The Lansing track and field team finished their first season with Dylan Brown and Josh Floetke in charge. The boys’ team under Brown finished fourth with 42 points at state. The girls’ team under Floetke took 30th with one point.
Brown said he was very happy with the performance after the state meet with most of the 14 qualifiers getting the opportunity to stand on the podium and return home with a medal. He was also asked if he would have changed anything about the season.
“Not really,” Brown said. “Obviously just finish higher in every event we didn’t get first.”
Taking 14 athletes to state was the coach’s favorite memory this season.
Brown laughed when he asked what the biggest thing he learned as track head coach.
“How to use five different online entry programs,” he said.
The coach said the Lions’ best team performance came at regionals.
“We had a lot of personal records,” Brown said, “and two school records at that track meet (Malik Benson in the long jump and Chrystian Huff in the triple jump).”
For the best individual performance, Brown said T.J. Robinson tying his own school record to win the 800 at state was the best for a track event. Robinson was also the boys’ MVP in Brown’s eyes as the team’s most consistent high performer and the sole state champion.
For the best field event performance, Brown said it would be Benson’s school record at regionals with a long jump of 23 feet, 9 inches.
“A close second would be Chrystian Huff getting second at state after setting the school record at regionals,” Brown said.
Huff would be the team’s most improved. Brown said the senior didn’t qualify for state until this year and got second at the state meet after getting the new school record at the regional meet.
Huff is one of the graduating seniors that will leave the young program. He along with Tre’Matt Pledger helped score for the team at state with Huff scoring in the triple jump and Pledger as one of the legs in the 4x100.
“They provided great leadership and stability,” Brown said about the seniors.
Moving forward, the boys’ team will be led by a variety of contributors in 2020. Robinson will be one of the top contributors after taking first in the 800, fourth in the 1,600 and being part of the seventh-place 4x400 team. He will be joined by Liam Neidig, who took fifth in the 800 and eighth in the 1,600 at state and set a new school record in the steeplechase at the Kansas Relays. Benson returns after taking third in the long jump, fifth in the 100 and was part of the 4x100 team that took seventh at state. He will also be part of the 4x400 team. Other contributors will be Alex Mack (4x400, 4x800 and 400), Mathew Stephan (4x800 and 800) and Bryson Raymond (4x100 and 100).
For the girls’ team, Floetke said after the state meet that the girls at state posted marks at or near their PRs and the 4x100 team had a season best to get a medal. The 4x100 race was the coach’s pick for best team performance.
The coach’s favorite memory was when the names of all of the qualifiers for state were announced at the regional meet.
Floetke had previously been an assistant on the track team before taking over as girls’ head coach.
“I am used to working mostly with the distance kids,” he said, “and kids on the track. I got to see some kids doing some good things on field events (as head coach).”
Floetke said he doesn’t like to designate an MVP. But he did point out the performance this year by senior Rachel Fairbanks.
“Rachel Fairbanks qualified in three events for state,” he said. “Medaled with the 4x100 and is our lone four-year senior. She has tried quite a few events for us over the years and she came up big when it counted.”
Fairbanks, Haley Masisak and Daphne Clemens gave “great senior leadership,” according to the coach.
“These girls showed our young team how to be dedicated, how to work hard and how to be coachable,” Floetke said.
With the young team, Floetke said multiple members of the girls’ team improved this year. He said Cora Reed, Kamryn Farris, Alison Muzzy and Amelia Van Der Werff all improved “considerably” in the 4x800 as freshmen and sophomores during the year to take 13th at state. Sophomore Grayce Martin took 10th in shot and Zaiylah Bronson was 14th at state. Alyssa Batista took 11th in javelin and Reece Baker was ninth in pole vault as freshmen.
“I am looking forward to bringing these kids back next year with state experience,” Floetke said. “We have a lot of young talent both on the track and in the field. We have quite a few jumpers and throwers making big gains. It will be exciting to see what they can do next season.”