Prep track athletes from across the state of Kansas are preparing for Friday’s state meet on the campus of Wichita State University.
Leavenworth, Lansing, Basehor-Linwood and Pleasant Ridge each have state qualifiers that will compete.
The Leavenworth girls will have Dhakiya Blake and Wynter Ramos compete in the 100 and 200. Maddy Walter-Sherretts will run the 800, Saniyah Hammonds is in the triple jump and Colbie Fairley will participate in shot put and discus.
The 4x800 relay team of Walter-Sherretts, Katelyn Havner, Konya Halle and Chloe Manner will also run. Elizabeth Finnigan and Adriana Carnoali are alternates. Walter-Sherretts, Hammonds, Blake and Ramos will run the 4x400 with Alexis Cole and Halle as alternates.
Girls’ coach Rob Marriott said the team’s prep has been good so far.
“The prep has been pretty good,” Marriott said. “We don’t work hard the week before state. It takes 10 days for a workout to really help physically. So we work on race pace stuff, muscle memory and handoffs.”
He said he doesn’t try to make it different from other track meets.
“It’s just another track meet,” Marriott said. “And we do those well. It’s just another day at the office. We are running a little less, but that’s pretty much the only difference.”
He said he is looking forward to seeing the kids on the podium.
Two of the girls that could help the team get the title is Ramos and Blake. The two are both looking forward to the meet. Ramos said she likes to run with Blake because the two push each other.
“I’m looking forward to hanging out with Dhakiya,” Ramos said. “We are a lot alike. So she is probably my biggest competition. Hopefully we both can (get a personal record) and win state.”
Blake was asked what she is looking forward to the most about the meet.
“Winning,” Blake said. “And hopefully PRing.”
On the boys’ side, Daniel Bohnemann will run the 1,600, Guy Ramos is in the 200 and 400, Christian Walker is in the 400 and Michael Harris will be in the shot put. Jeremiah Walltower, Guy Ramos, Nehemiah Griffin and Walker will run in the 4x100. Sean Markert and Michael Mejia are alternates.
Boys’ coach Willis Willmeth said prep for the Pioneers has been going well.
“We’ve had a good season,” Willmeth said. “Kind of had a little letdown last week with the 4x400 getting disqualified. But I think the kids are ready. I think we have a kid (Guy Ramos) who has a chance to win the 400, place in the 200 and place in the 4x100. So what we are taking has an excellent chance. … We’re going to be a small group only taking eight guys. But hopefully we can get those guys on the podium.”
He mentioned Bohnemann has one of the fastest times in the state for the mile and how he expects Harris to get a medal after the sophomore won at regionals.
Willmeth said the prep hasn’t really changed from other meets. Just that they have pulled back a little but the team is still focused.
Bohnemann and Guy Ramos are both going into their last meet in high school competition.
While Bohnemann is looking to make it to the podium, the senior said he is also looking to have fun and enjoy the event.
For Ramos, prep has been “like clockwork” and he is working with the team to focus and not let the pressure get to them.
The Lansing Lions will have Rachel Fairbanks in the 200 and long jump. Zaiylah Bronson will run the 100, Grayce Martin is in shot put, Alyssa Batista will be in the javelin and Reece Baker will participate in the pole vault. The girls’ team will also have two relay teams run. Cora Reed, Kamryn Farris, Allison Muzzy and Olivia Van Der Werff will compete in the 4x800. Madelyn Bachtel and Kamilah Tanner are alternates. Bronson, Fairbanks, Lexi Wardlow and Daphne Clemens will run in the 4x100. Tanner and Reed are alternates.
Girls’ head coach Josh Floetke said one of the advantages that comes from the state meet is the spacing of events. Due to all six classifications participating, he said they can adjust to how the kids are training on race day. The meet being at the end also allows them to change up prep prior to the meet.
