First, second, third, or fourth place! The goal this week is just finishing in the top four at Regional. It is a simple scenario. You can’t win a state championship if you don’t qualify for the state meet and you don’t qualify for State if you don’t finish in the top four at your regional meet. Good luck, everyone!
With the tightly packed schedule of League and Regional Meets, you wouldn’t think the opportunity for athletes to go for high quality marks wouldn’t be as great this week as it will be at next week’s State Championships. In most cases, athletes competing at the State Meet will have more recovery time between events than they’ve had during the regular season or at regional. Therefore, with more recovery time one would expect higher quality results in the ensuing events.
Invariably though, a few situations develop at State where athletes will find themselves in the final jumps or throws of a field event only to be called to the track or away to another field event. Will the legs be gone when they return to their other event?
The condensed schedule of last week’s league meet didn’t slow down Alli Cash (SM West) at the Sunflower League Meet last week. She cranked out the state’s #2 all-time best time in the 1600 meters (4:45.63), a mark that currently ranks #3 among US preps in 2012. To get a feel for how good the state best is that Alli is chasing, consider she needs to knock another three plus seconds off her best to better Amy Mortimer’s all-time best of 4:42.29, which a 1600m conversion of her prep 1-mile best time, run in 1999. Alli also ran a 2:14.10 for 800 meters at the Sunflower meet last week. Her 800/1600 double has to be considered one of Kansas’ best if not the best 800/1600 girls’ single meet double in state prep history. Remember too that she won those races, 1600m and 800m, by 22+ and 5+ seconds, respectively. What will she do when someone actually pushes her.
KSHSAA’s track and field administrator Mark Lentz has been asked to consider having official timing available at the 1500-meter mark of the 6A girls’ state 1600-meter race. To qualify for the US Olympic Trials, the qualifying time must be for the 1500-meter distance. The time necessary to meet the provisional US Olympic Trial qualification standard is 4:17.0, which converts to running a 1600m time of approximately 4:36.0.
While this would call for another significant drop in Cash’s season best we hope KSHSAA and meet administration will be open to getting an official time at the 1500-meter mark in case she does do it.
The state has a 16-foot pole vaulter for the second consecutive year as Nick Meyer (Bishop Carroll) cleared 16’1” at the Wichita City League meet.
Lee Loyd (Olathe North) posted the state’s first sub-49 400 meters last week. Jerrell Morrow (Emporia) went over 24-feet again in the long jump at the Centennial meet, and in the process removed the name of one of the state’s all-time best long jumpers (i.e., Kevin Sloan, Topeka Hayden, 1975) from that league’s record book. Elizabeth Herrs (Rock Creek) bettered the 151-foot mark (151’6”) in the javelin again at the Mid-East League meet, coming within four inches of her season best which currently ranks #7 nationally.
The Heart of America League boys’ 800 was a dandy. The 2A-3A league had three guys run under 2:00, topped by Grant Garst (Inman) with the state’s #2 time (1:56.57) followed by Daniel Claassen (Berean Academy) in 1:58.47 (#12) and Paul Cuellar (Trinity-Hutchinson) in 1:59.33 (#20).
Preparing for two long days at the State Meet –
With this spring’s temperatures having been consistently warmer than most years, athletes have had the opportunity to acclimate themselves to the warmer conditions the late season competitions usually bring. It hasn’t been unusual in past years to have cool weather right up to state meet weekend, and then have temperatures suddenly soar into the mid to upper 90’s.
Not used to temperatures like that, we have watched athletes over the years struggle to finish the longer duration competitions like the 1600 or 3200 or field events which go on for more than an hour with repeated attempts. Why? The athletes likely have not properly hydrated during the days prior to or the day of the meet, or because of the warmer temperatures they didn’t see or feel the need to warm-up for their events as thoroughly as usual, or maybe they didn’t see the need to just get out of the sun and into the shade when they weren’t competing. For many of the young athletes, they only get one opportunity to compete on the stage of the nation’s largest high school track and field state championship! Make sure you are ready!
State Meet National Anthems –
One of the highlights of the state meet for the last several years has been the singing of the National Anthem by a state meet athlete or group of track and field athletes from a competing school. Over the years it has become the responsibility of fellow state meet announcer Don Steffens to line up those individuals. While we won’t know who is qualifying for the state meet until after the regional meets this week, if your school has track and field athletes who are also talented vocalists and would be interested in singing the National Anthem at the state meet, contact Steffens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-992-5081.
State Meet Trivia –
Steffens and I like to bounce track and field trivia questions off each other. One question we have played with over the years has been who are the former state track & field champions who have had a son or daughter that also became a state track & field champion.
Figuring out father-son or father-daughter combinations is a little more obvious, although uncles and nephew and nieces can mess things up, but I know there still quite a few parent-child combinations we have overlooked. Where it definitely gets more difficult though is when trying to put together the mother-son or mother-daughter combinations. If you know any, we’d like to hear from you. Send us the parent’s name (maiden names for mothers) and the son or daughter’s name along with years of their championships and events. You can direct those to either me at email@example.com or Don at the above address.
Former Kansas preps competing well at the next level –
It was exciting to see a number of former Kansas prep athletes perform at a very high level at last weekend’s Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
If you didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to attend one or both of those meets, you really missed out!