Area teams, athletes perform big at regionals

TECUMSEH – It was a day of dominance, drama and the thankful act of deja vu at the 2017 Class 5A track regionals held at Shawnee Heights High School on a gloomy and sometimes rainy Friday afternoon.

The Lansing High girls’ squad finished a day of complete ownership in the relay events, including a clutch and blistering win in the 4x400 to end the day and steal the team title from the hosts and the Leavenworth Pioneer boys pulled away to take the top spot on their side of the competition.

The LVHS girls finished third overall and also saw the return to the track of junior sprinter Aarika Lister.

Lister, the two-time defending state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, ran for the first time in over a month and only the second time all season as she has battled a nagging hamstring issue.

Lister cruised to a win in the 100 and qualified for state with a paced, second-place finish in the 200.

“Oh, I feel great because I hadn’t run in a minute, so it’s different for me,” Lister said. “Running out here makes me feel really good. Strength-wise I felt good too, in my legs.

“It’s been a pain waiting, but I have been working through it and trying my best to get better and I am finally better so that’s all that matters. I feel more confident.”

The Lansing girls were buoyed by a number of strong performances in the distance and sprint events, including some jaw-dropping performances in the 4x100 relay and the other two.

The impressive fact of the 4x100 win (50.56) is that it’s run by mostly long-distance runners – Regan Gatson, Rachel Fairbanks, Sara LaMoe and Emma Bresser, 

“I was really excited to run this one because I usually run distance, so it’s fun to get to go fast,” Bresser said. “We have been doing really well this season and so I hope we can do well at state.

“(In the 4x100) I think it’s more about how well we work together and our handoffs are usually better than the other teams and that helps us go faster. I think, the distance? Eh, it’s not that big of a difference, it’s 100 meters. Our handoffs are definitely really good.”

In the 1-mile run, LVHS freshman Chloe Manner held off a strong charge by senior Lion Jaci Huckabee to capture the crown, while Pioneer classmate Maddy Walter-Sherrits qualified for state with a fourth-place run.

Leavenworth’s boys wracked up a number of points in the sprint and distance events and saw total dominance of the 100 and 200 dashes as senior Clifford Robinson took both crowns while his equally fast teammate, sophomore Anthony Gould, took second in each event.

“It’s really good when you have your best competition every day in practice,” Robinson said. “I feel like we have a really good chance of going 1-2 in both at state. Everything’s going really well.”

The top four in each event qualified for the state finals in Wichita next weekend.

Be sure to check back next week on a state track preview taking a look at both programs as they prepare to head to the state finals.