After a multiyear hiatus, Olathe North junior Isaiah Simmons renewed his participation in the long jump as a high school freshman. It didn’t start well. Simmons injured his hip flexor in his first season back, and he nearly quit the sport altogether.
But he’s in it for the long haul now.
Simmons won the Kansas Class 6A state championship last spring, and he added another top win to his resume Friday, capturing the gold medal at the 88th Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park.
Simmons jumped a career-best 23 feet, 21/2 inches Friday. He did not qualify for the finals portion of last season’s Kansas Relays.
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“I really, really wanted to win this event after what happened to me last year,” said Simmons, who began long jumping as a kid before giving up the event for a few years. “My whole focus this week — or even this year, really — has been to win this event.”
Raymore-Peculiar junior Micah Beaver doesn’t consider himself much of a track athlete. In fact, he only joined the team this season at the urging of his soccer teammates, who told him he was too fast to bypass the opportunity.
He’s starting to make them look pretty smart.
Beaver won the 100-meter dash Friday at the Kansas Relays, crossing the line in 10.84 seconds.
“I was really pumped up for this meet, because all of my coaches were telling me they expected me to win,” Beaver said. “I didn’t know much about the other runners, so I wasn’t sure if I would or not. But all I knew is they said I could.”
Back on track
The first few weeks of the track and field season had not unfolded according to plan for Blue Springs senior Jacob Peister. The Missouri Class 4 defending champion triple jumper had struggled to find his timing — igniting a problem with constant scratches.
It all went much better Friday.
Peister cruised to a win in the triple jump in Lawrence, recording a leap of 48 feet, 51/2 inches.
“I’ve had really low marks the first two weeks. To come out and have good jumps and have a good day, it was really a big confidence booster,” Peister said. “I know my abilities, I know what I can do, and now I have my confidence back.”
The aftermath of a sprained ankle derailed the first half of Blue Valley North runner Wumi Omare’s 2014 season.
A year later, a healthy Omare has regained her stride. And then some.
Omare won the 400-meter dash Friday in Lawrence, completing the race is 57.09 seconds — the best mark in Kansas this season.
The location for the season-best time wasn’t coincidental, either. Omare, a senior, said she plans to sign with Kansas this month.
“I was trying to put up a good time on this track, not just for today but to set myself up for the future,” Omare said. “I’m really happy with my time.”
High jump queen
Summit Christian Academy sophomore Carlie Queen is a Missouri Class 2 state-champion high jumper. She owns a bevy of gold medals in the event.
But over the past year, Queen says she has been more consumed by one of her few losses — a third-place finish at last spring’s Kansas Relays.
“This (meet) has been the one that’s been on my mind all year,” Queen said.
As of Friday, she will remember it for the right reasons.
Queen cleared the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches to win the high jump. North Kansas City senior NeKiesha Bailey, last year’s winner, placed second.
Best of the rest
▪ Liberty North senior Andrew Madison claimed a second straight victory at the Kansas Relays, though it came in a different event. A year after winning the 300-meter hurdles, Madison won the 110-meter hurdles Friday.
Madison won both hurdles races at the Missouri Class 3 state championship meet last spring.
▪ Leavenworth senior Willie Morrison dominated the shot-put field with a mark of 64 feet, 111/2 inches. Morrison is the defending Kansas Class 5A champion.
▪ Blue Springs senior Carlos Davis won the discus throw with a toss of 194 feet, 7 inches.
Davis had the top throw in the nation last season en route to a Missouri Class 4 state title.