913 track and field: Kansas Relays preview

04/15/2014 3:38 PM

04/15/2014 3:39 PM

Here are five storylines to watch this week at the Kansas Relays:

1. State champions

Athletes from the Johnson County area produced more than two dozen state titles in track and field last season, and many of the individual state champions have returned. That group includes Olathe South’s Braden Smith and Olathe East’s Jasmine Thomas, each of whom won two state titles and will be competing at the Kansas Relays.

2. New location

The Kansas Relays, which have historically been held at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Kansas, have a new home this year at Rock Chalk Park in West Lawrence. The track was recently given Class I status, which makes it one of only five such tracks in the country.

3. St. Thomas Aquinas and Shawnee Mission North girls

St. Thomas Aquinas won the Shawnee Mission South Relays and placed second in the Blue Valley Relays, but in both events Shawnee Mission North has been right behind them. Their closest head-to-head competition has been in the 400-meter relay, which the Indians have won both times.

4. Blue Valley Northwest boys

The Blue Valley Northwest boys edged Blue Valley by one point to win last week’s Blue Valley Relays. The Huskies were led by two individual champions and two relay titles, and the Tigers took home two field event titles.

5. Saints’ talented junior

St. Thomas Aquinas junior Tom Pyle has broken his own long jump school record in each of the Saints’ meets so far. Pyle, who placed fourth at state last year, won his first three meets, including last week’s Blue Valley Relays with a new personal record of a 23 feet, one-quarter inch.

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