Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kansas girls shine in tennis, golf

Abby Stevens was the only Kansas tennis player to win the 16 or 18 singles brackets – in boys’ or girls’ divisions – June 25 through 28 at the Wichita Outdoor Futures event.

The U.S. Tennis Association’s Missouri Valley region includes Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Athletes from Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri won singles play in the 16 and 18 categories except Stevens, who will be a junior.

She prevailed in girls’ 18 singles Saturday, June 26. Stevens played for Kapaun Mt. Carmel her freshman season and placed fourth in singles at the Class 5A state tournament. She attended Wichita Trinity her sophomore year.

Stevens battled opponents from other states in every round of the girls’ 18. She fought off Sarah Bowen of Edmond, Okla., in the final. Stevens claimed the victory 6-3, 4-6, 10-7. Bowen, a Class 4A state doubles champion last year in Oklahoma, also will be a junior.

In another multistate tournament, girls golf competition is scheduled to end today (June 29) at the Junior 4-State Championship in Ankeny, Iowa. The two-day stroke play event includes teams from four states: Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa.

Those representing Kansas are Cassie Lowell of Concordia High, Brooke Thilges of Manhattan High, Taylor Fagan of Rossville High, Chelsea Nemeth of Halstead High and Alexa Osbourn of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Lowell won the Junior Season Opener June 3 and 4 at Salina Municipal Golf Course in the girls’ 16-18 category. Thilges placed second and Fagan third. Mackenzie Thayer, who will be a junior at Garden City, finished fourth and Madison Murphy, an incoming senior at Bishop Carroll, was fifth. Nemeth followed in sixth place.

J.K. Kornelson returns to coaching

One of the greatest Cross Country/Track coaches in Wichita State history is returning to head coaching duties as he takes the reins of the Kapaun Cross Country program this fall.

Kornelson is enshrined in the WSU Hall of Fame for leading the track and cross country programs from 1985 to 2001. In his time the Shockers won six Missouri Valley Cross Country titles along with a Track title as well. They also finished a WSU record 11th at the national track meet under Kornelson's coaching.

This is a great, great pick-up for the Kapaun Crusaders. The man has won at the Division I level and clearly knows what it takes to win. Watch out for Kapaun this year!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Top 5 Boys State Track Performances

Sorry for the delay on this posting my Top 5 Male Performances as I had promised. Even though it is a month past the meet I am going to follow through with my promise of posting this Top 5. Without further adu, the Top 5 Male performances of the 2010 State Track Meet (according to me).

5. Andrew Etheridge – Wichita Northwest

Etheridge’s junior year state track meet in 2009 was a nightmare. He clipped the last hurdle in the 110-meter hurdles and had to settle for second. Then in the 300’s he did not finish despite having the second fastest qualifying time.

In his senior year this season, Etheridge would not be denied. All season long he positioned himself as the premier sprint hurdler in the state of Kansas. This season he posted the fourth-best time in Kansas state history in the 110’s. He stepped onto the track for the final with nemisis Meshach Kennedy of Derby, who was the beneficiary of Etheridge’s clipped hurdle, next to him, and he proceeded to blow the field away with a time of 14.22.

Later in the day Etheridge would go on to stomp the field by over a second in the 300-hurdles to secure his second gold medal and end his high school track career right.

4. James Wilson – Abilene

James Wilson is one of the more underrated track athletes of the last few years. All the kid did in his sophomore and junior years is win the 1600-meter titles in surprising fashion. As a sophomore nobody saw him coming. As a junior he was recovering from stress fracture and had very little base mileage but still pulled out the win.

This year Wilson had the base mileage to do damage, but was still overlooked in the 3200. It was set up to be Evan Landes of Mulvane’s year. He was nipped at the line in Cross Country and seemed to be the best 3200-meter man in 4A. What was forgotten was Wilson’s 1600-meter speed and he used it in the last lap to put Landes away and win the title.

Then in the 1600, Wilson was the defending champion but not the favorite. Brendan Soucie of Osawatomie had the best 4A time coming in, but Wilson’s performance is the reason why I try to never choose against a defending champion. Wilson does not have the raw footspeed of Soucie, as would be proven later in the 800, but Wilson had the heart and gutted out a great win and ran a 4:23.02.

Soucie and Wilson met up again later in the 800, but Soucie was superior and won by four seconds. Wilson still ended up claiming second place and finished fifth as a team by himself.

