Storms headline day one of state track meet

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- Spring storms have wreaked havoc on streams and rivers across Kansas and the Midwest. Friday they took their turn on the Kansas State Track and Field Championships at Wichita State University's Cessna Stadium. Events were initially moved back three hours to a 10:45 a.m. start. Another round of storms delayed action just after noon until early evening.

The delays meant a change in format as prelims in most field events were dropped. Competitors instead had four chances in the finals. Standard high jump and pole vaults formats remained.

Some of Kansas' best still managed to pick up golds before the early-afternoon delay. Smoky Valley sophomore Belle Peters already had gold in hand in the 3A pole vault. She changed events to qualify in the 100m hurdles before returning to the pole vault.

As the lone competitor past 11-0, she cleared 12-8 and missed twice at 13-0 before lightning forced the delay. Peters previously led the state at 12-6 this year, and her top height of 12-10 a year ago ranks No. 5 all-time in Kansas. Her Friday height breaks an 18-year-old 3A state meet record by an inch.

Just prior to Peters' win in the pole vault, Hillsboro senior Wes Shaw collected another gold in the 2A shot put. Shaw's best throw of 64-1 ranks No. 7 all-time in Kansas. Friday he hit just 54-8.5, but that was enough for the gold. Plainville junior Jared Casey, ranked No. 6 in Kansas this spring, took the silver at 54-4. Shaw set the 2A state meet record at 60-11.5 last May.

Beloit-St. John's junior Brady Palen was the Class 1A leader in the high jump this year. Friday morning he cleared 6-10.5 to move to No. 2 in Kansas this spring. Bucklin junior Talon Estes won the silver at 6-6, and Northern Valley senior Caden Bach beat a host of jumpers at 6-2 for the bronze.

The 3A triple jump featured Santa Fe Trail sophomore Logan Reed, ranked No. 4 in Kansas this spring. He won Friday's finals at 44-8.5. Hoisington senior Xavier Robinson, who missed qualification last year, picked up the silver at 44-0.25.

Ranked No. 10 in Kansas this spring, Yates Center senior Hadley Splechter was one of the highlights in the 3200m races Friday morning. He won the 3A title in 9:45.06, followed by Meade senior Ethan Thompson in 9:55.29 for the silver.

On the girls' side, Lincoln sophomore Jaycee Vath cruised to the 1A title in 11:27.53. Berean Academy senior Erin Topham was the only other 1A runner to break 12 minutes in 11:53.33 for the silver.

A pair of freshman topped the 2A high jump field. In the end, Jefferson County North freshman Adison Manville led five jumpers at 5-2 for the title. Goessel freshman Elsie Clark picked up the silver. Bluestem junior Destiny Masters and Sterling sophomore Kayla Morris also cleared 5-2 for third and fourth, respectively.

Two Class 2A pole vaulters cleared 13-0 for the top-two finishes there. Hillsboro freshman Nate Hein wins his first gold. Ellis junior Jacob Eck had to settle for the silver. Wichita County's Tristen Porter was the only other vaulter to clear 12-6.

The 3A girls' hurdle field is among the best in Kansas this year. Cheney senior Layne Needham, the reigning champion and ranked No. 6 in Kansas this spring, won the prelims in 14.95. Erie's Ashlynn Aikins, Smoky Valley's Peters, and Chaparral's Sophie Francis completed the top four. Peters is ranked No. 9 in Kansas this spring.