With clear control throughout the Kansas Class 6A regional track meet at Blue Valley on Friday, the Olathe East boys and girls teams both had reason to hoop and holler.
“East Side!” came from dozens of athletes decked out in sweats as they held their regional championship trophies.
“We try to do everything to peak for the last three meets of the year, and for us to be successful as we were tonight is really important,” Olathe East coach Mike Wallace said.
Olathe East beat out Olathe South in the overall boys standings 151 to 98. The girls defeated Gardner Edgerton 163 to 100.
The night started with the boys and girls sweeping the 3,200-meter relays.
The Hawks’ girls team of Kayla Davis, Natalie Kopplin, Allison Vermillion and Kelsey Lathrop, cruised to victory with a time of 9 minutes, 59.82 seconds. The boys had to hold off a few teams, but anchor man Quynton Barnes sealed the sweep. The time was 8:07.40.
In the 800, Lathrop (2:21.01) had an impressive showing of her own, edging out Loretta Achoki (2:21.75) of Olathe North.
Lathrop looks to be an instrumental part of the girls team heading to state.
“Kelsey can do it all and she is the leader of this group and it is by example,” Wallace said.
The Hawks set school records in both the girls 1,600 relay (3:59.16) and the boys 1,600 relay (3:19.01). The keys were Kyle and Parker Evans, according to Wallace.
Olathe East got another relay win in the 400 (41.98) when Dajuane Washington-Box, Kyle Evans, Caleb White and Evans beat out Olathe South and Olathe North.
Olathe East junior Austin Stephens took similar strides in his victory in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.63.
Stephens continued his winning ways in the 300 hurdles. His time of 39.71 was a full second better than anyone else in the event.
“He’s not fast enough to make our 4X400, but his hurdle technique is outstanding and it’s because of the hard work he put in,” Wallace said. “He’s been hurdling all fall, and the hard work obviously paid off.”
The Hawks continued their dominance with junior Jasmine Thomas sprinting for a win in the 100 with a time of 12.41 seconds. Olathe South’s Jacque Darby finished second (12.51).
“In the middle of the season I kind of got injured, but I’m happy coming back and being myself again,” Thomas said. “I feel like I’m back and ready to go to state.”
In the boy’s 100, the favorite, Olathe South senior Dresden Wilbur, finished in 10.99.
For the 1,600-meter run, it was a close race between Olathe North’s Loretta Achoki and Olathe East’s Kayla Davis. However, Achoki put in a kick over the final 20 meters to pull out the win with a time of 5:19.10.
On the boys side, Sam Guinn of Blue Valley Northwest, continued his dominance of the longer track events, cruising to a 1,600 win in a time of 4:24.54.
“I think consistency in the races comes from the consistency in training,” Guinn said. “The most important thing for me endurance-wise is to just be consistent out there every day and logging a lot of aerobic miles.”
In the 3,200, a highly touted matchup with Blue Valley’s Joe Gorthy, Guinn was the victor with a time of 9:37.00.
“I was really glad on the fourth lap to separate from the pack,” Guinn said. “It always gets me anxious when there’s a big group of people like that in the regional, but at that point in I felt pretty smooth. “
Senior Taylor Claybon helped Gardner Edgerton with her 47.19-second time in the 300 hurdles.
For the 100 hurdles it was junior Matalyn Stafford of host school Blue Valley taking first in 15.40 seconds, easily beating her competition.
In the girls 3,200, Blue Valley North’s Sara Hirling cruised to victory.
One effort stood out in the field events.
Olathe South’s Braden Smith, who will soon be manning the offensive line for Auburn, repeated as shot put and discus state champions.
Smith had no problem with the shot put winning with a throw of 59-1.00.00.
He did struggle a bit at the beginning the discus, but found his rhythm with a 185-09 throw that topped the competition by more than 20 feet.
“I didn’t have a great day, but as long as I got the marks to get in that’s all I care about,” Smith said.