LAKIN — It was the best of times — and the best of distances Friday in what coaches called an ideal day for a track meet.
The Lakin girls won their own invitational with 86 points over runner-up Sublette (73), Cimarron (71), Ulysses (69) and Meade (68).
Deerfield’s girls finished sixth with 54 points, including three wins.
For the boys, Stanton County ran away with the title, 141 points to Hugoton’s 103.
Lakin finished third with 64 points.
For the Lakin girls, it was back-to-back home wins, and in each of the last two years, it’s because of points coming from a few wins, mixed in with points from placings. The Broncs picked up just three wins but scored across a number of events.
Aaliyah Jones picked up a pole vault win and placed second in the long jump. Sarah White won her fifth 3,200-meter race of the season (12:49.68).
Heather White won her fifth triple jump of the year, going 33-05.5, despite feeling under the weather.
Coach Chris Pollart, in his first year as Lakin head coach, was happy with how both the girls and the boys competed.
“For a lot of them, I think it was just being in front of their home crowd and they really wanted to give the home fans something to cheer for,” he said. “We were pretty well balanced this meet. That’s pretty unusual for us. Usually, we do very well in the field and then are scattered around on the track. Today, it just seemed like we were really steady all the way through the meet.”
After competing in the Garden City meet on Tuesday against all classes of schools, Deerfield’s Sheridan Rodriguez, who set great marks there, did herself even better.
She set the school record in the high jump, going 5-06.
And in Garden City, she cleared 16-feet for the first time ever (16-2) in the long jump. Friday she eclipsed that, jumping 17-1, just one inch off the school record.
“I was just talking to my coach about the record (before the event) and told her that’s a whole foot away,” Rodriguez said. “And then I did it. I don’t know how.”
She thinks a good stretching session Thursday helped her. Maybe it was mental, too.
“Normally I just jump. My first jump was 16-10, and (my coach) and I looked at each and were like, how?” she said.
In the high jump, she had cleared 5-04 twice and had six attempts at 5-06.
“And always on my last attempt, I always almost get it,” she said. “Today, we went up an inch and I cleared 5-05. Then I cleared 5-06 by almost two inches. I just couldn’t hold my form long enough to get 5-07.
“I don’t know what’s happening. I’m just getting PR after PR after PR.”
The senior also finished third in the 100 and 200 meters.
Teammate Dillon Cherico won the shot put (36-09) and finished second in the discus (88-02), behind Ulysses’ Kasey Sturm (94-05).
Sublette’s Laiton Greeson continued her dominance in the sprints, taking both the 100 meters (12.69 seconds) and the 200 (26.48).
Cimarron’s Clara Bartlett was a double winner. She won the 800 meters (2:27.85) and the 400 meters (1:02.68). Cimarron also won the 4x800 relay in 10:09.58, the best in the area this season, all classes.
Peyton Peterson of Stanton County won the 1,600 meters (5:55.01). Ulysses’ girls picked up a win in the 4x100 relay. Mareli Salazar of Wichita County got her team’s only win in the javelin (126-1).
Stanton County’s boys, runners-up in state last year, appear poised to make another run at a title this season.
The Trojans picked up five wins and seven second places in rolling to the win.
Devin Berens won both the 100 meters (11.07 seconds) and 200 (22.69), and ran a leg on the 4x100 relay (43.57). The 4x100 time was a school record, set back in 1971.
Jeff Gum won the javelin (142-01), and Creed Puyear took the long jump (22-08.5) and finished second in the triple jump behind Syracuse’s Payson Hawkins. Puyear’s long jump tied a school record.
Coach Cory Bixler credits the team showing to a lot of depth and talent from a program that’s competed at state.
“That’s really what it boils down to,” he said. “It’s also about the making sacrifices for each other.”
It’s also about a maturity he’s seen since last season, his first with the Trojans.
“As a whole, after last year, they kind of woke up to their potential,” Bixler said. “I know they knew what it was but maybe didn’t believe it. Now they’re really buying in and believing it.”
Going to the Pre-State meet in Wichita two weeks ago helped, as well.
“They get to see some other talent they don’t usually see. We had some of them compete in the elite division and really do well,” Bixler said. “I think that really opened their eyes.”
Hugoton’s boys competed well again, especially on the track, where they won two relays and three other events.
The Eagles picked up wins in the 4x400 (3:26.34) and 4x800 relay (8:44.92). Mitchell Hamlin won the 400 meters (50.51 seconds). Jacob Eckert won the 800 meters (2:03.45) and Ethan Fox took the 3,200 meters (10:31.09).
Hugoton also got four runner-up medals.
Lakin picked up two wins from sophomore JP Perez. He won the high jump (6-04) and the 300-meter hurdles by nearly a second (40.56).
Jaylen Pickle also picked up two titles. The Cimarron Bluejay threw the shot put 50-03 and the discus 139-09.
The Hi-Plains League schools will compete in the league meet in Cimarron Friday.
The GWAC schools will be in Goodland for their league meet Thursday.
Deerfield will be at Rolla for its league meet.