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2A State Track Recap: Peterson, Wilson, Hammond highlight final day of season

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 8:38 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Entering the 2021 state track meet, just a dozen female athletes in state history had ever medaled in four individual events. Gardner-Edgerton’s Kendra Wait entered that rarified air Thursday, and Smoky Valley’s Belle Peters just missed the feat Friday.

Saturday it was Chesney Peterson’s turn…almost. The Stanton County sophomore led Class 2A in the 400, 800, 1600, and 3200m runs. She won her four golds in her first state appearance but missed the individual tally after swapping out the 400 for the 4x400.

Peterson’s effort was not enough to help the Lady Trojans past 2A powerhouse Garden Plain. The Owls more than doubled-up the 2A field with 108 points, followed by Stanton County’s 48 points and Valley Heights’ 44 points.

On the boys’ side, Sterling senior Tyus Wilson stole the show with a 2A meet record in the high jump. Tied for the national lead in the event, Wilson missed an attempt to take the national lead outright at 7-4.

Garden Plain cruised to the team title with 73 points, followed by Kansas City Christian with 44 points, and Oakley with 37 points for third. Hoxie (35), Wichita County (33), Moundridge (33), and Hillsboro (32) also had big days.

Peterson sets record in 1600, sweeps distance runs

Peterson led all of Kansas in the 800m run this spring, and she ranked No. 4 all-class in the 1600m run, No. 10 all-class in the 3200m run, and No. 16 all-class in the 400m dash. She opened state Saturday morning by running alone to win the 3200m in 10:47.92, her best time of the season by 24 seconds and the third-fastest time in Kansas this spring. Ellinwood senior Erin Hammeke claimed the silver in 11:16.43.

The reigning 2A cross country champion, Peterson kept up the pace in her next event: the 1600. There, she just eclipsed the 33-year-old state meet record by 0.27 seconds for the win in 5:00.72. Kansas City Christian’s Alysia Wagner ran second in 5:19.52, and Hammeke finished third in 5:22.35. Hoxie senior Emily Dierks placed fourth in 5:27.61.

“Honestly I didn’t know,” Peterson said of her record pace. “I knew I was really close the last 50. When I crossed the line I saw the clock hadn’t hit (5:00.9) yet so I knew I got it.”

Stanton County sophomore Chesney Peterson won four gold medals Saturday. She set a 2A state...
Stanton County sophomore Chesney Peterson won four gold medals Saturday. She set a 2A state meet record in the 1600m run and also won the 800, 1600, and 4x400m races.((photo by Mike Courson))

Peterson said she just runs hard in every race and was not concerned about her final two races of the day.

“I try to focus on one at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed,” she said. “It makes me stress out with the race I’m in more than I should if I’m thinking about what’s coming up next.”

Just two female prep athletes in Kansas have ever won four individual gold medals on the track at one state meet. Claflin’s Jackie Stiles, in 1996, is the only girl to have done it with any distance, winning the 400, 800, 1600 and 3200m runs. Peterson had to decide which event to drop heading into regionals.

“I was deciding right before the regional whether I wanted to do the 3200 or the 400,” she said. “I decided to do the 3200 because the likelihood of me winning it was higher. I was ranked No. 1 in the 400 but if I was tired or got stuck in the heat of the moment, two seconds and I slip up and I’m off of it. In the 2-mile, I thought I still had a good 20 seconds.”

Late in the day, Peterson took the 800m gold in 2:16.80, followed by Berean Academy’s Sonya Zimmerman in 2:25.43. Wagner ran third in 2:26.18, just ahead of Sterling freshman Faith Ekart in fourth place in 2:26.72.

Stanton County ran the best 4x400m time in 2A during the regular season but ran the fifth-best time at regionals. Saturday the Lady Trojans turned it back on for the gold. The team of Suzanne Farnham, Addyson Scott, Lauren Canny, and Peterson cut nearly four seconds off its best time to win in 4:11.83. Bennington picked up the silver in 4:16.03.

Wilson wakes up crowd in high jump

All eyes of a sizable Saturday crowd were tuned into the high jump with the national leader in action. With a PR of 7-3, Wilson passed until the bar reached 6-8, advancing to 7-0 on three-straight jumps. His fourth jump of 7-0.5 beat a 22-year-old record by a quarter of an inch, but Wilson cleared 7-2 two jumps later. Three subsequent attempts at 7-4 failed. West Elk senior Devin Loudermilk secured the silver medal by four inches at 6-8.

