Great Bend girls, Hays boys win Salina Central meet
SALINAA, Kan. (KWCH) - Shelly Duvall, a throwing coach at Great Bend, marked a message on the arm of senior Valarie Luna prior to Friday’s meet in Salina Central. Already the school-record holder in the high jump, and tied at No. 1 in Kansas this spring, Luna took that message of faith to heart. She reset the school record and took the state lead all to herself by beating a talented field at 5-7. Junior teammate Sadie Spray picked up the silver at 5-4, and Hays sophomore Katie Linenberger also cleared 5-4 for the bronze.
”Definitely the good weather,” Luna said. “It’s not too hot, but it’s also not too cold. And it’s not windy. It doesn’t mess with the bar.”
Luna just missed a state title last year, finishing as the Class 5A runner-up in the event. She’s enjoying showing up to meets as the No. 1 seed.
”I think it’s pretty cool getting all the stares,” she said. “Whenever I’m jumping, everyone is like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s pretty good.’ I think it’s pretty cool.”
The finishes in that event helped Great Bend to the win with 113 points. Manhattan scored 86 points, Junction City finished with 61 points, and Salina Central and South each scored 60 points in a tie for fourth.
The Lady Panthers also took the top-two spots in the javelin with a pair of state medalists. Junior Macy Nachtigal put up her best throw in two years to take the gold at 129-4, the No. 5 throw in 5A. Senior teammate Kyndall Blessing, ranked No. 3 in the class, won the silver at 117-1.
Reigning 5A champion Katelyn Rupe of Salina Central (1600 and 3200) continued her dominance in the distance events. She won the 3200m run by 52 seconds in 11:25.25. Great Bend junior Addy Nicholson led a trio of Lady Panthers in the next three spots in 12:17.49.
Rupe won the 1600-meter run in 5:14.37, followed by Junction City’s Lorna Rae Pierce in 5:22.16. Rupe holds the 5A lead in both events.
It’s always an event when Hutchinson senior AnnaLisa Cullens competes in the hurdles. Ranked No. 7 all-time in Kansas, she won the 100s in 14.66, followed by Buhler senior Caylin Seely in 16.12.
A loaded 300s race featured the top-three 5A hurdlers, and the No. 2 4A hurdler in Seely. Cullens won in 46.05, followed by Great Bend’s Mackenzie Premer in 46.58, and Seely in 47.05.
Hays boys beat Manhattan for title
Hays senior Keamonie Archie missed his best long jump of the season by nearly three feet but still won by an inch at 21-10. Western Athletic Conference foe Vincent Ortiz picked up the silver at 21-9.
Hays senior Kyreese Groen took his turn in the triple jump, winning on a personal best of 45-8. That ranks No. 4 in 5A and top-10 all-class this spring. Buhler’s Tavian Gilliam won the silver at 44-10.
Hays senior Grayson Walburn added more than six feet to his PR in the discus, moving to No. 3 in 5A with a throw of 158-10. Junction City’s Nathan Agudzi-Addo placed second at 138-7. Hutchison senior Grady Bare added nearly a foot to his PR in the shot with the win at 53-8 to move to No. 3 in 5A. Agudzi-Addo placed second at 48-3, followed by three Hays throwers.
Hays also took two of the top-three spots in the javelin, led by senior Wyatt Waddell with the win at 168-10. Salina Central’s Hunter Mowery followed at 165-10 for the silver.
Two pole vaulters reached new heights in a tight race for the gold. Manhattan junior Elijah Strawn won the gold at 13-7. Buhler senior Jayce Spence also cleared 13-7 but had to settle for the silver.
The 110-meter-hurdle race proved to be one of the best of the day. Dodge City sophomore Bryson Rohr led over the last hurdle but was clipped by 0.03 seconds at the end as Buhler senior Myles Fredrick crossed the line first in 16.48.The finals saw two sub-11 100-meter dashers. Wichita Southeast sophomore Dejuan Colbert got the win in 10.98, followed by Manhattan senior Tanner Dowling-Burnett in 10.99.
Great Bend senior Kaiden Esfeld ranks No. 2 in the 5A 1600-meter run. Friday, he competed in just two races, cutting some two seconds off his 800-meter time to climb to No. 7 in 5A with the gold in 1:57.48. Junction City’s Isaiah Smith ran second in 2:02.46.
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