Field events dominated Friday at the Kansas state track and field championships in Wichita, but one race stole the show late.
In the Class 5A 3,200-meter girls race, Olivia Sovereign of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy’s Sarah Murrow could not have been any closer.
Both battled each other the last two laps of the race, and down the final stretch they ran into each other as Sovereign crossed the tape.
In the last few seconds, Sovereign appeared to swerve right into Murrow and take home the medal.
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“I started my kick, and I don’t think she knew I was coming, and I think she just got off balance or something and cut me off,” Murrow said.
However, after consideration by officials, it was determined that Murrow was shoved by Sovereign which disqualified her.
“I feel awful about it, but that stuff happens,” Murrow said. “I know she’s a great runner and I don’t take it personally at all. We’re still great friends.”
Murrow finished the race with a time of 11 minutes, 22.07 seconds.
Class 6A highlights
Rachael Mayberry picked up pole vaulting in the last 18 months but has already shown some serious potential for her future.
Mayberry of Olathe Northwest had an impressive day battling the bar and won the pole vault with a vault of 12 feet, 0 inches. Since the start of her brief career, she’s enjoyed every thrill of this event.
“It’s so fun,” she said. “Everyone thinks it’s so scary and so dangerous, but then when you get up there you just feel like you’re flying, and it’s just awesome.”
▪ Shawnee Mission East’s Jessie Stindt claimed the first state win for the Lancers with a triple jump victory of 39-07. Stint knew she had to hold off Olathe Northwest’s Audrey Fisher throughout the day, but Stindt stayed loose and relaxed until the end.
“I changed my run a little, and it was helpful and I was in a good mood,” Stindt said.
▪ Lawrence Free State’s Emily Venters showed her dominance in long distance with a 10:35.90 win in the 3,200 meters, beating the competition by more than 20 seconds.
▪ In the boys 3,200, Adam Owens of Blue Valley was in a much closer race digging it out with Gardner Edgerton’s Trenton Cochran.
With his long frame, Owens eventually pulled away at the last second with a time of 9:44.72.
Owens dedicated his win to former track coach Eric Driskell who passed away early this year.
“I told myself I was going to do this for Coach Driskell,” Owens said. “I just thought about what he had to go through and what his family had to go through, and I thought I could do this much for them.”
▪ Olathe East’s Bailey Turner continued her success in the long jump taking home the state title with a jump of 19-1 1/2 .
Morgan Thomas Mill Valley has been trying to find that extra edge in the high jump ever since she was second at the state meet last season.
Thomas started working hard just a week after state in 2016, and it paid off when she cleared 5 feet, 6 inches, which was good for the state title.
Thomas said the mark she went for is something she had hit before.
“I knew I had been there two times before and I just knew I needed to get it no matter what,” she said.
Bishop Miege’s Cameron Key won the boys triple jump with a leap of 46-0 1/4 , giving the Stags an early state title.
Key was consistent with his jumps with three over 45-11.
“The runway was a little fast, my first phase was a little bit longer, but it was a really good process,” Key said. “I’m really out of words. It’s unreal. It’s crazy.”
▪ Kayla Kurtz of Baldwin also had an impressive showing with a top javelin throw of 147-0.
▪ Tonganoxie’s LeeRoi Johnson brought home the gold in the discus. His longest throw of the day was 180-03, 20 feet better than his competition.
The Wichita Eagle's Taylor Eldrige contributed to this report.