Both the girls and boys winners in the 1600 meters at the Class 6A Olathe North regional Friday at the Olathe District Activity Center had to beat teammates to capture the gold medal.
Olathe East junior Kayla Davis trailed Olathe Northwest junior Cameron Gueldner in the first 1200 meters.
“I wanted to stay in position to see what I could do in the last lap,” Davis said.
Then her senior teammate Natalie Kopplin took the lead with 300 meters to go.
“She went around both of us,” Davis said. “I went back in front in the last 100 meters.”
Davis ended up with the win with a time of 5 minutes, 11.96 seconds. Kopplin was second in 5:12.83.
In the boys 1600, Blue Valley teammates pushed each other to the finish line.
Tigers senior Joe Gorthy led for the first 1400 meters over junior teammate Keegan Donahue.
But Donahue was determined to get the victory.
“Today I was going for the win,” Donahue said. “I used my teammate to push me.”
Donahue won in 4:25.96 with Gorthy in second at 4:26.21.
Gorthy had some consolation as he captured the 3200 meters in 9:38.48.
The top four finishers in events qualified for the Kansas 6A state meet May 29-30 at Cessna Stadium at Wichita State.
Big day for Olathe East senior
Olathe East senior AJ Stephens easily won both the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.35 seconds and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 39.35 seconds.
Stephens is the defending Kansas 6A state champion in the high hurdles and has the best time in the state so far this season at 14:32.
“I have worked hard in practice,” he said. “I want to win both hurdles at state and run the highs under 14 seconds.”
BV North’s Omare gearing up
Blue Valley North senior Omawumi Omare came in to Friday’s meet with the top time in the state in the 400 meters at 56.18 and didn’t disappoint.
She led from start to finish and won in 56.55 seconds.
“My strategy was to get in front and stay there,” she said. “I was injured last year, so I have been working hard in practice and not to underestimate any opponent.”
Olathe South’s Green has big goals
Olathe South senior Tanner Green, the defending state champion in the boys 400, won the 400 on Friday in 49.07 seconds.
“My goal is to win state again and run in the high 47s,” he said. “I need to run better in the second 100.”
He won the 200 on Friday in 22.11.
Improving by giant leaps
Olathe Northwest junior Brendan Watkins didn’t even make the finals of the long jump at the regional last year, but this year he won the event with a leap of 21 feet, 10 1/4 inches.
“I made giant leaps this year,” he said. “I optimized running harder and jumping higher.”
He has a best of 22-3 this year.
Watkins also won the triple jump Friday, going 43-1 1/2.
Risk pays off
Blue Valley North senior Peter Bentele faced the possibility of not making a height in the pole vault on Friday.
He decide not to vault until 13-0 and missed his first vault.
“I knew if I made it, I would walk into state or if I no-heighted I wouldn’t go to state,” he said.
He made the vault and won the regional with a vault of 14 feet, 6 inches.