“That was a fun day of jumping,” the three-time state champion said. “Obviously I wanted the 7-4 but we’ll take records when we get them. We didn’t have this last year and I was kind of missing it.”

Indianapolis Lawrence Central’s Kamyren Garrett was tied with Wilson for the national lead at 7-3. Wilson, who will jump at the University of Nebraska, just missed the national lead outright.

“Probably my third attempt was my best attempt,” he said. “I have to work on my patience, probably. I can feel where I am over the bar but sometimes I just get a little amped up trying to make it.”

Earlier in the morning, Wilson placed third in the long jump at 21-5.75. St. Mary’s Colgan senior Doug Brown won the gold there by three inches at 22-0.50. Wilson also won a bronze in the 110m hurdles.

To cap Wilson’s big day, his mother, Rene (Zimmerman) Wilson was honored as a 2020 inductee into the KSHSAA Hall of Fame. At Sterling High, Rene won nine individual state titles and led the Lady Black Bears to three team titles. Her state meet records in the 2A triple jump (1990) and 3A long jump (1991) still stand today.

Hammond, Catlin lead Garden Plain

Garden Plain junior Brooke Hammond entered Saturday ranked No. 13 all-class in the 200m dash and No. 15 all-class in the 100m dash. She turned that into two championships. She won the 100m dash in 12.27, with freshman teammate Haidyn Thompson claiming the silver in 13.00. Bennington senior Jasey Downing ran third in 13.05.

The trio again finished in that order in the 200m dash with Hammond taking the win in 25.65, followed by Thompson in 26.75, and Downing in 26.78.

Lady Owl senior Allison Catlin entered Saturday’s 100m hurdle race ranked No. 14 all-class. She won the state title in 15.65, followed by Sedan’s Landrea Sears in 16.09. Republic County senior Emily Jensik claimed the bronze in 16.32, closely followed by Garden Plains sophomore Celia Puetz in 16.36 for fourth.

Classes 3A and 4A dominated the 300m hurdles this spring but Class 2A still had a pair of top-15 all-class runners. Catlin pulled the upset for her second gold in 46.07. Jensik, ranked No. 14 all-class won the silver in 46.51, and Uniontown junior Danielle Howard, ranked No. 11 all-class, finished third in 47.06, still 1.34 seconds ahead of Sears in fourth. Puetz ran sixth for the Owls in 49.49.

Lovesee competes in four events for Bluestem

Bluestem senior Torrance Lovesee entered state ranked No. 8 all-class in the triple jump. She needed every bit of effort to secure the win by less than two inches at 36-8. Moundridge senior Myiah Logue settled for the silver at 36-6.25. Lovesee also placed fifth in the long jump and seventh in the shot put.

Lovesee ranked No. 3 all-class in the discus this season with a best of 144-0. Saturday she reached only 116-0 for seventh place. Plainville senior Brooklyn Staab, ranked No. 8 all-class, got the win at 130-9. Yungeberg placed second at 126-10, and Saunders grabbed the bronze at 119-1.

Staab was one of five high jumpers to clear the bar at 5-2. Jefferson County North junior won the jump off for the title with Hutch Trinity senior Becca Hammersmith finishing second. Staab picked up the bronze.

The Class 2A shot put field featured three of the top-eight all-class throwers in Kansas this spring. Valley Heights junior Emma Yungeberg missed her season best by 3.5 inches for the win at 40-11. Oakley’s Liberty Booker finished second at 40-2.5, followed by Inman’s Claire Thiessen (39-3.5), Hillsboro’s Jessica Saunders (38-6.5) and Sterling’s Sadie Beagley (37-0).

Other notables:

Garden Plain senior Arden Rex was sitting in second prior to his final triple jump. There he reached 44-4 to take the gold from Hillsboro’s Carson Linnens, who finished second at 44-3.5. Bluestem’s Eyan Knipp placed third at 43-8.25.

Ranked No. 5 all-class in the javelin, Rex was a clear favorite to win that event. His second throw was good enough for the win but he peaked at 182-8 for the gold. Junior teammate Will Tice added nearly 13 feet to his final throw to move into second place at 176-6.

The Owls also took the top-two spots in the shot put. Senior Jack Haukap ranked No. 10 all-class this year and his final throw of the season was his best at state for the win at 52-5.75. Sophomore Luke Hillman placed second at 47-6.25, and Stanton County’s Roger Martinez finished third at 47-1.5.

Wichita County senior Sheldon Whalen ranked No. 7 all-class in the 300m hurdles. He cut 0.07 seconds off his best time to win in 39.78. Hoxie’s Caden White won the silver in 40.03.

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