3. Kurt Pauly – Garden Plain

Kurt Pauly had a target on his back all year long and that is no doubt. He was a the two-time defending champion in the 3A 400-meter dash. He is the record holder in that event. He won three individual gold medals as a junior. He was the key to Garden Plain’s team title in 2009. Kurt Pauly was 3A Boys Track and Field heading into 2010.

Pauly had some rough races early as he uncharacteristically lost some races in the 400, which was something he had not done in a long time. In the end racing Trinity’s Morgan Burns virtually every week and going to the KU Relays paid off. The Garden Plain star won his three gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 then capped off his career by anchoring the 4 x 400-meter relay to a first place finish.

Pauly was also dominant in his wins. He won the 100 by .25-seconds, the 400 by almost two-seconds (only .02 off of his own 400-meter record) and then won the 200 by .26-seconds. The Garden Plain star finished his high school career with seven individual golds and back-to-back 3A team titles.

2. Adam Porter – McPherson

Pauly may have had a target on his back, but McPherson’s Adam Porter had a target and a microscope. Porter established his dominance last season on the track with an 800-1600-3200 triple, which was a feat that had only been accomplished in 5A-6A by one person since 2000. Then in the Fall he won the 5A State Cross Country title, and everyone was ready to see if Porter could repeat his triple.

This season would be much tougher with a healthy Josh Munsch of Hays gunning for him in all three races. They faced off first on Friday night in the 3200. Both Porter and Munsch are better mid-distance than long and they both showed off their speed. Porter used his signature kick to beat Munsch down the homestretch, which would become a familiar theme at the 2010 Kansas State High School Track Meet.

Saturday was when the big test would come. Munsch had the fastest 1600-meter time coming into the meet, but Porter showed his veteran ability and race knowledge. He let Munsch take the lead and into the bell lap Munsch led the entire way, but Porter came up on his hip in the last 30 meters to sprint by and win the race for his second gold. Right with them though was the surprising David Thor of Bishop Carroll, who would make an appearance again in the 800.

In the 800, Porter left no doubt as to who was the best. He took the lead from the beginning and held it until the end to claim his back-to-back triple.

1. Johannes Swanepoel – Shawnee Mission South

There are great performances and then there are historically great performances. Johannes Swanepoel of Shawnee Mission South had one of those historically great performances in the javelin when he unleashed a monstorous 238-foot and 4-inch throw. That is a new Kansas State Meet record, a new Kansas All-Time Record and the third best throw by a Prep Athlete in the HISTORY of the NATION.

Just like Kearsten Peoples of Ottawa on the girls list, this feat cannot be underestimated or underappreciated. It is not very often that Kansas has such a historical accomplishment. I cannot tell you right off hand how many Kansas athletes have top-three all-time marks in any given event, but I will venture to guess that Jim Ryun and Swanepoel are two of only a small handful. Anytime a high school athlete can legitimately be mentioned in the same sentence as Ryun then they are truly historically great.

What do you think? Did I leave any deserving athletes out? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hometown athletes win at McPherson Junior Open

Hometown tennis players excelled in the boys’ and girls’ 18 divisions this week at the McPherson Junior Open.

Casyn Buchman, part of the McPherson tennis pair that won the Class 5A doubles title in the fall, prevailed in the girls’ 18 bracket Tuesday. The incoming senior defeated Nina Bwalya, who will be a sophomore at Hoisington, 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

On the boys’ side, Mark Gayer – part of the McPherson doubles team that won its second 5A title in May – conquered the competition this week. Gayer, a 2010 graduate, beat Ryan Hickman 6-2, 6-2 in the final. Hickman will be a junior at Hutchinson.

Buchman’s state-champion doubles partner, Kirsten Holle, advanced to the girls’ 16 final Monday but lost to Bwalya’s younger sister, Besa. Besa Bwalya, who will be an eighth-grader, won her bracket 7-5, 6-4.

In the boys’ 16 category, Matthew Barlow, a sophomore-to-be at Abilene, topped Jenson Kingsley for the crown. Barlow defeated Kingsley, an incoming junior at Newton, 8-5.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gatorade Male Track Athlete of the Year

Johannes Swanepoel has been named the Gatorade Male Track Athlete of the year. The Shawnee Mission South product unleashed a javelin throw of 238 feet, 4 inches at the Kansas State meet. That throw was the third best in United States prep history.

Swanepoel had already held the record coming into meet, but smashed it with his record-breaking toss. The South African native will throw at the University of Kansas next year.

