The Olathe East High School boys and girls track teams made the most of an opportunity in their final tune-up before postseason regional meets later this week.
The Hawks’ boys squad, which will try to defend its Kansas Class 6A state title at the state meet, tied Leavenworth for first place and the girls team cruised to a 29-point victory on Friday in the Sunflower League Championships at Shawnee Mission North.
“We were really happy,” Olathe East coach Michael Wallace said. “We caught about every break we could on the boys side, honestly, and we thought our girls would be in the mix with Lawrence Free State and Lawrence. They didn’t have some girls run and we did and performed pretty well.”
On the girls side, Olathe Northwest finished second and Lawrence Free State ended up third.
Olathe East’s AJ Stephens, the defending state champion in the 110-meter hurdles, won the event at the league meet in 14.32 seconds. He swapped spots with SM East’s Erik Harken and placed second in the 300-meter hurdles. Olathe East teammates Justin Donnelly and Nathan Lucas also placed in both races.
Allison Vermillion of Olathe East won the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 22.16 seconds. Teammates Kayla Davis and Natalie Kopplin followed in third and fifth place, respectively.
The Hawks also won a pair of relays — the boys 1,600-meter relay and girls 3,200-meter relays.
Wallace pointed to a few personal record performances from Cameron Mitchell-Johnson and Ben Kahnke in aiding Olathe East’s performance.
Mitchell-Johnson placed third in the high jump, improving his personal record by four inches, and Kahnk dropped nearly 20 seconds off his PR and placed third in the 3,200-meter run.
“We’re hoping to get a little momentum going into regionals and get some kids healthy,” Wallace said. “We’re getting there.”
Olathe East will compete in the Olathe North regional meet with Olathe East, Olathe North and Olathe Northwest, and SM South out of the Sunflower League. Blue Valley, Blue Valley North and Blue Valley Northwest will also run at that regional on Friday at the Olathe District Activity Center.
Tanner Green led Olathe South to a fourth-place finish at the Sunflower League boys meet with a pair of individual titles in the 200- and 400-meter dashes. He is the defending state champion in the 400. The Falcons also won the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
SM Northwest finished fifth in the boys league meet with a pole vault title from Sam Mosburg. Olathe North followed in sixth place, led by a 400-meter relay title. Olathe Northwest placed seventh, sparked by Sam Howell’s high jump title.
At the girls league meet, Audrey Fisher led the way for runner-up Olathe Northwest, with a pair of titles in the high jump and triple jump.
SM North’s Jazmin Williams also won two league titles and helped the Indians finish fourth. She won the 300-meter hurdles and long jump, and teammate Natalie Lanman won the pole vault.
Olathe North finished sixth, led by a 400-meter relay title and Dana Baker’s victory in the javelin. The other 913-area winner on the girls side was SM Northwest’s Molly Born, who won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races.
Eastern Kansas League: Blue Valley boys, Aquinas girls are champs
Missouri football signee AJ Harris won the shot put and discus events and led Blue Valley to the Eastern Kansas League boys track and field team title on Friday.
Blue Valley also won the 1,600-meter relay.
“We have a really well-rounded team and scored in every event,” Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell said. “All the kids stepped up to the occasion and performed really well.”
The St. Thomas Aquinas boys, who finished third a year ago, jumped one spot to second place with four event titles. Tom Pyle led the way winning the long jump and triple jump, Devin Diggs won the 400 meter dash and the Saints matched the girls with a 3,200 meter relay title.
“In 11 of the 18 events we had boys medal in the top three spots and that is something we weren’t doing as much recently,” Aquinas coach Justin Wrigley said. “It’s really a lot of fun when everyone on the team feels like they’re pitching in.”
Denvoir Griffin led the Miege boys to a third-place finish, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Gardner Edgerton placed fourth with javelin and pole vault titles for Anthony Cisneros and Conner McGuire.
Stuart McNutt led Blue Valley West to a fifth-place finish with titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Teammates Gabe Ng and Matt Birzer added titles in the 800 run and high jump.
BV Northwest won the 400-meter relay to place seventh. Noah Green won both hurdle events for eighth-place Blue Valley Southwest.
St. Thomas Aquinas track coach Justin Wrigley didn’t think his girls ran their best races at the league track and field meet.
That made their fourth straight league championship even more rewarding, as the Saints look ahead to regionals.
“Fortunately, we are deep enough in several events that we were able to put a good amount of points on the board,” Wrigley said. “The encouraging thing is that I still think we can get a lot better over the next two weeks because I have seen plenty of signs of what we’re capable of.”
Aquinas took home a pair of event titles, winning the 3,200 run and 3,200-meter relay. Emily Downey, who won the Kansas Class 5A cross country state title in the fall, won the 3,200 in 11 minutes, 31.33 seconds. She was also the runner-up in the 1,600-meter run. Teammate Haley Dietsch finished third in both events.
“The distance events are nice because we are able to grab a couple of the top spots in the 800, 1,600 and the 3,200, which helps rack up a lot of points,” Wrigley said.
The Gardner Edgerton girls placed second, sparked by victories by Macey Elkinton in the shot put and Abby Buie in the javelin.
Blue Valley West followed in third place, led by titles from Lauren Jeffries (long jump), Christi LeMunyon (pole vault) and Avery Ralston (triple jump).
Wumi Omare led BV North to a fourth-place finish with individual titles in the 200- and 400-meter runs. Madison Hines added a title in the 100-meter dash, Sophie Scott won 1,600 run, Briah Bostic won the discus and the Mustangs finished first in the 1,600-meter relay.
Gabby Gunnerson and Mattie Stafford won titles on the Blue Valley girls side in the 800-meter run and 100-meter hurdles to lead the Tigers to a fifth-place finish.
Hannah Vanbuskirk won the high jump for sixth-place BV Northwest and teammate Isabelle Aube won the 300-meter hurdles. Bishop Miege won the 400-meter relay.