Moving up the All-Time list

Braden Smith (Olathe South) moved up into the #12 spot on the Kansas All-Time boys’ discus list with his throw of 194’1” at the Gardner-Edgerton Mid-Season Invitation on April 25. He added a career best shot put toss of 59’6 ½” that evening for a solid one-day double.

The boys’ shot put at the State could be a fun event to follow since three of the six classes currently have a thrower with a season best of 59-feet or better. The Class 4A girls’ shot at State could also be interesting since currently six of the top eight girl shot putters in the state are in that one class. Better yet, no regional has more than two of them so they all could possibly make it to Wichita!

Crazy weather, again!

The crazy, unpredictable Kansas weather we’re having this spring is making it tough on athletes, coaches and administrators. This week has brought high winds on Monday, cool temperatures on Tuesday with an occasional shower, with the temperature warming up slightly the next couple of days to what could be a pretty nice day by Friday. A year ago, meets were cancelled this coming weekend due to snow! Hopefully, that is behind us for this spring!

Iron deficiency anemia in distance runners

The evidence is becoming more and more evident that iron deficiency anemia may be more prevalent among distance runners than previously expected.

The unachieved expected improvement of the up-and-coming athlete; the athlete that appears ready for a breakout season but just can’t get over the hump and may even see their times slow from previous bests.

I have become aware of that pattern becoming apparent in another young athlete; one, we all, coaches, parents, athlete and fans, thought would likely move to the top of the performance charts this year. But, the improvements just didn’t/wouldn’t come despite a great off-season of training, with no appreciable weight gain,

Finally, almost out of desperation, the parents took the athlete in for a blood test. The result was a ferritin level way below normal. Hopefully, now knowing what the problem apparently is a path has been plotted that will allow that talented young person, one who had been embarrassed, depressed and felt helpless not knowing what was “wrong” with them, to get back to being the exciting, vibrant young person they were a year ago.

I’m not a doctor, just a concerned individual, ex-coach, who hopes every person can reach their God given potential, academically, athletically, socially. Iron deficiency anemia may be the answer.

Food for thought – Required FAT for regional meets, multiple classes at regional sites or both

The number of available FAT (fully automatic timing) systems across the state is increasing each year. Not only are individual school districts buying and using their own systems, but leagues are going together and making the investment, training a team of system operators and making the system available to all the schools in the league, thus allowing all of them to take advantage of such a system. In addition, there are several companies and/or teams of individuals who rent out systems and provide the operators for use at meets hosted by individual schools.

I was recently announcing a high school meet and heard an athletic director say, “I’ll never run another (track & field) meet or cross country meet again without one (i.e., FAT system). It is well worth the money spent and time saved (organizing and running off a meet).” That was not the first time I’d heard that or a very similar comment.

Now, let’s take that one step further. What would it take to have every regional meet in Kansas fully automatically timed? (NOTE: Colorado requires FAT and legal wind marks for qualification to regionals.)

Currently we have six classifications for track & field, each with four regional meets. Twenty-four total meets all currently run off on a single day (if the weather cooperates). I’m not sure we yet have 24 FAT systems with well qualifiers operators available at this point in time, so let me throw out a couple of other possible solutions.

One: What if we would run split the classifications up and ran off half of the classifications on one day and the other half the next day (i.e., Thursday and Friday, or Friday or Saturday)? Maybe set the regionals for Thursday and Friday leaving Saturday available as a make-up day if needed. Let the KSHSAA Board decide which classes would go on which day, then reverse it the next year. With the unpredictability of Kansas weather, one day may be beautiful and the other horrible, but maybe not.

Or two: what if we went to combined regional sites? What I am suggesting here is having each regional site serve as the host for regional meets for two different classifications, running off two regional meets at the same site on the same day. I know this would help the KSHSAA staff in its annual task of having to find, and in some cases “beg”, schools to take on the responsibility of hosting regionals since they would have to find only 12 host sites across the state rather than the 24 sites currently needed. They could combine a Class 1A regional with a 4A regional and put a 2A with a 5A, etc. Assign/offer the regionals to the best available sites, whether they are a lower classification school or a higher class school in the area. (Assigning regionals could be another blog!)

I see two real benefits resulting from having the combined regionals. First the number of necessary FAT systems needed to cover every regional meet would be reduced to 12 (a workable number, I believe), and second, running the two classifications simultaneously (i.e., Class 1A Girls 100m hurdles followed by the 4A Girls 100m hurdles; 1A Boys 110m hurdles followed by the 4A Boys 110m hurdles; etc.) would give the athletes a little extra time between events which in turn would/should produce a higher quality meet and therefore, advance more of the best athletes to state from a format more closely resembling the state meet schedule.

I would be remiss without mentioning meet officials. Some of our smaller schools across the state have crews of dedicated, local officials that are just as knowledgeable, or not more so, than the officials working the meets at some larger school meets. Still, I would propose having three or four “certified” officials assigned to each regional site to supervise the administration of the meet. I believe this would be a good move. I would suggestion having one certified official not necessarily run off, but supervise the jumps (HJ, PV, LJ, TJ), a second for the throws (SP, DT, JT), another to supervise the track events plus have the currently required, KSHSAA registered starter.

I know I started doing that when I was in the office and I was amazed how many coaches (and parents) later came up and said how smoothly the meet had run off. “The people in charge of the events knew what they were doing!” We are fortunate in Kansas to have some really dedicated certified officials that work meets at all levels, high school and middle school to college, university and open meets! Don’t be afraid to ask for their help!

Just some thoughts, but I would like to see them discussed and possibly considered!

Still, looking for athletes to sing the National Anthem at the State Meet

One of jobs seemingly overlooked by most folks is the task of finding individuals to sing the national anthem at the State Track & Field Championships. If you or one of your athletes would be interested, please contact Don Steffens, the long-time state meet track announcer and KSHSAA Hall of Fame member. Preference will be given to competing athletes, but Don would be glad to know of your interest so he can be planning ahead. Don’s email address is: or