Local track athletes go for gold today at state track championships. Find out the names you need to know about heading into the meet.
Hundreds of athletes from across the state of Kansas have descended upon Cessna Stadium at Wichita State University today for the accumulation of the 2013 track and field high school season.
Each class — 6-1A — have sent their regional's finest to decide who among them is the best of the best in their respective events this year.
Included among the masses are representatives from all four local high schools: Leavenworth, Lansing, Immaculata and Pleasant Ridge.
As a primer to the action, below are a few names from each area track squad that may make the biggest impact and achieve the ultimate goal this weekend — a state medal.
The Pioneer boys' and girls' squads will be sending a combined total 25 qualifiers, which bodes well for the chances of either earning a team trophy.
However, for that to happen, look for one of the following to make it to the medal podium, perhaps multiple times.
* John Warren; 110 and 300 hurdles as well as the long and triple jump. Warren has been a stud all season for Leavenworth, as he often snatched up multiple top finishes at every meet he competed in.
At last Friday's Class 5A regional contest, he took gold in the 110 hurdles and triple jump, but don't be surprise if he medals in his other two events as well. He got second (300 hurdles) and third (long jump) last weekend.
* Rashayla Mathis; 100 and 200 dash as well as the 4x100 relay. Mathis received regional silver medals in both sprints, so she is easily in the mix for a state medal.
* Willie Morrison; shot put and discus. The Pioneer thrower is one of two powerful hurlers Leavenworth will have at state, Da'Quan Blake being the other.
They went one and two at regionals, with Blake taking gold, but Morrison won the discus and thus has two shots at nabbing hardware.
The Lions also have a plethora of medal candidates as they will be shipping 23 to state, led by 14 Lady Lions. The influx of girls should give that Lansing squad a fighters' chance at a Class 5A team medal.
* Nashia Baker; 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter races as well as the 4x400 relay. Without a doubt, Nashia Baker may have the best chance of any local athlete to nail down a medal.
At last Friday's 5A regional, she won gold in all four events, and will be the favorite to do the same in at least two — the 1,600 and 3,200 — going into today's competitions.
* Malika Baker; 400 dash, 800 and 1,600 meters as well as the 4x400 relay. Just like her sister, Malika Baker is one of the best runners in Lansing history and will once again try to show that today.
The only event she does not share with her sister is the 400 dash, which she won last week at regionals.
* Jimmy Bormolini; 100 and 200 dash. The senior has been on the podium plenty of times this past season so why should that change this weekend? One good run is all Bormolini needs.
Though the Raiders only have a pair of participants in the Class 2A state meet, they still boast talented and dangerous representatives.
* Danny Boisson; 400 dash. Boisson has slowly risen up the ranks until finally busting out the final weeks of the season. That explosion resulted in a second place regional medal and possibly even more.
* Mark Hernandez; high jump. The gifted-freshman has an opportunity to snatch hardware in his first competitive season at the high school level.
Like Immaculata, Pleasant Ridge will be small in numbers but big in talent. Heading up the team's three-person qualifying group is runner Tony Weber, who has one of the best chances of anyone around town to secure a top placement.
* Tony Weber; 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Long distance running has been Weber's calling card for years and this past season was no different. After earning a state cross country medal in the fall, the Ridge senior will have a chance to do the same this spring.
Keep an eye on this one for sure.
* Kyle Lansing; triple jump. Lansing will need a quality showing, but certainly has the potential.
* Oleta McCaully; javelin. If McCaully can toss her best, the Lady Ram certainly can deliver her first state medal performance.