Kansas track and field regionals: Five things to watch

05/22/2014 7:15 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Regional track meets will take place across the Kansas City area on Friday, where state meet qualifiers will be determined.

1. Lawrence Free State girls show experience. Led by Texas signee Alexa Harmon-Thomas, who won the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and the long jump, the Firebirds won the Kansas Class 6A girls championships last season. She appears to be on track for another title having won the 100-meter hurdles at last week’s Sunflower League championships. They also return Bailey Sullivan, who won the 1,600 meters at state. She won the 1,600 meters at the Sunflower League meet and placed second in the 800.

2. Blue Valley Northwest and Blue Valley boys in a tight race. The Huskies and Tigers were separated by just three points at the Eastern Kansas League championships, where Blue Valley Northwest took the title. One of the best head-to-head battles was Sam Guinn and Joe Gorthy in the 3,200 meter finals. Blue Valley Northwest’s Guinn edged Gorthy by just 1 1/2 seconds. Both schools will compete in the Blue Valley regional.

3. Aquinas shows depth in girls distance running. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Bailee Cofer, who won the Class 5A state cross country meet in the fall, broke the Eastern Kansas League meet record in the 1,600 with a time of 5 minutes, 3.62 seconds and led the Saints to their third straight league title. Teammates Emily Downey and Grace Geiger followed in second and third.

4. Smith continues to dominate shot put and discus. Auburn-bound Braden Smith of Olathe South won the shot put and discus events at the 6A state track meet last season and looks like the favorite to do it again. He won last week’s Sunflower League championships with a mark of 63-00.50 in the shot put and 192-04 in the discus.

5. Henn looking to repeat in javelin. Paola’s Andrew Henn won the Class 4A state championship last season with a mark of 191-05 in the javelin. He won the Kansas Relays and last week’s Frontier League championships. He posted his top mark of the season, 204-05, at the Gardner Edgerton Trailblazer Invitational.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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