VALLEY CENTER, Kan.—Last spring the Hays boys took their second Class 5A State Track title in a row with a 10-point win over second-place Bishop Carroll. On Thursday in Valley Center, Hays took an 84-point win over those same Golden Eagles as the Indians look to be unstoppable this year.
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The Indians graduated four point-scoring seniors that individually accounted for 40 of the Indians’ 98 points at state, but the machine has continued to roll in the form of three lopsided wins to start the season.
It is something that is by design according to Hays head coach Ryan Cornelsen.
“We really try to stress at a young age that we expect big things. We expect that when kids graduate that the next group steps in and (is) ready to run,” Cornelsensaid. “We give them as much attention at a young age as we do at an old age. We feel like that helps them when it is their turn to be ready.”
One of those young athletes that have blossomed is junior Adam Deterding. Deterding is the defending Class 5A 110-meter hurdle champion. That title goes with a runner-up finish in the high jump and third-place showing in triple jump last year at State.
On Thursday, Deterding blazed a 14.43 hand-timed 110-meter hurdle race to defeat Western Athletic Conference rival Jonathan Duvall by over half of a second. The time was the state’s best on the season and a personal best.
The hurdles are now Deterding’s best event, but that was far from the case just two years ago.
“We tried him as a hurdler as a freshman and it was so God-awful ugly that we pulled him out of it. It shows you what kind of coach I am,” Cornelson joked.
Luckily, Cornelsen threw him back into the event as a sophomore where Deterding worked his way up to become the best in Class 5A.
“I think it was just the persistence on trying to get me to go through it,” Deterding said. “I worked at it for about a month and a half before the first meet (as a sophomore). I started off not that good, but slowly it improved.”
Deterding finished runner-up to teammate Derek Bixeman in the high jump and was also second to Goddard’s Nick Betts in the triple jump.
Hays’ rise as a track team can be directly linked along with the rise of the football program, which Cornelsen guided to its first playoff appearance since 1995 this past fall.
“There is no doubt for us that it goes hand-in-hand. We expect our players that if they are not baseball kids to be out for track,” Cornelson said.
Focusing on getting the football athletes out helped the Indians to at least on individual champion last year.
“Cade Sharp, one of our good throwers and returning state champion in shot (put), at some schools I am not sure he would have been out for track,” Cornelson said. “It is not his first love. Football is his first love, but he knew that he better be out for track.”
Sharp finished as a runner-up in the shot put to teammate Zack Binder on Thursday. Binder threw 50-feet-one-inch to Sharp’s 49-3 performance.
Even with the dominating wins to start the season, Cornelsen knows his team still must improve to defend its titles.
“When it comes to the end it is not if you are good everywhere. It is where you are great,” Cornelson said. “We have to get our good kids to where their times and distances are great and we are not there yet.”
Carroll girls take team title
The Bishop Carroll girls are also defending Class 5A team champions and looked that way again on Thursday with 72.5 team points to beat Garden City by three points.
Carroll only had three champions at Valley Center, but they were high-quality showings.
Katherine Dillard became just the second girl in the state to break the 2:20 barrier in the 800 with a time of 2:19.34 to win the race by just over a second over Valley Center’s Morgan Wedekind. Her time is just under one second behind Alli Cash of Shawnee Mission West’s top time.
Kaelyn Balch threw down a stellar 11:12.97 performance in the 3200-meter run, which was a race she won by 50 seconds over Andover’s Elise Larson. Balch’s performance is the second-best in the state this year as well.
Brady Nordhus was Carroll’s third champion with a time of 48.97 to win in the 300-meter hurdles.
Wedekind had to settle for second in the 800, but won the 1600 in her first race of the day in a time of 5:19.12, which is the third-best time in the state this year.
Andover’s Jaylyn Agnew posted the second-best high jump mark in the state this year with a leap of five-feet-five-inches to win the high jump.
Meagan Williams’ 135-foot-four-inch throw in the javelin won the event by 15-feet and is the third-best mark in the state this year.