Two more over 60-feet

Jayce Brack, Great Bend junior, broke through the shot put 60-foot barrier at Thursday’s McPherson Invitational with a throw of 60’11 ½”, guaranteeing that 2014 would be the second straight season that Kansas will have at least two boys bettering the 60-foot barrier with the 12-pound sphere. Brack’s throw moved him into the #2 spot on the 2014 state performers list, only to be bumped down into the #3 spot on Firday by Willie Morrison.

Willie Morrison (Leavenworth) moved into the #2 spot on the Kansas boys’ shot put list with a throw of 61’1” at the Topeka-Seaman Relays. Braden Smith (Olathe South) joined the 60-foot club with a throw of 60’ 1 ½” at the St. Thomas-Aquinas Invitational on May 2. Braden added a discus throw of 195’3” to move up on the all-time discus list to #11.

Andrew Henn (Paola) became the first Kansas boy to throw the javelin over 200 feet since 2012 when he tossed the spear 204’5” at the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational on May 2. Closing in on the 200-foot barrier are Aaron True (Southern Coffey County) and Jeff Ast (Andale) who have season bests after last week of 199’5” and 199’2”, respectively.

Finley into All-Time Top 10

Matia Finley (Lawrence) moved into the all-time top 10 in the girls’ discus with her throw of 155’8” at the Topeka-Seaman Relays on May 2. She and sister Rebecca stand 1-2 in the girls’ discus where Rebecca has thrown 148’11”.

Incentive to use FAT at Regionals

It was good to see the KSHSAA Executive Board unanimously support the recommendation by Executive Director Gary Musselman and Assistant Executive Director Mark Lentz to approve a $300 stipend to be paid by the Association to each regional host school who verify use of a fully automatic timing system this spring. Now if we can get enough FAT systems to cover all regional sites or come up with a plan to cover all sites. (See last week’s blog on having multiple classes at regional sites.)

Assigning regional sites

I started thinking about this topic when the site assignments came out for this spring’s regional meets. Class 2A has 64 schools and two of the regional sites ended up in. locations in central Kansas only about 35 miles apart, but they each had schools from the northeast and southeast corners of the state, respectively, assigned to them.

I feel for the KSHSAA staff every year when it comes to assigning schools to regionals for track, or setting up districts or sub-states for other sports. Finding schools willing to serve as host sites is really a thankless job and one that involves many more hours, emails and phone calls than the average person on the street might imagine. Much as some patrons might think, schools generally are not lining up, chomping at the bit for the opportunity to host these events.

I’ve heard administrators say, “It is easier and cheaper for me to send my teams on the road than to host post-season events.” Schools don’t make money hosting these events. To be completely honest, hosting is about maybe gaining a so-called “home court/home field” advantage.

Having visited with the folks in the KSHSAA office, I know how difficult it can be to fill all the slots necessary to fulfill the predetermined number of sub-state and regional sites in addition to the finding state tournament sites. The host schools’ share of these tournament gates generally don’t cover the cost of paying for the staff necessary to properly run these events, so there is some validity to the administrator’s comment. In addition to the annual dues paid by the member schools, the post-season series (i.e., sub-state, regional, state) is where the KSHSAA tries to cover its budget. Still, speaking from my time in the activities/athletics office of our local district, I along with our coaches felt the home court/field/course/track meant enough to our teams and local supporters that we gladly assumed these fiscal costs and accepted KSHSAA post-season opportunities to host every chance we got, much to the displeasure of some our neighboring schools. After we hosted sub-state basketball four out of six years (and generated what were, during that timeframe, the Association’s biggest sub-state gates), the other schools clamored for a change in sub-state assignment policy and we didn’t host another sub-state for seven years.

But, back to the topic of regional assignments. There is no way the Association is ever going to satisfy everyone and especially some the more rabid of each school’s local supporters. I know the KSHSAA staff has heard all of following and then some, “So-and-so is getting to host again this year.” “How come we are being sent to (you name the site). Why didn’t you send us to (you name the site).” “So-and-so (you name the school) never gets put in a regional as tough as ours. They always get to state.”

If someone really wants to get a feel for what the folks in Topeka are up against in making these decisions, get a state road map and a seven or nine different colors of stick pins. Stick those pins on the map where each of the KSHSAA member schools is located. You will be amazed at how many schools may be clustered in one class while in another class they are widely spread apart. Add to the assignment task trying to equalize travel time and distance which in turn affects loss of class time. Now you can begin to see some of the difficulty of attempting to spread the “wealth” of selecting schools to be hosts. But, first and foremost, try not to look at it just from the advantage of your local school. Good luck!