It’s been 11 years* since Wichita Collegiate hosted a track meet. On Monday, April 2 the Spartans showed off their new track; even better for the host team they claimed the girls’ title and came away with several strong performances.
Spartan Head Coach Don Funke said it was great to be on their home track again.
“That was fun and successful way to bring track back to the Collegiate community. I was excited to see our track athletes in the spotlight and thrilled to see the number spectators at our first high school track meet since 1999*,” said Funke.
The Spartan girls’ team won the Collegiate Invitational with 88 points. Sunrise took second with 67, The Independent School placed third with 45 and Circle came in fourth with 27.
The boys’ team was edged out of victory by the Independent Panthers by one point. TIS won the boys title with 86 points and Collegiate finished with 85. Sunrise took third with 44 and Circle placed fourth with 22.
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Coach Funke said he was proud of the team’s effort on their home track. “Even though we have a small team, we have some individuals with an abundance of talent,” said Funke.
That talent was evident with a number of Spartans claiming more than one gold medal. Junior Rhys Powell led the boys’ team with a sweep of all three sprints. He won the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes.
Senior Grace LeMaster picked up four golds as she swept the hurdle events (the 100 meter intermediate and 300 low hurdles) and ran on two first place relay teams.
Teammate Veronica Taylor also picked up two individual victories in the 100 and 200 meter dashes for the girls and joined LeMaster on a winning relay.
Junior Conner Flemming won two golds for Collegiate. Flemming won the 110 high hurdles and the long jump.
Sophomore Jake Barrett won the 300-intermediate hurdles for the Spartans; and he ran the first leg on the first place 4 X 400 meter relay. Barrett was joined by juniors Karsten Barragree and Aaron Evans and sophomore Christian Kraft.
Freshman Essense Dickinson won the 400 meters for the Collegiate girls. She was also a member of the winning 4 X 400 meter relay team. LeMaster picked up her third gold on that relay. Dickinson and LeMaster were joined by junior Rachel Wolansky and senior Sydney Lower.
LeMaster’s fourth gold was as a member of the the 4 X 100 meter relay team for the Spartans. She was joined by Taylor, junior T’Keyah Williams and senior Lily Shawver.
Hannha Melhorn won the high jump for the Spartans; while Brandon Lee won the shot put on the boys’ side.
Independent had a triple winner in the field events. Sam Carter won the javelin, discus and shot put.
For Circle, Megan Walhers won the long jump and triple jump events.
Sunrise won the 800 meter run with victories from Buddy Hield and Janell Kidd. They also picked up the double victories in the 3200 meters from Ryan Dungan and Anna Heer.
Independent matched that with victories from Jacob Campbell and Rachel Swank in the 1600 meters. The Panther boys then won the 4 X 100 meter relay and the 4 X 800 meter relay.
Sunrise claimed the girls 4 X 800 relay title.
Circle’s Dalton Sardou also won the high jump; while Brice Dean picked up gold in the triple jump.
Independent picked up two more wins in field events. Jared Bohaty won the discus while Dustin Stephens won gold in the javelin.
The sun was shining on Collegiate’s first home meet in more than a decade. All-in-all, Coach Funke was pleased with the day.
“Coming off of spring break and our annual ISAS Fine Arts Festival, the performances by the track athletes on our team give our coaches reason to have high expectations. I am excited about the things to come,” said Funke.
*After publication of the article it was brought to CatchItKansas.com's attention that Collegiate hosted a meet in 2001.