Notes and tidbits from Class 3A and 4A state track and field meet

Lionel Tipton & Charles Chaney
Cessna Stadium, home of the Kansas high school state track and field meet

Here are some notes from Friday's Class 3A and 4A state track and feel meet

Leck finishes strong

Rose Hill senior Andrew Leck finished a strong third place in the boys 1,600. He clocked a 4:29.60 – nearly six seconds better than his seed time. He also had a runner-up finish in the 800, in 2:00.44.

“My (personal record) before this was a 4:35, and I knew I had to run faster than that to get third,” he said. “That was pretty much my goal.”

He said he employed a patient strategy.

“My goal is not to go out too hard and wait for the final laps to go,” Leck said. “About two laps to go in the race, I started my kick.”

This is Leck’s second trip to the state tournament, and it was a significant improvement over his first time, in 2019, where he competed in the 1,600. 

“I ran nine seconds lower than my PR,” he said. “I got 13th place, so it was pretty bad.

“I felt like this was my redemption.” 

El Dorado's Ashihi made a name for himself

Ashihi ended up with three medals on the day. He captured the 400, was second in the 200 and ran the anchor leg for El Dorado’s eighth-place 4x400 relay team.

When talking to his coach, Jordon Regehr, he credits Ashihi's drive and work ethic to why he's been able to be so successful.

"He works awfully hard in the offseason," Regehr said. "He didn't earn that today, he earned it the last two years."

Ashihi credits his dad for a lot of what he's been able to do.

"Definitely my dad," Ashihi said jokingly. "He talks a lot and I wanted to shut him up."

Dunham wins only event

The Douglass Bulldogs didn't have a lot of competitors in Friday's Class 3A state meet but Karsen Dunham made her only meet worth it.

The senior went out and won the 3A girls' triple jump.

For a competitor who didn't even go to state in the triple jump in 2019 and to win it? That's an impressive feat. 

Rose Hill relay sneaks into third

Rose Hill’s girls also found some relay success as well, snagging third in the 4x100 in 50.99. Seniors Riley Baker, Mallory Faith Exley and Haley Thrush joined with sophomore Kate Dare, edging out six teams who were close behind between 51 and 52 seconds.

“Our team has gotten so much better this year,” said Thrush, who was the starting center on the Rockets’ girls basketball team. “We’ve worked and pushed really hard. We just pushed through. I’m really proud of them.”

Devine anchors Circle's relay medal

Not far behind the Rockets in the 4x100 was Circle High’s quartet, who won their heat, but got edged out by four other teams in the other heat. The team of sophomore Haleigh Borg, senior Kimalee Cook, freshman Brighton Humig and senior Addie Devine finished in 51.38 seconds, .01 behind Wellington  and .04 ahead of McPherson and Ulysses, and .05 ahead of Eudora.

“It’s my first year running track,” said Devine, who has signed to play volleyball at Pratt Community College next year. “I had played soccer, but with my ACL injury, I decided to do track, and I’m so thankful I did. Everything happens for a reason, and I think it really worked out.”

Rose Hill boys take seventh

Rose Hill coach Brandon Barger’s boys team managed a seventh-place finish with 32 points. He was fully back in his comfort zone.

Barger, a Rockets assistant under Jenny Page, assumed the head coaching duties in that sport when Page was quarantined.

“This is my sixth year as head (coach),” he said. “It’s been a really good thing for me, and it’s been a good thing that I’ve got really good assistants. It’s not just me; it’s pretty much everybody.”

Thrush said Barger challenges his athletes.

“He really pushes us,” said Thrush, who will play volleyball and run track next year at Hutchinson Community College. “He coaches us up, and we work hard.” 

Cook leaves parting gift

Circle senior Cook won the girls 100 (12.33), snagged second in the 200 (26.01) and ran a leg on the fifth-place 4x100 relay team.

She was asked whether she had received any graduation presents from opposing coaches who wouldn’t have to face her anymore. Cook burst into laughter.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “I wouldn’t expect any. I guess my gift to them is graduating.”