State Track girls wrap: Several records fall on day one in Wichita

Stanton County senior Chesney Peterson set a 2A state meet record in the 1600m run last year....
Stanton County senior Chesney Peterson set a 2A state meet record in the 1600m run last year. She opened the 2023 state meet with a 2A meet record in the 3200m run.((photo by Mike Courson))
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 11:46 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Temperatures around 80 degrees and minimal winds made for ideal record-breaking conditions on day one of the KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships Friday at Wichita State University.

On the track, finals were held only in the 3200m run. Stanton County senior Chesney Peterson broke the 2A state meet record in the 1600m run last year as part of four individual titles. Friday she crushed a 35-year-old record by 12 seconds with the win in 10:29.53. Wabaunsee sophomore Payton Wurtz, who collected three silvers behind Peterson last year, won the silver in 11:33.29. Peterson will run three individual events and one relay in her final state meet.

“My coaches decided to put me in the 4x4 for points this year. My teammates and I that have been scoring are seniors now so we’re trying to make use of what we have on the team. Last year, our goal was just to survive and advance in all my individual events. This year, since it’s my last time being a high schooler and at state track, we wanted to see how many records we could break, how fast we could run, while being in four events.

Peterson will head to the University of Tennessee next year. A three-time cross country state champion, she ranks No. 4 all-time in the state 800m run ranks, No. 8 all-time in the state 1600m ranks, and No. 7 all-time on the state 3200m list. She’s one of the big draws of the state track meet, even if she comes from a town with just 1,440 people.

“I love that people want to come out and support such a small classification, such a small town,” she said. “I’m thrilled I can represent kids that come from such small high schools. It’s fun to show the rest of the state small schools aren’t anything to mess with.”

Peterson was one of several repeat winners in the 3200m races. Golden Plains junior Emma Weiner won the 1A race by 10 seconds in 11:52.02 with Elyria Christian senior Laney Reiff finishing second. Chapman junior Elyssa Frieze won another title in the 4A race, this time by two seconds in 11:15.82. Circle freshman Brett Jacobson and Eudora sophomore Hannah Keltner also posted top-25 times in Kansas this spring for the silver and bronze, respectively.

Salina Central sophomore Katelyn Rupe threatened a 40-year-old 5A meet record in the event. She ran a personal best of 10:39.41 to miss the record by five seconds but moved into the top-20 all-time in Kansas. A pair of St. James Academy runners crossed 48 seconds later. Shawnee Mission Northwest senior Paige Mullen repeated in 6A, running just 0.02 seconds slower than Peterson did earlier in the day to beat the field by 25 seconds. Kalyn Willingham led a trio of Olathe West runners in the next three spots. Prairie View sophomore Bree Allen won the 3A race after a second-place finish in 2022.

Macksville junior Mayce Russell would have been an underdog just to win the Class 1A javelin. Not only did she win by nearly six feet, her throw of 144-3 broke a five-year-old 1A state meet record. Osborne’s Gracie Riner picked up the silver on a throw of 138-8.

Andale senior Mckenzie Fairchild is the front runner for three 4A throwing championships. She picked up her first Friday with a shot put throw of 42-2. Paola junior Kena Leonard won the silver at 40-0.5

The Class 3A pole vault race has been intriguing all season. Reigning champion Shellamae Farmer of Hoisington has led the class part of the season, and so has Smoky Valley junior Breanne Peters, who finished second at state last year. Friday morning, Farmer missed her first attempt at 11-0. Peters did not. But the final four vaulters all missed their first two attempts at 11-6. Farmer cleared the bar on her final try to secure a second 3A title.

The Class 5A triple jump looked to be competitive on paper. DeSoto sophomore Ella Capling already led all-classes. She beat the field at 38-6.5, second only to her own best jump of the season by a quarter of an inch. St. James Academy sophomore Beatrice Wiley placed second at 37-0.

Everyone knows high jump results can be fickle. Lawrence Free State senior Reese Hulcher entered the 6A competition tied for the state lead at 5-7. She cleared the bar at 5-4 Friday, but that was only good enough for the bronze. Wichita North senior Taryn St. Clair, tied for third all-class this spring, matched a season best of 5-6 for the win. Lawrence junior Paige Platt picked up the silver at 5-4.