Plainville captures second straight 2A title
By CONOR NICHOLL
WICHITA -- Plainville High School seniors Nolan Weiser, Bradey Chard and Nick Hixon stood nearly parallel to the finish line before the Class 2A boys' 100-meter dash Saturday.
After 10 events, Solomon had the lead with 43 points. Plainville was second with 24, but six squads were within six points of the Cardinals. Weiser was nervous because the Cardinals had seniors Dalton Werner and Trevor Axelson in the event against Meade senior Trevin Wiens.
"This is big," Weiser said.
Wiens won the event in a 2A record time of 10.73 seconds. But Axelson was second in 11.17 and Werner third in 11.20 for 14 key points. After that, Solomon stayed at 43, but Plainville jumped to 38.
Just after the race, Chard turned to Hixon and said it was his turn to step up.
"I was almost just as jacked up as they were when they got second and third," Hixon said. "It really made me start to focus on my events."
Plainville eventually collected its second straight Class 2A team crown with 64 points at Cessna Stadium. After the 100, Hixon, Werner, Axelson and senior Brett Davis had trouble on the first handoff, but won the 400-meter relay in 44.53 seconds.
Then, Hixon won the 300 hurdles in 40.19 seconds. Werner solidified the title with a third-place finish in the 200 (23.74). He had to finish top-five to assure at least a tie for first.
Meade, paced by three golds from senior Trevin Wiens in the sprinting events, took second with 60 points. Solomon was third with 51. Last year, the Cardinals beat Meade 53-52 for the title.
Last season was the first track title of any kind in Plainville history. This was the first time Plainville has won back-to-back titles in any sport.
"It's kind of hard to believe," Axelson said.
Werner won his second straight long jump Friday afternoon. At that point, Werner was already thinking team title even though the Cardinals had graduated three of their top point scorers.
"We lost some good guys last year, but we knew we had a lot of strong people coming back this year," Hixon said. "It was always in the back of our minds, just thinking about it."
On Saturday morning, Chard took third in the discus in his first trip to state. Chard went 155-10 and threw 12-3 further than he did at last week's regional. Weiser finished eighth in the triple and long jump for two points.
This was the first year Kansas scored eighth-place finishers. Beforehand, coach Norma Finnesy wasn't happy about the points change, but was pleased when it helped Plainville.
"That has helped," Werner said.
In the 100 prelims, Axelson and Werner qualified second and fifth, respectively. Axelson started strongly in the final.
"It was fast," Axelson said. "I thought my start was pretty good. But I saw Wiens right next to me. I tried to stay up with him as long as I could, but his stride just got me. But I felt like I ran a pretty good race."
In the relay, Plainville had trouble with the exchange between Werner and Davis, but the Cardinals held off Solomon down the stretch and beat the Gorillas by .16 seconds. Axelson raised his arms in celebration when he crossed the finish line. That event put Solomon at 51 points and Plainville at 48.
"You know you can count on the other three guys to come through for you," Werner said.
Plainville moved ahead two events later when Hixon won the hurdles. Hixon, who also finished third in the 110 hurdles, showed massive improvement in his career.
"To start where I did as a freshman and then end here as a senior, it feels amazing," Hixon said.
Hixon was running more than 50 seconds in the 300 hurdles as a freshman. He was in 45s as a sophomore and 41 last year when he took fifth.
"So much support from my coaches and my parents to just keep going," Hixon said. "I have had people tell me the hurdles just weren't my thing. I just kept with it, and got here."
Hahn wins surprise 800
Ness City juniors Emily Hahn and Jessie Rubottom have had much different careers in the 800. Rubottom, a three-time all-state cross country runner, has run distance throughout her career.
"She always pushes me," Hahn said. "I am really happy that I get to race with her. She is really good."
Hahn started to run the 800 this year, and then narrowly defeated Rubottom for the Class 2A state title. Hahn ran 2:25.40, while Rubottom posted a 2:26.69.
"Very much a shock," Hahn said.
Coach Patrick Younger put Hahn on the 3,200-meter relay as an experiment earlier in the year. Hahn posted a strong time and state marked just her fourth 800 in a meet this spring.
"I ran a good time, so then he put me in the open," Hahn said. "It kind of went from there."
Deutscher finishes with three medals
Ellis freshman Alexcia Deutscher finished fifth in the 100 (12.83) and seventh in the 200 (28.23) after she took second in the long jump Friday. Deutscher also tied for 12th in the high jump Friday. The Railroaders finished in 16th place with 20 points.