By AUSTIN COLBERT
Hays High School track and field coach Ryan Cornelsen saw plenty of good things on Saturday in the season-opening Alex Francis Classic at Fort Hays State University. But he also knows he needs to see a lot more if the Indian boys’ will have any chance of getting a fifth straight Class 5A state title.
"We are caught up in times and distances too much. We've got to get to where if you are a 50-foot shot putter, then you throw 50 each week," Cornelsen said. "We had a lot of individuals that just weren't where they probably should be. Hopefully that will open our eyes. We've got a long, long, long ways to go before we are a high quality track team. They've seen it before. They know what it looks like. We just got to get better."
Cornelsen uses the first meet as a time trial of sorts, and as a way to experiment with different athletes at different events. The trial and error method is especially important this year as the Indians brought back very little in the way of state experience.
Hays High has potential in the running events, especially with the addition of WaKeeney-Trego Community High School transfer Clayton Riedel.
In his Indian debut, Riedel took first in the boys' 400-meter dash with a time of 52.30 seconds, and helped Hays High take first in both the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
Kansas State football commit Alex Delton, a junior, also was a bright spot. He won the 100-meter dash in 10.97 seconds, edging out Phillipsburg's Stuart Lennemann (11.31) and Grant Wickham (11.51). Delton also took first in the 200-meter dash in 22.85 seconds, again edging out Lennemann's 22.97 seconds.
The HHS boys’ won the meet easily with a score of 202.50. Goodland took second with 124 points, followed by Phillipsburg’s 105. TMP took fifth with 50 points, Ness City seventh with 35 points and Victoria eighth with 33.5 points.
"Those two guys kind of stood out in the boys," Cornelsen said of Delton and Riedel. "I thought on our girls' side we found some depth that we haven't had in years past. ... I thought Wendy (Zimmerman) had a great day in the high jump. Mattie Schaefli had a great day in her events. And I thought Summer Smith had a good day in her relays. I thought she ran really well."
The HHS girls’ won their portion of the meet as well. They finished with 185 points, well ahead of Great Bend’s 102. Goodland took third with 101, Ness City fifth with 74, Phillipsburg sixth with 56.6, Victoria seventh with 33, and TMP eighth with 25 points.
The Hays High girls took first in the 3,200-meter relay, Schaefli first in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, Zimmerman first in the 400-meter dash and high jump, and Audra Schmeidler first in the shot put and discus throw.
The rest of the Hays High boys' first-place finishers include the 3,200-meter relay team and Maddux Winter in the 110-meter hurdles.
"The expectations are not that we have great times, but that we can compete. And I saw some of that," Cornelsen said. "But if you look at their times they're not 5A times. It looked fine here today, but we will find out here in the near future where we are truly at."
TMP happy with distance runners
With half the roster out of town because of a band field trip, Thomas More Prep-Marian track and field coach Matt Dumler was just hoping to take away as many positives as possible after Saturday's season-opening meet at FHSU.
Among the positives were his distance runners, led by Andrew Hess who finished second in the boys' 3200-meter run.
"The distance kids, I was really pleased with them. They came out and competed," Dumler said. "I was really pleased with Andrew Hess. I thought he ran his two races really well."
The only first-place finisher on the day was senior Ryan Mayorga in the boys' high jump, with a jump of 6 feet, 2 inches. Dumler also pointed out a strong performance from Kaylor Gottschalk in the high jump, who took fifth with a jump of 4-8.
The Monarchs had numerous athletes break personal records despite not many high finishes, including Madi Ginther in the discus. Her throw of 69-3, good for seventh place, broke her previous record by 24 feet.
"We saw that some things are ahead of others, obviously," Dumler said. "We got some kids we still have to work on getting in shape and just getting ready for their events better ... We just got to keep working. Got a good start."
Ness City off to good start
Ness City track and field coach Patrick Younger got just what he expected from his seniors, and that was a very good showing on Saturday in the Alex Francis Classic. But there were others that also surprised, like sophomore Makenna Fritts.
Fritts took first place in the javelin with a throw of 123-1 to break a school record.
"That was awesome and I knew she could throw well, but doing that right off the first meet I'd say that was probably one of the biggest surprises," Younger said. "We are pretty young and inexperienced ... A lot of them I still don't necessarily know what their best events are. So it's kind of nice to get a good mark on them and go from there."
Fritts also took first in the 100-meter, Emily Hahn first in the 1,600-meter run, Jessie Rubottom first in the 800, and on the boys' side Dray Carson took first in the 1,600. The girls 1,600 relay team also took first.
Other notable area finishers belonged to Phillipsburg. Boys' first-place finishes include Hunter Kohler in the 300-meter hurdles, and Grant Wickham in both the long jump and triple jump. The Panther girls took first place in the 400 relay.