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Great Bend, Andale girls compete for tie

The meet featured a host of the state’s best, and even some of the top throwers in the nation.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 4:28 PM CDT
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) -A few years after turning Ellinwood into a Class 2A powerhouse, Lyles Lashley is doing the same for his Class 5A Great Bend teams. Three decades before Lashley, it was Hall of Fame coach Jack Bowman who turned the Panthers into a track and field dynamo. Thursday in Great Bend, Bowman was honored on the field during the inaugural Jack Bowman Invitational.

This year’s new-and-improved meet featured additions from Andale, Bishop Carroll, and Campus, and included schools from all six classifications. With an all-out effort from freshman Kara Feist after a dropped baton in the final lap of the 4x400m relay, Great Bend pulled even with Andale for the meet win with 138 points. Bishop Carroll finished third with 97 points. The Andale boys won with 117 points, followed by Bishop Carroll with 111 points, and Garden City with 94.5 points.

The meet featured a host of the state’s best, and even some of the top throwers in the nation. Andale’s javelin throwers forced that event to be moved to nearby soccer fields. Winds were still a factor for early events. Lady Indian junior Mckenzie Fairchild, ranked No. 1 in the nation, won by nearly 41 feet with a throw of 150-9. Great Bend sophomore Macy Nachtigal won the silver at 110-0.

Andale junior Riley Marx was ranked No. 1 in the nation with a debut throw of 209-9 earlier this spring. He hit 188-2 to easily win Thursday’s competition. Hays senior Nate Brooks collected the silver with a throw of 157-7.

Fairchild, ranked No. 2 in Kansas this spring, had to settle for the silver in the discus with a best effort of 112-6. Great Bend senior Taryn Warren pulled the upset at home with the gold on a toss of 113-4.5. Kiowa County senior Bo West won the boys’ event by just five inches at 141-3.

Fairchild, also ranked No. 2 all-class in the shot put, did get the gold in that event with a throw of 38-5. Warren picked up the silver at 35-11. Andale junior Jackson Kraus finished second in the discus and won the shot by nearly four feet at 58-7. Garden City senior Terrell Elliott finished second at 54-11.

Still in the field, Hays senior Jordan Dale entered the day as one of just four high jumpers around the state to clear the bar at 6-6 this season. He likely moved into the state lead, winning Thursday’s competition by six inches at 6-8. Andale senior Easton Landers finished second at 6-2. On the girls’ side, Bishop Carroll sophomore Christina Mount won by two inches at 5-4 and missed a school-record attempt at 5-5.

The Andale girls have dominated the Class 4A rankings in the pole vault through the first two weeks. Junior Claire Rowland joined teammate Annabeth Baalmann as one of just five vaulters to clear 11-0 in the state this year. Hoisington sophomore Shellamae Farmer broke up the monopoly Thursday with a second-place effort of 10-6. Andale took three of the top-four finishes.

Premer wins pair of hurdle golds for GB

Among the many bright spots on the track at Thursday’s invite was Great Bend sophomore Makenzie Premer in the hurdle events. Ranked No. 3 all-class in the 300s, she ran the state’s second-fastest time this spring for the win in 45.76. Carroll junior Evan Nordhus won the silver in 46.63, and Great Bend sophomore Sadie Spray placed third in 47.91.

Premer also entered the day with a top-20 all-class time in the 100m hurdles. She opened the finals with her best time of the season in 15.59 for the win. Garden City senior Kristin Roth ran second in 15.77. Andale took three of the top-six spots.

Great Bend’s 4x400 team moved to No. 4 around Kansas with a solid showing at the Pre-State meet in Wichita last week. Those who stuck around for Thursday’s finale were treated to a show. The Lady Panther team of Premer, Spray, Eliana Beckham, and Kara Feist won by just 0.39 seconds in 4:10.00. The final handoff to Feist went haywire and Andale was able to take a sizeable lead into the final 200 meters. Feist pulled ahead in the final 20 meters for the win. Andale’s team of Camryn Winter, Betsy Reichenberger, Ava Steven, and Maddie Schrandt posted the state’s fifth-best time this spring for the silver in 4:10.39.

In boys’ action, Great Bend junior Kaiden Esfeld entered with a top-20 all-class time in the 3200m run. Thursday he focused on the mile, cutting six seconds from his season best to win in 4:25.91. Carroll senior Carson McEachern stayed with Esfeld for part of the final lap before falling off for the silver in 4:26.94, still 10 seconds ahead of the next finisher.

Esfeld, ranked No. 4 all-class in the 800m this spring, cut more than half a second off his season best to win that race in 1:57.87. Carroll junior Trent Zimbelman ran second in 1:58.95.

Bishop Carroll dominated the girls’ 1600m run with senior Hope Jackson leading the way in 5:20.56. Freshman Brooke Martin followed in 5:37.81, and Dodge City senior Serenity Larson won the bronze in 5:40.20.

Jackson was also part of Carroll’s 4x800 team that cut 14 seconds from its previous season-best for the gold in 10:25.12. Jackson was joined by Martin, Brynna Gormley, and Kylie Doonan. Great Bend’s team of Emma Loomis, Kate Welcher, Eliana Beckham, and Darcy Feist finished second in 10:30.29.

After two weeks of the 2022 season, just two boys’ 400m dashers had cracked 50 seconds. Thursday Great Bend’s Oliver Dominguez won the gold in 50.69. Carroll junior Keaton Hansard, ranked No. 5 in Kansas this spring, finished second in 50.78.

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