Let’s take a look at possible returners for the 2013 Kansas prep track & field season.
Emily Brigham (Shawnee-Mill Valley) gave Kansas its second all-time state best in the girls’ pole vault for the second straight year in 2012. Brigham’s 13’7” best, cleared in July 2012, took over the top spot on the all-time Kansas list and led all American prep girls. She was recognized as the second ranked US prep vaulter for 2012 on Track & Field News annual All-American listing and entered the 2013 season as the no. 1-ranked US prep returner by T&FN. Brigham has cleared 13’6.25” in February, a mark that ranks as the no. 7 all-time mark in US prep indoor vault history. Brigham shouldn’t have to travel too far to find plenty of competition since Cassie Wait (Gardner-Edgerton) is just down the road. Wait cleared 12’10” last season and ranks second on the all-time Kansas list, but a collegiate volleyball career may be her focus this spring.
Brigham showed her versatility when she moved into the no. 2 spot on the all-time Kansas long jump list in 2012 with her windy, season best 20’4.25”. That jump ranked no. 7 in the US for all preps under all conditions, windy and legal, in 2012 and put Brigham on the Track & Field News list of top prep returners for 2013 at the no. 12 spot.
Alli Cash (SM West) enters the 2013 season as the state’s all-time leader at 1,500 meters, 1,600 meters, and 1-mile after 2012. Her 4:39.98 best set in placing third at the adidas Diamond Grand Prix Dream Mile held on Randall’s Island, N.Y. in June ranked her no. 6 among all USA preps last season and she is ranked as the third-best prep returner in the country for 2013 at the 1600m/1-mile distance by Track & Field News. She currently ranks fourth on the all-time Kansas 3,200-meter list and 13th all-time in Kansas at 800 meters and I’m sure she has moving up on both of those lists as goals for this season. Cash will be going for her second straight sweep of the three distance events at the state meet and with her gold medals in the 800 and 1600 as a sophomore, she could graduate with state meet titles six, seven and eight.
The girls’ high jump may be the state’s spotlight event in 2013. Grace Pickell (SM East) and Jaylyn Agnew (Andover) cleared 5’10.5” and 5’10” in winning last spring’s Class 6A and 5A state titles, respectively. Those clearances ranked tied at no. 4 and no. 6 among all US preps in 2012. Pickell wrapped up her 2012 season ranked no. 5 on Track & Field News’ All-American team. Among US preps returning for 2013, Pickell is ranked fourth and Agnew is tied for fifth.
Alexa Harmon-Thomas (Lawrence Free State) had what was probably for her a somewhat disappointing state meet in 2012 as she medaled three times, but none of them where gold. It appears Harmon-Thomas doesn’t want to have the 2013 season end like 2012 as she has already cleared 5’10 ½” this winter. She cleared 5’10” as she won the Simplot Indoor Games high jump title in Pocatello, Idaho in mid-February, then 5’10 ½” as part of her second place finish in the pentathlon at the New Balance Indoor HS Nationals held in New York City, March 8-10. Her New Balance Indoor pentathlon score of 3738 points ranks her as the no. 4 performer with the eighth all-time best performance in national high school-age group history. Kansas hasn’t had a girl clear six feet in the high jump since Kym Carter (Wichita East) jumped the all-time state best of 6’2.25” in 1982. Will 2013 be the year for Kansas to finally see another girl clear six feet?
Harmon-Thomas (Lawrence Free State) led the state in the 100-meter hurdles and grabbed the no. 10 spot on the all-time state 100-meter hurdle list as a freshman in 2011. Throw in a state top 10 mark in the high jump, state medals last season in the 300 hurdles, long jump, and high jump as well as the state’s second all-time heptathlon mark (she ranked 10th among US preps in 2013 with a heptathlon best of 4688, but has a personal best of 4760 set in 2011) and you can see why college coaches are keeping a close eye on her development.
Jerel Morrow (Emporia) posted the longest long jump by a boy in Kansas prep history with his windy 25’8.5” last season, a jump that ranked no. 2 among all USA preps under all-conditions for 2012. Track & Field News has ranked Jerel, an Oklahoma State University football signee, as the no. 10 US prep returner for 2013. Morrow will be looking for his third-straight state long jump title, a feat accomplished by only three other boys in state meet history and not seen since Jake Sharp (Salina Central) did it between 2004 and 2006.
The Kansas girls’ consistently rank among the nation’s prep best in the javelin. Danie Plank (Gardner-Edgerton) will be going for her fourth-straight javelin state title in 2013, after winning the 6A title in 2012 to go along with 5A titles in 2010 and 2011. Plank threw 150’0” in 2011, but after a 2012 best of 145’8” will return for the 2013 season ranked no. 2 in Kansas behind Nicolle Murphy (Arkansas City) who chucked the spear 150’0” last season and finished 2012 ranked among the nation’s top 20 preps. Murphy’s 2012 best also ties her with Plank for the no. 13 spot on the all-time Kansas list. Track & Field News has ranked Murphy and Plank in a tie for sixth among returning US preps in the javelin for 2013. Not to be overlooked is Ally Zerbe (Mission Valley) who, with her 145’5” best from last season, is ranked tenth by T&FN on its list of top returners for 2013. We might note that takes a throw of at least 151’9” to gain a spot among Kansas’ all-time top 10 in the javelin and you know that has to be a goal each of them has their eye on for this season.
Athletes who already have a place in state meet history and return in 2012 to reinforce their places in Kansas prep track and field history will include:
Garrison LeRock (Andale) and Kai Rowden (Olathe North) both cleared 6’10” in the high jump a year ago and are listed by Track & Field News as tied for fifth among US preps returning for 2013.