I can't argue with Gatorade's choice here. Athletes such as Adam Porter of McPherson, Kurt Pauly of Garden Plain, James Wilson of Abilene and Andrew Etheridge of Wichita Northwest had great state meets, but none of them were historically good on a national level like Swanepoel.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Off the beaten path

This past Friday I found myself at Kansas International Dragway. I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a racing buff even though I have almost no knowledge of what makes these machines tick.

I’ve attended several NHRA events at Heartland Park in Topeka when the series brings its top competitors through town. Besides the adrenaline rush, why strapping yourself into a top fuel dragster that can exceed 300 mph in a 1,000-foot stretch sounds like a good idea is beyond me.

Friday night’s drivers weren’t quite achieving those speeds, but their desire and passion to do something they love was no different. This past weekend the drag strip held its Junior Dragster Nationals where nearly 80 kids ranging from 8 to 17 years old travelled from Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Illinois to take part in the event.

I caught up with a father-son duo that had made the trip from Morrison, Colo. for last weekend’s race hoping to score a big prize. I talked with Julia and Aaron Cooper, a brother-sister racing team that are third generation drivers and are doing their part to try and carry on the family legacy.

I was able to get up close and see how much effort these kids, and their support staff, mostly comprised of dedicated family members, put into making their machines perform to the best of their ability.

Even more exciting was standing on the strip right next to the dragsters as they waited to scream down the quarter-mile. After feeling, and hearing, the power these cars put out, it was getting extremely tempting to somehow find an open dragster and strap myself in to get a firsthand experience of what it’s like to take a trip down the track.

So if you’re ever looking for something that’s not on the radar and off the beaten path, give drag racing a chance, especially on the junior level. A lot of effort is put into making these machines work, and the dedication and determination these kids possess is truly inspiring.

In the summer we’re always looking for stories to cover, so if you’ve got something you think we should explore and discover let us know what we’re missing out on.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Monkeys, strobes, and accidental quantum physics

It was almost a year ago when I first started cautiously tip-toeing around the Catch It Kansas office. If you are wondering what a year spent in this chair is like, allow me to let you in.

For all the football fans out there, you know the toll the summer months take on your sanity in anticipation of the opening kickoff. Now take that madness and add to it a summer spent entering football schedules and writing team previews.

Around the office, we compare the teams we are previewing, size up the way we think the different classes will play out, and slowly cross days off the calendar.

By the time the fall kicks off, you are absolutely foaming at the mouth to see how it all plays out.

With the start of the season, comes many editions of the zoo we like to call, “The Catch It Kansas Show.” There is no telling what is going to happen from 6 to 11:30 pm on a Friday night.

Sometimes things go very smoothly.

Other times, there is a horrifying silence that grips the sports office. You would like to just sit and enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts, but you can’t. The certainty of the storm brewing weighs on your mind too heavily.

The chaos that happens next can be best described as a laboratory riot, led by the escaped, demented, experimental test monkeys bent on revenge.

There is no time to panic, and there is no time to flinch. Just put your head down, find the order within the whirlwind, and make it happen. It is quite the beautiful dance those of us who live for unrestrained, unscripted, and unpredictable insanity.

When the show comes over Halloween weekend, you have to do it all in the dark with a strobe light sitting beside you, flashing in your face.

Keep moving forward. You can’t let a little seizure get in the way of the show.

With the fall, part of your job description entails dealing with belligerent phone calls from people who want to talk about, well, everything except high school sports. I am always up for some good sports talk, but I have always had friends with which to have these conversations.

Most, if not all, of the journalists I know, chose this profession because it seems like the best path to put as much distance as possible between you and a math problem.

So you can imagine the process involved with figuring out the 6A and 5A playoff seeding. Last year, we accidentally discovered a formula which ripped a gaping hole in the space-time continuum and dropped the office off in a parallel dimension. We were there for what seemed like a couple of hours when in fact, we were only gone for a split second.

That was a wild night.

As the Kansas winter rolls in, we are all ready for indoor sports. Football is great, and frostbite is a part of the pain that makes it great. I love the way the intensity picks up as the postseason moves on, but heated gyms start sounding real good.

After about a 13-hour work day covering state football, there was relief when it was over. After weeks of continually ratcheted up intensity and pressure, it goes away with the time remaining on the clock. There were vows that basketball season would be much calmer.

It is a poor, gullible sap who would believe basketball is calmer. Now you have Tuesday joining forces with Friday. Add two games per site with girls and boys, and what you get is anything but calm.

Winters are packed with more basketball than you could ever imagine. But for guys like me, the best part of winter comes when the gym floors are covered with mats.

