Editor's Note: First of a two-part series on 10 years of covering state track.
I’m not quite sure why I enjoy the sport of track and field so much.
Lord only knows that I may well have been one of the worst such athletes in history — not just at Syracuse Junior High where I grew up — but anywhere.
They threatened to change the name from the then broad (now long) jump to the short jump, the high jump to the low jump, and when switched to running the mile, my one and only venture onto the track resulted in finishing dead last, one and a half laps (yep, you read that right), behind the next-to-last runner.
Suffice it to say, me and my track coach in junior high had some discussions about my future in the sport. Admittedly, they weren't too promising.
I made it easy by declining to run the mile…leaving me with no events in which I could be remotely competitive. Less than two years later I was playing varsity golf on the high school team, so in the mirror of history, I’d say I made one of the smartest decisions for myself.
So why does track and field seem so appealing and enjoyable to me?
I guess the only way to express it is that everything is measurable. You know who runs the fastest, who jumps the highest, who throws the farthest. Well, you get the picture.
With Kansas’ state track championships ending Saturday to draw an end to the nine-month-long high school sports seasons, it’s always a reflective moment to know that another high school sports event won’t take place until the latter part of August.
It's now time for all of us to catch our respective breaths!
Saturday marked the 10th season that I’ve attended the state meet, along with the thousands who come to compete and watch, and it is an event to behold. When I find myself on the infield at Cessna Stadium, or gazing down from the press box, I can't help but recall some of the great moments offered by southwest Kansas' girls and boys.
So here’s a look back at some of my Top 10 years of covering the state track meet (This first part covers 2009 to 2013). If I've missed some one, I offer an apology of too many events to remember all of them!
2009: Sublette’s boys win the Class 2A boys team title for the first time in school history behind two winning relay teams and Manny Acevedo’s 200-meter victory. Eric Ruth of Stanton County wins the 2A 3,200-meters while Greeley County’s Kellum Schneider wins the 1A 800-meters. Holcomb takes a 4x800-meter relay gold as does Sublette’s 4x100-meter girls relay team.
2010: Ruth repeats his 3,200-meter gold and adds the 1,600-meters as well; Schneider backs up his 800 win from the year before with another gold. Moscow’s 4x800 relay team wins, Lakin’s Kayson Mathews claims the 3A 3,200-meters while Greeley County’s Madison Moser takes the 1A 1,600-meters and Hugoton’s Nicole Kinser wins the 4A triple jump.
2011: The year of The Great Oz, otherwise known as Ozvaldo Granillo of Moscow. The Wildcat sprinter won the 1A 100, 200 and anchored the winning 4x8 and 4x400 relays. The 4x4 was the race that left an indelible mark in my memory bank.
Taking the baton for his anchor leg, Granillo was about 35-40 meters behind the leader, and by the time he came off the third curve for the final 100-meters, he was in front and helped his team win the gold. One of more stunning anchor legs I’ve ever witnessed.
Greeley County’s Kennedy Schneider continued the Jackrabbits run of excellence in the distance races, doubling in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in 1A while Kinser repeated her triple jump gold medal performance. Wyatt Slaven won the 1A boys 400 and Garrison LeRock took gold in the 2A high jump for Cimarron.
2012: Moscow’s Granillo takes 3 golds in the 100, 200 and 400, setting a record in the 100 in Class 1A. Garden City’s Jonathan DuVall is a double-gold winner in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles his junior year and Holcomb takes the 4A 4x400-meter relay.
Hugoton’s Kinser wins the long jump this time around, Scott City’s Kelly Wycoff captures the 3A 200-meters; Mauri Steimel of Stanton County wins the 2A shot put; Dighton’s Leslie Speer the 1A triple jump and Greeley County’s Schneider repeats the 1,600- and 3,200-meter victories.
2013: A gold mine year for southwest Kansas athletes.
Wycoff takes gold in the 3A 100 and 200, Steimel doubles in the 2A shot put and discus, while Kinser wins both the long and triple jumps in 4A. Cimarron’s Morgan Ediger claims the 3A 300-hurdles and Satanta’s girls win the 4x400 relay. To top it off, Garden City’s girls 4x800 sets a school mark of 9:35.41 to win the 6A event.
On the boys side, Garden’s DuVall wins the 110 hurdles with a 13.89 time, one of the fastest marks ever in Kansas history. He repeats the 300 hurdles title as well, making him the only GCHS boys track star to repeat a double-gold performance.
The Buffs’ Dusty Tempel wins the 6A boys long jump with a leap of 22-03.05. Ulysses’ Tate Annis soars 23-02 to win the 4A long jump, the top mark ever in The Telegram area.
Moscow’s Rigo Bustillos wins the 1A shot put and Holcomb’s Heath Tucker blazes to a 38.19 time to win the 3A 300-meter hurdles. Scott City’s Brenner Wells wins the 3A javelin.
Friday — The last five years from 2014 to 2018.
Contact Brett Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org