Joe Reagan (Topeka Seaman) led Kansas’ boys’ sprinters as a freshman last year and ranked among the nation’s top 20 for all-conditions with his windy 10.45.
Ashanti Hutton (Bishop Miege) is only a sophomore, but with a 2012 best of 55.34 is already no. 7 on the all-time Kansas 400-meter list. The 400 meters could be another of the highlight events for Kansas girls in 2013 as the top five performers on the 2012 state list could all return.
Heather Ruder (Hays-Thomas More Prep-Marian) is already an eight-time individual state champion. She has a pair of distance sweeps in hand, having won the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter runs in 2010 and 2011 before winning the 800 and 1600 meters as a junior in 2013. Ruder has a shot at becoming just the sixth girl to be a four-time state champion at 800 meters and/or 1600 meters in 2013. Jenna Farris (Lincoln) has already won three straight 3,200-meter titles (one in 1A, two in 2A) and could join Ruder as a four-time state champion in the state meet’s longest distance event.
Lukas Koch (Centralia) has an opportunity to become a two-time, three-event state champion as he returns after sweeping the Class 1A 800/1600/3200 triple in 2012. A five-time state champion, Koch won the 1600 and 3200 in 2011 and could become only the fifth boy to win three state championships at the 3200-meter distance, and the first since 2002.
Other athletes going for a third straight state title in their respective event include:
Boys: Avery McNelly (Douglass) 400 meters; Adam Deterding (Hays) 110m Hurdles, Sean Newlan (Phillipsburg) 110m Hurdles; Dallas Natt (Ottawa) Triple Jump; Cade Sharp (Hays) Shot Put.
Girls: Oasis Hernandez (Emporia) 200 meters, Taylor Needham (Cheney) 400 meters; Morgan Wedekind (Valley Center) 1600 meters; Heather Melton (Kiowa County-Greensburg) 100m Hurdles, Brianna Blackwell (Herington) 300m Hurdles; Jenny Whitledge (Tonganoxie) High Jump; LaShae Hestrom (Republic County-Belleville) Pole Vault.
While the above athletes are going for three or four consecutive state titles, other returners you might watch for this spring will be: Boys: Hurdles – Jake May (Andale) and Trenton Hammond (Liberal); Girls: Sprints – La’tiyera Yeargin (Newton).
I’m sure I have left out individuals that should have been highlighted, but I’d just ask that they use it as a little extra motivation and not take my oversight personally!
Year-in and year-out Kansas high school track and field yields group after group of outstanding performers, some expected and others unknown as the season unfolds. Why should 2013 be any different?
It is only ten weeks until we gather at Wichita State University for the 103rd KSHSAA State Track & Field Championships! Let the fun begin!!
All-Time State Bests
100m 10.34 Oliver Bradwell, Wichita (2010 – summer, no school team)
200m 20.7yw Roger Timken, Cimarron (1966)
400m 46.76 Wendell Gaskins, KC Washington (1991)
800m 1:49.6ny Jim Ryun, Wichita East (1964)
1600m 3:53.7y Jim Ryun, Wichita East (1965)........(3:55.3)
3200m 8:43.59ny Brent Steiner, SM South (1979)
2k Steeple 5:58.39 Ryan Wilson, Wichita Heights (2002)
110m HH 13.4w Jared Huske, Highland Park (2005)........(13.71)
300m IH 36.18 Doug Hedrick, SM East (1983)
4x100m 41.63 KC Washington (1991)
4x400m 3:17.0 Wichita West (1987)
4x800m 7:40.1y Wichita East (1965)........(7:42.9)
HJ 7-04.5 Brad Speer, Wichita East (1984)
PV 17-06 Steve Stubblefield, KC Wyandotte (1980)
LJ 25-08.5 Jerel Morrow, Emporia (2012)
TJ 51-07.75 Reggie Jones, KC Wyandotte (1989)
SP 69-01.25 Clint Johnson, SM South (1980)
DT 213-06 Clint Johnson, SM South (1980)
JT 238-04 Johann Swanepoel, SM South (2010)
100m 11.52p Alisha Keys, Junction City (2011)
200m 23.6y Lori Green, Topeka West (1976)
400m 53.57 DeAngela McDougald, Junction City (2006)
53.4 Janell Smith, Fredonia (1965) (52.3 mixed race)
800m 2:06.67 Trisa Nickoley, Shawnee Hts (2004)
1600m 4:38.28y Alli Cash, SM West (2012)
3200m 10:14.83y Cathy Saxon, SM West (1979)
2k Steeple 7:33.50 Lisa Imgrund, SM Northwest (2010)
100m H 13.62w Janelle Wright, Topeka (2000)
300m LH 42.45 Julie Curtis, Manhattan (2000).......(42.2)
4x100m 47.27 Leavenworth (2009)
4x400m 3:53.0 Junction City (1982)
3:53.0 Topeka Seaman (1986)
4x800m 9:20.63 SM South (2007)
HJ 6-02.25 Kym Carter, Wichita East (1982)
PV 13-07 Emily Brigham, Mill Valley (2012)
LJ 20-06.5n Sandra Myers, Little River (1979)
TJ 42-11.75 Dahlia Ingram, Liberal (1995)
SP 51-10.75 Kearsten Peoples, Ottawa (2010)
DT 166-07 Kearsten Peoples, Ottawa (2010)
JT 174-06 Kendra Wecker, Marysville (2000)