Wrestling is unlike any other high school sport. It is the only combat sport organized under KSHSAA.

While it is combative, don’t get it confused with grotesque brutality. The friendships forged out of the intense nature of the sport are incredibly strong. Two contestants charge forward with every last drop of will and determination, causing an explosion in the center of the mat. When a match is over, not only will you know what you are made of, but you will know exactly what your opponent is made of as well.

Wrestling presents its own coverage challenges. I am not an old man, but I’m not getting any younger either. So when a dual, or the finals of a tournament, ends, my knees hate me for sitting on the gym floor next to the mat for the duration.

Wrestling keeps things moving maybe better than any other sport. But this makes grabbing interviews difficult. Do you chase the winner down right after the match and sacrifice the video of the next match? Or do you get the video, and take your chances trying to find a person after it is all over? It is a fine art.

There is also a matter of time restrictions on video highlights per match. Showing a pin is great. But like every other sport, the end result is only the payoff for hard work to set things up. Seeing a referee’s hand slap the mat with a wrestlers shoulders pinned is the glamorous shot. But does the way the winner set up and executed the takedown to get the pin make better, more informative video?

The 6A and 5A state wrestling tournaments were a lot of fun and Catch It Kansas had nothing short of a command center to strategically plan and execute with a small army of reporters.

Like the fall, the winter too eventually comes to an end, giving us all a chance to rest up. It also brings more solemn vows that the spring will be easier.

I wasn’t very quick to believe. I had been burned before.

But the spring really is laid back. I never understood why bat and ball sports don’t get the same attention as football or basketball. This goes for college as well as high school.

You show up to the diamond, and it can sometimes be self-service. There may not be an announcer, scoreboard, or even a program.

If information was as scarce in the fall as it is the spring, there would be a massive uprising.

Bat and ball sports are notoriously streaky. Over the course of a 20-game season, there is not a lot of time to pull out of a slump. But if things come together at just the right moment, a single-elimination postseason can set the table for the miraculous.

Ask the Douglass Bulldogs. Entering the regional tournament, Douglass boasted a 6-11 record, and a 10-man roster, hardly a team to strike fear into the heart of an opponent.

But after taking care of Chaparral in the first round, Douglass beat 20-1 Wichita Collegiate and 17-2 Medicine Lodge to take a regional championship. At the state tournament in Manhattan the Bulldogs stayed hot, beating 19-0 Doniphan County to eventually take fourth in the state with a 10-13 record.

Don’t forget about Valley Center, a team that marched through its regional with a 4-16 record before beating 19-0 Silver Lake in the first round of state. The Hornets, like the Bulldogs, took fourth place with a below .500 record.

After the final postseason push, there is suddenly nothing. It’s back to looking toward the 2010 football season. There were countless hours and countless stories, but there was also an immeasurable amount of fun. The amount of fun had in this office and out in the field has made the past year seem like a couple of hours.

That, or...are we are back in the parallel dimension?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WSU Summer Track Series

If you are bored on Thursday nights this summer through July 15, make your way out to Cessna Stadium at about 6 p.m. Wichita State is hosting a summer track series that is in its third week this week and is open to anyone who wants to race.

Different events are being offered every week and it is only a $5 entry fee.

For results and information on the meet click here: Shocker Summer Track Series.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Former high school players earn MVC baseball honors

Former high school players from the area recently earned all-Missouri Valley Conference baseball honors for Wichita State University.

Those who appeared on the first team were Wichita South's Cody Lassley, who was recognized as the Shockers’ catcher, and Derby High's Bret Bascue, honored as a WSU outfielder.

In addition, Logan Hoch of Wichita Southeast received honorable mention as the Shockers’ relief pitcher.

Finally, Jordan Cooper of Shawnee Heights was named the MVC pitcher of the year and appeared on the first team. He also earned second-team accolades as an “ESPN The Magazine” Academic All-American. He has signed with the Cleveland Indians and will not return to WSU.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kansas tracksters represent nationally

Just because the state track meet is over, it does not mean that Kansas track stars are done for the year. Many of Kansas’ best track athletes competed in the Great Southwest Classic hosted at the University of New Mexico from June 3-5.

The standout performance came from Oliver Bradwell, formerly of Wichita East. Bradwell was ruled ineligible this season, but still competed at a high level. Bradwell ran the nation’s fastest time in the 100-mter dash for a high school age student. He clocked a time of 10.34. Second place in that race went to Valley Center’s Joe Fisher and his 10.44.

