Garden City and area track and field athletes had their fare share of success Friday on the final day of the Shocker Pre-State Challenge meet at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium.
Enjoying a warm weather day before the cold front hit south central Kansas, the area athletes enjoyed temperatures in the mid 70s and their performances reflected the good conditions.
Garden City’s Taylor Savolt captured both the Elite long and triple jumps with marks of 16-11.50 and 36-09.50 while also placing third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.33, just .5 of a second off her season best of 2017.
“I thought she really did a good job in all of her events,” head coach Brian Hill said of his junior. “Knowing that it’s a long day, what events will overlap is a tough thing to handle. We’re getting consistent marks now, and that’s what we’re looking for. Now we can start working on the final details to get a few more inches, take off a little time in the hurdles.”
There were many other top performances in both the girls and boys competitions and within the three different divisions of each event (1-3A, 4-6A and Elite). The Elite division was open to a competitor of any classification.
Clara Bartlett of Cimarron captured the Class 1-3A 800-meter run with a time of 2:28.34. Deerfield’s Sheridan Rodriguez showed her multiple-event skills by placing second in the 1-3A long jump (15-08.25), third in the 1-3A 400-meters (1:04.00) and a seventh in the 1-3A 200-meters (27.95).
Garden’s Raegan Linenberger cleared 5-03.75 and placed third in the Elite high jump while Deerfield’s Rodriguez cleared the same height, but placed fourth by virtue of misses.
Annie Gerber of the Buffs, making her season debut in her specialty, cleared 9-06.75 and tied for third in the Elite pole vault.
Holcomb’s 4x100-meter relay team, comprised of Darien Mader, Lexi Amos, Courtney Wren and Kynzi Soukup, placed third in the 4-6A division with a time of 52.55 seconds.
On the boys side of the competition, Garden City’s Thomas Turpin won the 4-6A pole vault by clearing 13-05.25 and teammate Jaycob Vargas was sixth in the Elite pole vault with a height of 13-11.25.
“That’s three meets in a row now that Jaycob has been right at or above the 14-0 height,” Hill said. “He’s shown consistency as well. I’m really proud of Thomas after he had a couple of tough meets to get his P.R. (personal record) is really exciting.”
Alex Nickell clocked a 41.70 mark in the 4-6A 300-meter hurdles for a runner-up finish.
Garden City’s 4x800-meter relay team took third in the Elite division with a time of 8:28.38, with the team comprised of Garret Doll, Javyn Contreras, Javier Cervantes and Kameron Wildeman.
Doll came within an eyelash of breaking the 2-minute mark in the Elite 800-meters, clocking a 2:00.02 to place fifth. Doll had a personal best of 1:57.97 in 2017.
“This was an important meet for us because a lot of our young, inexperienced kids got to run against great competition, in the big stadium and we were able to see some improvements,” Hill said. “Now we get into the middle of our schedule and we’ll be training harder.”
One notable absentee from the competition for the Buffs was senior Demarcus Elliott, the defending Class 6A state shot put champion. He was absent from the meet due to disciplinary reasons, Hill said, citing Elliott had violated team rules.
A pair of Holcomb sprinters enjoyed gold-medal performances as Isaiah Armstrong won the 4-6A 400-meters in a time of 50.64 while the Longhorns’ Devin Mader captured the 200-meters in 4-6A with a time of 22.96.
Two area relay teams captured gold in the 4x100-meter baton race, as Holcomb ran a blistering 43.80 to win 4-6A and Stanton County clocked a 44.45 to claim 1-3A’s top spot. Holcomb’s squad was comprised of Mader, Carter Blackburn, Peyton Leonard and Armstrong. Stanton County’s team was Miguel Aleman, Devin Berens, Trey Summers and Edgar Garcia.
Up next for Garden and several area schools will be the Holcomb Invitational on Friday. The Buffs will send the majority of their team to the Longhorns’ meet, although five of them will be heading to Lawrence on Friday and Saturday to compete in the KU Relays.
That group includes Doll (800/1600), Cervantes (1600/3200), Linenberger (High jump/400), Savolt (300/100 hurdles, long jump/triple jump) and Brooke Navarro (1600/3200).