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Andale girls on track for fifth-straight 4A title

Highlights from Class 4A State track meet in Wichita
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The stars were out in the field on the boys’ side in day one of the state track and field championships Friday. On the girls’ side, two of the best ran on the track late in the evening. Stanton County junior Chesney Peterson and Southeast of Saline senior Jentrie Alderson each won impressive 3200m titles. In team standings, Mill Valley got off to a big start in Class 5A, and Andale is on its way to a fifth-straight title in 4A.

Entering the 2022 state meet, just two female athletes have ever won four individual golds on the track. Only Jackie Stiles, in 1996, did it with a distance event. Peterson entered this year’s 2A field not only as the favorite in the 400, 800, 1600, and 3200m runs, but also the all-class leader in three of those events.

Peterson missed the 2A meet record in the 3200m run by 11 seconds Friday evening but still beat the rest of the field by 66 seconds in 10:52.65. Wabaunsee freshman Payton Wurtz, another qualifier in the same events as Peterson, won the silver in 11:58.07, and Ellis junior Madi Russell ran third in 12:09.25. Peterson, who ranks No. 4 all-time in Kansas in the 800m run, will be eyeing records in one or two events for Saturday’s finals.

A 23-year-old 3A meet record was in jeopardy when Alderson hit the track Friday evening. Alderson went on to win the 3A title by 70 seconds in 10:44.78, but she missed the meet record by 10 seconds. Prairie View freshman Bree Allen won the silver in 11:54.36, and Scott City senior Clare Hawkins ran third in 12:06.77.

With three state qualifiers in the pole vault, that was a good place for the Andale girls to begin another tour of dominance. Senior Annabeth Baalmann won the gold at 11-0, followed by junior teammate Claire Rowland at 10-0 for the silver. Senior Mary Meyer cleared the bar at 9-6 for sixth for the Lady Indians.

Even before that, Andale took three of the top-five spots in the Class 4A discus. Junior Mckenzie Fairchild nearly matched a season best for the gold at 130-1, followed by junior teammate Emery May at 121-1 for the silver. Sophomore Jessa Jarmer placed fifth on a throw of 109-4. Andale will also have three competitors in Saturday’s javelin competition and two more in the shot put with Fairchild the favorite to win both.

On the track, the Lady Indians qualified several through to Saturday’s finals. The 4x400 team of Ava Steven, Betsy Reichenberger, Camryn Winter, and Maddie Schrandt posted one of the state’s best times of the season for the preliminary win by nearly four seconds in 4:05.41.

The Great Bend girls need every point they can get to compete with Mill Valley in a big Class 5A race. The Lady Panther high jumpers came through in a big way. Salina Central’s Mykayla Cunningham, the favorite to win, cleared the bar at just 5-4 to drop to fourth. That opened the door for Andover Central senior Brittany Harshaw to win the title at 5-6. Great Bend junior Valarie Luna also cleared 5-6 for a PR and the silver, and sophomore Sadie Spray cleared 5-4 for the bronze.

Great Bend senior Taryn Warren also picked up big points in the 5A shot put with a silver medal on a throw of 37-5.5. Leavenworth sophomore Aarion Pickens, the favorite to win, did just that at 38-6.25.

On the track, Great Bend qualified its 4x100 and 4x400m relays into the finals with some of the state’s best relays this season. The Lady Panthers will also run the 4x800m relay Saturday. The Lady Panthers have two runners in the 800m run Saturday, and sophomore Makenzie Premer remains locked in a big hurdle battle with Mill Valley senior Quincy Hubert. The 5A 300s will feature three of the state’s times with Premer, Hubert, and Bishop Carroll’s Evan Nordhus. The 100s will feature three of the top-six hurdlers in Kansas this spring with Hubert, Premer, and Andover’s McKinlee Walker.

Back in the high jump, Chaparral senior Matte Swartz was the state leader for most of the last half of the season. Her repeat title dreams came to fruition with the 3A win at 5-6. Nickerson junior Ava Jones, Eureka senior Brooklyn Ptacek, and TMP senior Kassidi Yost each cleared 5-4 and finished in that order.

Finally, as league rivals, Hoisington and Smoky Valley are no strangers. Smoky dominated the pole vault last year behind Belle Peters, who graduated last May. This year, Lady Viking sophomore Breanne Peters and Hoisington sophomore Shellamae Farmer have been neck and neck even through the Central Kansas League Championships and a regional meet in Phillipsburg. Friday evening, Farmer got the win when it mattered, added six inches to a season best for the title at 11-6. Peters and Nickerson’s Jones each cleared the bar at 10-6 for second and third, respectively. Junior Noelle Peters finished fourth at 10-0 for Smoky.

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