The Kansas State record is 10.35 by Mark Pickens of Topeka West. I will have to check to see if this qualifies as a new Kansas record or not.

The two star sprinters also went 1-2 in the 200 with Bradwell going 20.99 and Fisher clocking a 21.17. Both times were technically wind aided as they were 0.2 miles per hour above the legal limit. All-time Bradwell’s mark ranks as third-best ever.

Bradwell and Fisher then made up two of the four legs of a 400-meter relay that won by a full second with a time of 40.66 seconds. If that was a legal high school relay team in Kansas, that time would have destroyed the all-time Kansas record of 41.63 by KC Washington back in 1991.

Bradwell was named the meet MVP on the track.

Other athletes that represented Kansas well were Reid Buchanan of Manhattan finishing second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.35. Bishop Carroll sophomore David Thor finished fifth behind four seniors in the 1500 with a time of 4:09.74. Neil Metler of Derby finished 5th in the 3200 with a time of 9:40.57.

On the girls side, Le’Tristan Pledger of KC Washington was the star. She was also named MVP on the track for girls. She tied for first in the long jump, but took second on a jump off with a leap of 19-feet and nine inches. Wichita Southeast’s Dana Gates went 19-4 for fourth place. Pledger then won the 100-hurdles by half a second with a time of 13.82 seconds. She then helped out on the champion 400 relay team that ran a time of 47.19. That 47.19 would beat the all-time Kansas record.

Jamie House of El Dorado vaulted 12-feet even to take fourth in her event. Wichita Southeast’s Aarian Tipton finished sixth in the 100 dash and 200 dash. Maize’s Dani Walker was fifth in the 1500 with a time of 4:58.76. Wichita North’s Amber Eichkorn, Walker, Valley Center’s Morgan Wedekind and Kapaun’s Mackenzie Maki combined to run a 3200-meter relay time of 9:43.29 and finish third.

In the field, Erica Brand and Kersten Peoples swept the Discus. Brand also took home third in the shot put.

EDIT (JUNE 14) - The All-Time Leaderboards are uploaded in the track rankings section. Carol Swenson counts Oliver Bradwell's 10.34 as the all-time best 100-dash time in Kansas. Joe Fisher also moves up the rankings. Just an idea of how stellar that 10.34 is, two NCAA Division I finalists in the 100 dash final did not break 10.34. Here is the updated list: All Time Best Marks in Kansas History

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cheney girls basketball coach resigns

Rex Casner, coach of the 4A-state-champion Cheney girls basketball team has resigned his teaching and coaching position for personal reasons, Cheney athletic director Dustin McEwen confirmed this afternoon.

According to McEwen, Casner will devote himself full time to the machine shop he currently runs in Cheney.

McEwen also said a search is in progress for a replacement.

Cheney snapped Concordia's 51-game win streak (52-49) in the state championship final in March.

Casner taught business at Cheney.

Ark City Softball Player Awarded

Kelsey Stewart of Ark City was named 2009-10 Gatorade Kansas Softball Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-4 sophomore pitcher and second baseman led Ark City to the Class 5A quarterfinals this past season while batting .556 with four doubles, nine triples and two homeruns. Stewart had 20 RBIs, 23 runs scored, 24 steals and zero strikeouts in 80 plate appearances.

On the mound she posted an 8-3 record and a 1.13 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 16 walks while allowing just 23 hits.

In the classroom Stewart maintained a 3.65 GPA ans was a member of student council. She also volunteered locally as a youth softball coach and instructor.

Stewart joins Nikki Armagost (2008-09, Andover Central), Paige Ladenburger (2007-08, Washburn Rural) and Eranne Daughtarthy (2006-07, Olathe East) among the state's list of former award winners.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4 all-stars win volleyball awards

The Kansas Volleyball Association doled out four awards after the all-star match Saturday, June 5, in Topeka.

Taylor Goodness, a 2010 graduate of Salina South High School, won the Joan Lundstrom Wells Award of Excellence. Lindsay Leonard of Wamego High School was awarded the Flo Hyman Scholarship. Alexa Bordewick of Washburn Rural High School received the Judy Bellamo Most Inspirational Award, and Abbie Smith of Uniontown High School won the Don Bechard Scholarship.

Goodness will play volleyball for the University of Central Missouri, and Leonard will play at Fort Hays State University. Smith and Bordewick will head to Pittsburg State University, Smith for volleyball and Bordewick for basketball.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free State's Kukuk earns player of the year honors

Lawrence Free State's Cody Kukuk was named Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year on Tuesday. Kukuk is the first baseball player from Free State to receive the honor.

