Andover track enjoying opportunity to compete at state

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Andover's Sam McDavitt (1892) races down the home stretch of the boys' 800-meter finals on Thursday, May 27 in the Class 5A state track meet at Wichita State.

WICHITA, KANSAS—For a lot of players, state is state. For players like Ethan Richardson, state track at Wichita State is something else. 

The senior walked out onto the ramp for the final time on Friday, the moment of not having a track season last year and having the ability to compete for a state title this season was more real than expected. 

“Man, it was shocking,” Richardson said. “Track has been my whole life and to see this after this whole year, the pandemic, and all of that, man, t’s just a blessing.”

Much like two years ago when Richardson came to the state meet as a sophomore, it was pouring and delayed the meet by four hours. When things finally kicked off, things moved at a swift pace. The Kansas High School Athletic Association wasted little time getting events in one after the other. As the meet came around the final stretch, they were ahead of schedule. It was to the point, Assistant Executive Director, Mark Lentz, had instructed them to space out the last few races due to the lack of rest. 

Another senior, Sam McDavitt saw the brunt of the lack of rest. The senior ran in four different events, three of them were within a short window of one another.

“This was the fastest state meet I’ve ever ran,” McDavitt said. “You never really could rest.”

It was evident as McDavitt led for a majority of the boys’ 800-meter race but was passed toward the end and finished second behind Nen Matlock of Mill Valley.

With the short rest time, others like Tayton Klein put it into a mental block and focused as Andover battled atop the leaderboard. Klein clinched third place by winning the long jump in Andover’s final event. 

“Track is my favorite,” Klein said. “To be here where all these different great players have ran and competed it’s awesome.

“Just to get to be out here after everything is just amazing.”

Andover's Sydney Anderson poses with her two medals

Others took in the experience and is looking forward to the future.

“This was so much fun,” sophomore Sydney Anderson said. “There are so many people here to cheer you on and you don’t know half of them but it’s really fun to listen to everyone cheer for everyone.”

Anderson did not waste her sophomore year at state as she finished fourth in the girls’ 800-meter race and she placed third with Lauren McNeil, Jayda Kelly and Eleanor Braynock in the 4x800 race.

Others like McKinlee Walker took home a medal as well, finishing second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15:13.

Andover will be still packed with talent and an up-and-coming girls’ side will look for a return to Cessna next season.

“It’s been so much fun with all these kids,” Andover coach Justin Hill said. “It’s a special moment for me.”

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.