Day 2 state girls’ track wrap: Andale wins sixth straight, Kapaun’s Harris shines

Kapaun senior Lillian Harris won golds in the 100m and 200m dashes in 2022. She closed out her...
Kapaun senior Lillian Harris won golds in the 100m and 200m dashes in 2022. She closed out her prep career with golds in the 100, 200, and 400m dashes Saturday.((photo by Mike Courson))
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 9:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Another track season is in the books. But not before some surprises Saturday at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium. And there were some non-surprises: Andale won a sixth-straight Class 4A title, Kapaun senior Lillian Harris swept the 5A sprints, and Stanton County senior Chesney Peterson broke two more meet records.

Peterson set the 2A 3200m record Friday morning. She already held the 2A meet record in the 1600m run but proceeded to reset that record by four seconds Saturday in 4:50.13. Wabaunsee sophomore Payton Wurtz ran second in 5:17.53. Running for four individual golds last year, Peterson was unable to break the 800m record. Late Saturday, she beat Sterling’s Faith Ekart by more than four seconds in 2:11.05, beating a 42-year-old record by half a second. Peterson closes out her decorated career ranked in the top-10 all-time in Kansas in the 1600m and 3200m runs, and ranked No. 4 all-time in the 800m run. She heads to the University of Tennessee next year.

Kapaun senior Lillian Harris won her first two golds last year with 5A titles in the 100m and 200m dashes. Saturday she ran 12 flat to win the 100m dash. Shawnee Heights senior Ta’Mijha Nichols ran second in 12.17. Kapaun junior Trinity Oblinger finished third in 12.37 - huge points in the team race. Harris repeated in the 200m dash in 25.23, with Lansing junior Mckenzie Hayse finished second in 25.52. And Harris added a new trick this spring, taking the 400m gold in 57.70. Topeka West senior Ala’Jah Brooks won the silver in 57.77.

Part of Andale’s dominance has been success in the field. Senior Mckenzie Fairchild won the 4A shot put gold Friday. She’s been the state leader in the javelin all season. Saturday that meant a gold medal on a throw of 157-3. Teammate Jenna Kuepker won the silver at 138-5. Fairchild ranks top-10 nationally this spring. Fairchild completed the sweep late Saturday with a discus gold at 138-1. Holton senior Darcee Ashcraft finished second at 121-2, and Andale’s Emery May placed fifth at 115-9.

Andale’s 4x4 team flexed its muscle in the final 4A race of the season. The squad of Ava Steven, Betsy Reichenberger, Camryn Winter, and Maddie Schrandt beat second-place Clearwater by eight seconds in 4:01.96. Schrandt won the 200m title in 25.70, followed by Wamego sophomore Isabella Wilber in 26.22 for the silver. Schrandt had a busy afternoon Saturday, also repeating in the 400m dash in 57.94. Hayden junior Natalie Hillebert finished second in 58.83, and Wilber ran third.

Clearwater sophomore Madison Williams had a big Saturday. She won the 3A 300m hurdles in 45.13, with Buhler senior Caylin Seely taking the silver in 45.62. The duo also went 1-2 in the 100m hurdles with Williams winning in 14.87, followed by Seely in 15.08. Williams also won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay.

There were also some upsets. Hutchinson’s Annalisa Cullens was seeking a third state title in both hurdle events - with the two previous coming at 4A Wellington. The state leader most of the year and ranked top-10 in the state’s all-time ranks, she was a heavy favorite in the 100m hurdles until a fall disqualified the senior. Andover junior McKinlee Walker, who suffered her own fall in 2022, won the title in 14.44, followed by Arkansas City sophomore Savannah Phillips in 15.36 for the silver.

Cullens did win her third title in a loaded 5A 300m hurdle field in 45.43. Great Bend junior Makenzie Premer won the silver for a second-straight year in 46.66, and Great Bend junior Sadie Spray placed third in 47.34.

A smaller upset came in the 5A 1600m run. Salina Central sophomore Katelyn Rupe nearly broke a 5A meet record Friday in the 3200m run. The reigning champ in the 1600m run, she finished second in 5:03.48. Blue Valley Southwest sophomore Isabella Ross took the gold in 5:00.81.

Finally, last year’s Class 5A teams results hinged on the 4x400m finale. Great Bend came from behind to edge Kapaun at the tape, and subsequently stole second place from the Crusaders by a point. The shoe was on the other foot this year. The Lady Panthers again trailed Kapaun by four points into the final race of the season. The Crusaders did not make the finals, and the Lady Panthers could have moved into second place with a fourth-place finish. Great Bend ran three seconds off its prelim time to finish sixth, just 0.02 seconds out of fifth place that would have meant a tie in the 5A team standings.