The 6-foot-4 junior southpaw recorded a 9-0 record on the mound while finishing the season with a 0.98 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 53.1 innings of work.

At the plate Kukuk batted an impressive .440 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.

The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.

The junior maintained a B average in the classroom while volunteering at a local soup kitchen. He also spent time helping raise funds on behalf of an animal hospital and served as a youth baseball coach.

Free State Head Coach Mike Hill regarded Kukuk as multi-talented and stated that he has a very good chance to be a high draft pick after high school.

Kukuk has verbally committed to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Kansas beginning in the fall of 2011.

Maize's Garrett Gould earned the honor last season. Gould was drafted in the second round last year by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kukuk joins Ashley Catrell of Blue Valley West as a recipient of a Gatorade Player of the Year award this spring. Catrell earned honors as girls soccer player of the year.

Top 5 Girls State Track Performances

State track is over as is the sporting season. Now it is time for a little reflection. I was at the state track meet for every single race starting Friday morning and ending Saturday evening. My main focus was a live blog for the state track meet.

Towards the end of the blog several readers asked me to name my meet MVP’s and it was easily Hallie Kuhlman of Wallace County for the girls (four gold medals and second place as a team alone) and Adam Porter of McPherson for the boys.

That got me thinking though, who’s performances were most impressive? Today I will release what I considered the top 5 girls performances from the state track meet and tomorrow I will release the boys list. Remember, these are not necessarily the MVP’s, just the most impressive in my opinion.

5. Abreanna Parker – Shawnee Heights
Parker won three gold medals and a silver at this year’s state meet. She did it in class 5A, which makes this feat more impressive. She won the 100 and 200 and ran on the state champion 400 meter relay. Her only silver came because she ran up against the 5th best high jumper in the state’s history in Le’Tristan Pledger. Parker finishes her career ranking in the top 10 in Kansas history in the 100-meter dash (4th) and the long jump (7th).

4. Heather Ruder – Thomas More Prep

Ruder was a freshman this year that tried to pull off the rarest quadruple. The TMP freshman was gunning to win the 400-800-1600-3200. She almost pulled it off too. In the 800-1600-3200 it was not even close as Ruder cruised to big victories in all three events. Her only stumble was in the 400 as she finished second to defending champion Mandy Wilson of Rossville. Even at that three golds and a silver in those four events is unbelievable to me. Ruder has a very rare blend of speed and stamina and it speaks well to her future.

3. Hallie Kuhlman – Wallace County
Kuhlman is well on her way to being the most decorated athlete in Kansas State Track and Field history after she had her second quadruple gold medal win in the 100-200-400-800. Also, for the second year in a row, she won second place for Wallace County as a team in class 1A all alone. Last season as a freshman she was a surprise, this year she had a target on her back and it did not matter. Even though her qualifying times in the 100-200 were not favored coming in, Kuhlman rose to the challenge and beat all-comers in class 1A.

2. Breeana Coleman – Olathe East
It took a lot for me to drop Kuhlman all the way to third on this list, but these top two ladies deserve to be ranked higher. Coleman is one of the best sprinters/hurdlers the state has ever seen on the girls side. The marks were not wind-legal, but at the state track meet this year Coleman won three gold medals in three attempts and broke two state records. In the 100 she ran a time of 11.71-seconds. That was .09 seconds faster than the old 6A meet record that had stood for 27 years. Just before that, Coleman smashed the 6A state record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.80 seconds. That lowered the old record by a whopping 0.38 seconds. In those two events she finishes her career with the third-best and second-best marks in the history of Kansas respectively. Coleman later won the 200-meter dash into a headwind to get her third gold medal.

1. Kearsten Peoples – Ottawa
State meet records are broken every year, but it is not often that an athlete breaks two all-time state records regardless of meet. Peoples accomplished that feat this season when she became the first girl in Kansas high school history to unleash a shot put throw of more than 50-feet and break the discus record the next day. The Ottawa standout broke records that were 28 and 25-years-old respectively. That throw in the shot put was the best in the nation this year. Her throw in the shot put improved her own 4A state meet record by more than 5-feet or about 10-percent better. That would be the equivalent of a runner improving from a 5-minute mile to a 4:30 mile time. Her discus throw broke the 4A state meet record by 17-feet and she became the first girl to throw over 160-feet in the discus at a state meet.