Lansing’s boys will have the 4x800 team of Alex Mack, Matthew Stephen, Ty Bieber and Nathaniel Baker run. Liam Neidig and Terry Robinson are alternates. Tre’Matt Pledger, Malik Benson, Charles Wood and Bryson Raymond will run in the 4x100 with Ethan Woods as an alternate. Neidig, Benson, Pledger and Robinson will run the 4x400. Mack and Woods are alternates. Benson will also run the 100 and long jump. Neidig and Robinson will both run the 800 and 1,600, Malachi Tinnel is in the 300 hurdles, Richard Patrick is in the high jump and Chrystian Huff will be in the triple jump.
Dylan Brown is in his first year as head coach of the boys’ team.
He said there isn’t too much of a difference with coaching the team with on the field performance. The biggest difference is all the administrative work of who goes in what hotel room and what the team eats.
For Basehor-Linwood, Jenna Zydlo will run the 400 and participate in the high jump. Lucky Lally is in shot put and discus, Ellie Dusselier will do the high jump and the 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams will run. Zydlo, Dusselier, Brookelyn Vittitow and Riley Tinder will run the 4x400 with Abby Otten and Adell Gore as alternates. Tinder, Quincy May, Taylor Theno and Rylee Jones will run the 4x800. Caroline Cavanaugh and Alyssa Tyler are alternates.
On the boys’ side, Jake Wilson, Sterling Hollond, Graham Stallbaumer and Marc Farris will run the 4x800 with Philip Perez and Brady Myers as alternates. Nolan Ford will run the 200, Jace Friesen is in discus and Trevor McBride will participate in the high jump.
Bobcats head coach Scott Russell said there has been a lot of consistency with the prep this year.
Wilson said he felt like the prep has been good leading up to state. The senior said it is a little different than his previous state appearances due to him being out of school.
“I’ve already graduated,” Wilson said. “And I’m not going to school anymore. So you have to wake up at the same time and keep on your pace.”
Wilson said staying on the same mental schedule is important.
“Don’t do anything different,” he said.
Pleasant Ridge is sending Emma Schwinn in the 100 and 300 hurdles and Keaton Comer in the javelin.
Comer said he is “very excited” for his first state meet. “(I’m looking forward to) better competition,” he said. “And to see some of the best javelin (throwers) in the state.”
Schwinn said she hasn’t really thought about the mental side of the meet yet.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time to prepare myself to do the best I can,” Schwinn said.
Prep for the state tournament has been a challenge for all the teams with the weather. Despite the struggles, the teams have still worked around it.
“This is Kansas,” Marriott said. “We deal with it. We ran outside every day this week … this week didn’t bother us at all.”
Willmeth said he told the athletes to bring lots of dry clothes and multiple layers.
Russell said Monday’s practice was a struggle due to the lightning but the team practiced Tuesday in the rain.
“Realistically we are going to have to be ready for whatever comes,” Russell said.
He said he talked with the kids about the mentality of being warmed up and ready to go before a lightning strike delays the meet for hours.
He said he told the team of his similar experience when Russell qualified for the Olympics for Canada in a downpour. He also consistently reminded the team to remember hats, towels and extra clothes.
Comer said it has made it rough but he still has been able to practice.
“It’s been been a little rough these past few practices,” Comer said. “We have a javelin I can throw in the gym.”
Comer’s coach, Glenda Connelly, said it has been slow with practices this week. She said Schwinn has been in the weight room and working there with Monday and Tuesday having rain. Schwinn agreed but said she feels like she is already in good shape. Prior to Schwinn’s practice Wednesday, Connelly said the hurdler will work hard to get it in with the nicer weather.
“We will be ready Friday,” Connelly said. “Just got to make sure those spikes are sharp.”
Lansing spent their first two days inside practicing in the gym and pool. Floetke said they will just wait for what the Kansas State High School Activities Association decides and to “roll with the punches.”
“No matter what happens, it’s equal for all the competitors in our races. Can’t control the weather so we don’t need to worry about it too much.”
Brown said the kids have lived in Kansas long enough that they should know to be prepared for everything.
Regardless of the weather, Connelly is looking forward to the meet due to the fun atmosphere.
“It’s just fun,” Connelly said. “The whole atmosphere is just fun. You have 1-6A all there. There is nothing like it in the nation. We are so lucky in Kansas to see everybody. The top 16 of all classes.”