Indians one step closer to fourth straight title
By KLINT SPILLER
The Hays High School boys' track and field team might not have got the results it wanted, but it did what it needed to do at the Class 5A regional Friday: qualified plenty of athletes for the state meet.
On a quest for their fourth straight 5A state title, the Indian boys posted 23 entries for the state meet next weekend in Wichita, but it still was eight fewer entries than last season's state championship squad.
The Hays High boys won the 5A regional title with 188 points, nearly twice as many as second-place Salina South (96), while the girls took fourth with a score of 69. Newton won the girls' title with 113.
"I'm not sure if we'll have great lanes or seeds, because none of our times were real good," said Hays High coach Ryan Cornelsen. "We've got a good number of kids out. We had a few mistakes here and there, but I thought overall, we did what we thought we could do. Now it's time to be ready next week."
Hays High's boys dominated the field events, going 1-2-3 in the high jump with seniors Adam Deterding (6 feet, 4 inches) and Derek Bixenman (6-4) and sophomore Aaron Voss (6-2).
Once he was the final jumper left, Deterding attempted 6-6 once, but scratched his next two attempts to get ready for the prelims in the 110-meter hurdles.
Senior Cade Sharp, a two-time defending shot put state champion and 2012 state champion in the discus, did well in both of his events, but not as well as he wanted. He lost in the discus to Newton junior Cory Martens, who threw 165-2 to Sharp's 160-0, and then in the shot put, Sharp won with a season-best mark of 56-4.25.
However, even that was a disappointment.
"It's a personal best in meets, but during practices, I've been hitting 57s pretty consistently," Sharp said. "So if you see me kind of frustrated with a 56, even if it's a personal best, people will ask why are you upset? You can't go a whole week throwing 57s and then throw a 56 and be happy about it."
Hays High sophomore Peyton Harris also made it in the shot put, placing fourth (47-9.75).
Bixenman and Deterding finished 1-2 in the triple jump with marks of 43-9 and 42-4, respectively, and Bixenman was third in the long jump (21-0.75). Sophomore Hayden Kreutzer matched his season best with 14-0 in the pole vault, taking second.
Senior Emilio Mitchell, who suffered an elbow injury three weeks earlier during warm-ups at the Hutchinson Invitational, attempted to qualify in the javelin but failed to get it out, placing fifth with 158-5.
Mitchell grimaced in pain after every throw and was visibly disappointed after the event. His season-best of 171-11 would have won the meet.
"It felt like a knife was tearing my arm apart every time I threw," he said.
Mitchell did make it in two events, though, tying for third in the 100-meter dash (11.05 seconds) and taking second in the 200-meter dash (22.67 seconds) -- two events he would like to improve upon.
"I just need to work on my start from 0 to 60, because I finished good but I'm always last from 0 to 60," Mitchell said.
Hays High qualified someone in every single track event individually.
Seniors Josh Brungardt and Ethan Fort finished 1-2 in the 800-meter run in 1:58.70 and 2:00.44, respectively, and junior Shawn Herrman placed fourth in the 400-meter dash in 52.48 seconds.
Senior Derek Drees won the 1,600-meter run in 4:37.15 and placed second in the 3,200 in 10:22.20.
Drees, who qualified last season individually in the 3,200, started running the 1,600 about halfway through the season. The regional was just his fourth attempt in the event this season, and yet, he's already cracked 4:40 three times, peaking at the Western Athletic Conference championships with a 4:31.75.
"(The 3,200 and 1,600) are completely different, because it's twice as long," Drees said. "The mile doesn't seem like a sprint, but it really is. It's a much faster pace. You don't have nearly as much thinking. You just go for it."
Deterding and sophomore Dominique Carrasco went 1-2 in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Deterding won the 110 hurdles in 14.69 seconds, while Carrasco was second in 14.79. In the 300, Carrasco was first in 39.82 seconds, with Deterding second in 40.29.
Since placing sixth in the 110 hurdles as a freshman, Carrasco has made a name for himself as one of the best hurdlers in 5A this season.
"I want to get third or above in both," Carrasco said regarding his goals for state. "It's a big goal, but I feel like I deserve it because I've been working hard."
The Indians didn't field a 400-meter relay team due to several injuries, but they qualified in the 1,600 and 3,200 relays, taking second and third in 3:26.51 and 8:15.80, respectively.
The girls' side only qualified eight entries for the state meet.
Hays High junior Wendy Zimmerman led the way with four entries, placing second in the triple jump (35-5.25) and 400 (1:02.01) and third in the high jump (5-2). She also was a member of the 1,600 relay team that was second in 4:13.76.
Another member of the 1,600 relay, sophomore Mattison Schlaefli had a strong day.
She placed second in the 300-meter hurdles in 48.08 seconds and third in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.91 seconds.
"I was worried about (the 300 hurdles), but I came out and performed in them, so I was happy," Schlaefli said.
Freshman Haley George made it in the high jump with a leap of 5-0, placing fourth.
She also anchored the 3,200 relay that took third in 10:14.68.
The coaches made a last-minute switch the day of the meet, throwing George on the relay, which typically includes freshmen Courtney Green, Annie Gonzales and Lacey Elkins and sophomore Summer Smith.
After Gonzales pushed the team into first during the second leg, George helped hold off the other team's anchor legs to qualify.
"I was very proud of (Gonzales)," George said.