gold doesn't necessarily glitter.
For two Greeley County track standouts, gold came in different ways on Day One of the 2011 Kansas State Track and Field Championships.
The same could be said for Garrison LeRock and Lindsay Wehkamp, who captured respective high jumps in Class 2A.
Greeley County senior Jonathan Miller defended his Class 1A state discus title while teammate Kennedy Schneider captured her first state crown, claiming the 3,200-meters and in the process set a school record.
However, Miller had mixed feelings after defending his title in the discus throw at Cessna Stadium in Wichita on Friday.
The senior was happy with the repeat gold, but disappointed with the distance.
"It was extremely ugly. Very ugly," Miller said.
"It's still nice. I'm glad I won," he said. "But by four inches? And not even 160 feet?"
Miller's throw of 159-04 was good enough to beat Giles Fox of Ashland by just four inches. But Miller said his goal all season was to throw in the 170's following his 167-01 throw at last year's state.
Miller said he felt he reached his peak around mid-season when he was throwing in the high-160's.
"I was throwing really well," he said. "Then it was windy every day. I think we had two days that weren't windy after mid-season. It just broke me down slowly, pushing me different ways every day and my form just broke down. So did my confidence."
Greeley County coach Greg Cook said Miller's technique issues of coming out too low and getting good height were easy enough to spot.
"He knew what he was doing wrong and he worked to correct them," Cook said. "He was trying; he just didn't get them done."
Schneider had every reason to celebrate and smile. She blitzed the field with a time of 11:45.42, easily eclipsing her previous personal best of 12:03.51.
She ran away in the final 800 meters to outdistance runner-up Karly VanCampen of Clifton-Clyde, who finished back at 11:56.28.
"I didn't really have a plan so I just wanted to go out with VanCampen and the others," Schneider said. "I just felt really good on lap seven and I think (VanCampen) was tiring. On the last lap, I saw the (big screen on the first curve) and I just decided to give it everything I had."
Schneider said she has been pushing herself to get past her previous comfort levels.
"I also just wanted to push the board of hard work," Schneider said. "Talent is a misconception. I've just tried to be who I want to be with my running."
The junior hopes it is the first of potential three gold medals as she pursues Nos. 2 and 3 today in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs.
"I've got all day to go back and rest," Schneider said. "This was a fun way to start."
Her next door county neighbor Paige Wells, meanwhile, had a record run of her own, yet it wasn't enough to overtake Class 2A sensation Jenna Farris.
Wells, who previously had a fastest time of 12:26.67, shattered that mark as well as the school record with a time of 11:42.22, while Farris was clocked in 11:37.01.
"She's a really good runner," Wells said. "I ran against her at KU. I felt fresh this morning, and while I didn't have a particular plan, I just wanted to stay close."
Farris took what seemed to be an insurmountable lead early and then watched as Wells closed the gap in the final 800, but was still well ahead at the finish.
"My coach just told me to run smart," Wells said. "I think that's what I did."
Cimarron's LeRock, who had cleared 6-8 earlier this season, also settled for a lower height, making 6-4 to win his gold medal. It didn't come easy. The Bluejays' sophomore missed twice before making it on his final attempt.
"This is pretty good," LeRock said. "Last year I came in 12th, and I had a goal of 6-6 and I made that earlier. So now I've got a new goal of 7-0 for next year."
For Wehkamp, her victory in the high jump came when she was the lone remaining jumper to clear 5-4.
"I felt really confident today," Wehkamp said. "The adrenaline was flowing and I made a really good jump at 5-4. I really only made one good try at 5-6, but it doesn't matter. This hasn't sunk in yet."
Wehkamp, who also finished third in the long jump earlier in the morning, said it was typical of the way her season has gone in her two events. She managed just 16-4.25.
"One week, I do well in the long jump, the next is the high jump," Wehkamp said. "Last week, it was the long jump (17-4.75) and today it was the high jump."
Other area 1A girls taking medals on Friday were Mikayla Skidmore of South Gray in the pole vault (second), Dusty Watkins of South Gray in the discus (third) and Ashley Dahle of Moscow in the shot put (fifth).
In 2A girls, Stanton County's Mauri Steimel was a double medal winner, placing second in the shot put and fourth in the discus. Rachel Busch of Wichita County was seventh in the triple jump.
Holcomb had two medalists in field events. Heidi Boyles finished sixth in the pole vault and Karissa Pena was seventh in the high jump.
On the 2A boys side, Quinn Kendrick of Stanton County was third in the pole vault while Kyle Dupree of Syracuse was seventh. Stanton County's Johnathan Carrasco finished fourth in triple jump.
Qualifying for the girls 1A finals Saturday were Carly Robertson of Greeley County in the 300 hurdles and Satanta's Stephanie Caro in the 200.
For girls 2A qualifiers, Gentry Hibbard of Sublette made the 400 finals and Hannah Mehl of Wichita County made the 300 hurdles. Sublette and Cimarron both qualified in the 4x400 relay.
Kelly Wycoff of Scott City qualified in both the 200 and 400, while Lakin's Allie Jones and Holcomb's Kyshia Prieto qualified in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
Hugoton's Heber Jiminez ended his high school 3200 race career with a third-place finish in 9:54.39, over a second better than his season best.
Jiminez ran with the lead pack for the first three laps, then took over third for the second half.
"Usually I start off slow so I can run a faster mile in the second half," he said. "Today I just had to stay up with (the leaders)."
In the boys 1A prelims, Wes Slaven of South Gray and Miller both qualified in the 400. Moscow's 4x400 relay team qualified, as did Osvaldo Granillo in the 200. Cimarron's Pedro Trevino qualified in the boys' 2A 110 hurdles.
In boys 3A, Scott City qualified a number of runners. Tyler Hess in the 400 and Dalton Smith in the 200 while the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams qualified.
Holcomb qualified its 4x400 relay team, and Lakin's Joseph McCombs got the finals in the 300 hurdles.
In 4A, Ulysses' Josh Jarnagin qualified in the 110 hurdles, Tate Annis in the 200 and the 4x100 relay team.
See results in Scoreboard, Page D2. For complete results, go to www.kshsaa.org.
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