By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — One key element in any athlete's success is how much motivation and redeption they can carry.
Such is the life of Kayson Matthews of Lakin.
He began his season of redemption Thursday during the Cimarron Invitational, the first track and field meet of the season and he did it in impressive fashion.
On a day when the wind was blowing from the south, Matthews won both the 1,600-meters (4:49.57) and 3,200 (10:37.28) to outdistance his closest rivals — Holcomb's JaCee Jarnagin in the 1,600 (5:05.4) and Michael Wolf in the 3,200 (10:56.6).
"I knew JaCee was a good runner because I've been running against him and the other Holcomb runners for four years now," Matthews said. "I used the wind today by sprinting with it and then just running solid into it. I thought the time was good considering how windy it was."
The Cimarron girls won the team title with 136 points to finish ahead of Meade at 108.5. Holcomb's girls were third with 97 points and Lakin's girls fourth with 90. In the boys division, Holcomb won with 139 points, while Ashland and Meade placed second and third with 120 and 107 points, respectively.
For Matthews, the track season is one he hopes to make amends for his showing at the state cross country championship in the fall at Wamego. It was there he came back after battling flu-like conditions for more than 10 days. Leading at the halfway mark of the 3.2 mile race, Matthews faded in the closing part and finished a disappointing 19th.
"My main thing is to get to state and make up for what happened in cross country," Matthews said. "I ran a couple of indoor meets over the winter and it felt good and told me where I was in my training. I've still got a long way to go, but this is what is fueling me."
In the 1,600, Matthews and Jarnagin ran close through the first 800 meters with Matthews holding the lead. It was in the third lap, though, that Matthews took off and left Jarnagin well behind. He had about a 30-meter lead through the third lap and extended it to about 100 meters by the time he crossed the finish line.
In the 3,200, Matthews did the same to Wolf. Again, with the two running close at the halfway mark, Matthews gradually pulled away.
"I feel really frustrated, though, about the 3,200," Matthews said. "I looked up at the clock about two laps in and thought I was ahead of my pace. One of my coaches hollered at me and told me that the clock was actually 15 seconds behind. I wanted to get around 10 minutes flat today, so I'm a little disappointed."
Another double-winner in the meet was Cimarron sophomore Lindsay Wehkamp, who claimed both the long jump (17-1 1/4) and high jump (5-4). Both were personal bests.
"The high jump was really surprising because of jumping into the wind," Wehkamp said. "My goal was just to make 5-foot today."
Wehkamp's previous personal best was 5-2 a year ago, and prior to her high jump effort she captured the long jump.
"I got it on my first jump of the day," Wehkamp said of the winning jump. "I didn't think I'd do anything like that because we really had not had a lot of outside workouts because of the weather."
Holcomb senior hurdler Ashley Baier was nudged out at the finish line by Lakin junior Allie Jones with just .16 of a second separating the two. Baier had trailed for much of the short race until coming over the last hurdle when she closed the gap on Jones and appeared to have just outleaned her Lakin rival. Officials, though, ruled Jones the winner and Baier suffered her first loss in a regular season meet in the event in two years.
Baier came back defeated Jones in the 300 hurdles, clocked in 50.07, while Jones finished in 53.37.
"I was on a mission in the 300," Baier said. "I think in the 100s I stutter-stepped the first hurdle and then just played catch up the rest of the way. I thought I had beaten her but the officials obviously saw it differently. I guess that gave me a chance to release some frustration in the 300."
Baier said she knew she would be challenged this season by Jones, especially in the 100 hurdles.
"She's taller and she uses a three-step approach and I use a four-step approach," said Baier, who stands 5-foot-5. "I'm always going to have to rely on my technique, my start and finish to win that race. This will just push me more in practice."
The Holcomb boys got a winning performance from Levi Koehn in the pole vault with a vault of 14-6, eclipsing his 2009 best of 14-0.
Other Longhorns to claim titles were Jarnagin in the 800 (2:15.39), Josh Stegman in the 300 hurdles and the 3,200 relay team of Michael Banderas, Mitchell Gaede, Brendon Thomas and Wolf. Lakin's Colby Hamel won the discus.
Cimarron received first-place finishes from sophomore Avery Burns in the 200 (29.68), the 3,200 relay team of Taylor Siek, Grace Royle, Kaitlin Fores and Janelyn Reimer (11:48.41) and Emily Payne in the shot put (30-3). The Lakin girls got winning efforts in the distance races from Samantha Kysar in the 800 (2:51.37), Julia Rosales in the 1,600 (6:28.85) and Jaden Bolmer in the 3,200 (14:08.91). The South Gray girls were paced by first-place finishers Mikayla Skidmore in the pole vault (8-6) and Dusty Watkins in the discus (92-2).
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.