Deterding, Bixenman go 1-2 in high jump Friday
By KLINT SPILLER
WICHITA — When Hays High School seniors Adam Deterding and Derek Bixenman were in the winter of their freshman year, they had to make a decision: baseball or track and field.
It was an innocent decision. They were talented jumpers in middle school, but they also played baseball growing up.
They picked track and field, and that decision changed the landscape of Class 5A track and field for the next four years.
Together, they have dominated Class 5A high jump the past two seasons, and on Friday, they capped their high-jumping careers by going 1-2 in the event for the second consecutive year at the 5A state track and field championships at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
"It's more than just a competition," Bixenman said, describing what it was like to compete with Deterding. "He is more like a brother, and doing something like that with a brother is so much better than doing it with just a teammate."
Deterding won his second high jump title, this one at 6 feet, 8 inches, while Bixenman got second for the second straight year with 6-6.
Last season, Deterding won at 6-6.
Deterding was the favorite to win after leaping 6-10 at the Western Athletic Conference championships, but Bixenman once again was seeded low. His season-best mark of 6-6 was fourth best in 5A heading into the state finale.
And just like last year when he also wasn't a favorite to be one of the top three, Bixenman showed up when it mattered the most.
He leapt 6-6 on his third attempt and took second on misses, defeating third-place finisher Goddard junior Austin Chippeaux.
Topeka-Seaman sophomore Joseph Miller and Overland Park-Blue Valley Southwest sophomore James Atwood, who each recorded jumps of 6-8 earlier in the year, took fourth and seventh with marks of 6-4 and 6-2, respectively.
Meanwhile, Bixenman was at his best on the biggest stage.
"Honestly, it doesn't surprise me," Deterding said. "Knowing him my whole life we've been friends since preschool. He's always been pretty clutch in every sport he does. It never ceases to surprise me anytime he does anything like that."
It wasn't just the high jump where Bixenman maxed out his value.
In the long jump, Bixenman was seeded 10th in a field that showcased eight athletes who had jumped farther than 22 feet this season.
He managed to sneak away with an eighth-place leap of 21-7 — his season best.
Thanks largely to Bixenman's and Deterding's combined 19 points, Hays High left Friday with 31 team points, which was five points ahead of second-place Wichita-Bishop Carroll.
"You can't go into any sport thinking a team is better than you," Bixenman said. "You've just got to compete at your best. Today, I just went out there like I did last year. ... You've just go to go out and jump. There's nothing else you can do about it. You can't control how they jump. All you can do is control how you jump."
Another Hays High stalwart was at the top of his game Friday: senior thrower Cade Sharp.
However, unlike Bixenman, it didn't work out for Sharp the way he wanted it to.
Sharp unleashed a personal best throw of 165 feet, 5 inches, in the discus on his final attempt of his prep career — a throw that would have won 5A three of the past four years.
However, Leavenworth sophomore Willie Morrison uncorked a toss of 166-5, edging Sharp, the defending champion, by a foot.
"As a competitor, I'm upset I lost," Sharp said. "That hurts me, but I am proud of my performance. The last throw of my high school career and I PRed. I gave myself a chance to win it at least."
The second-place finish for Sharp ended a four-year discus championship run by Hays High.
Tyler Rathke won back-to-back titles beginning in 2009, and then Zack Gaughan and Sharp won the next two. Hays High was one of just five schools to accomplish that feat, and no school has won five discus titles in a row.
Sharp said the death of the streak upset him more than anything.
"I had a chance to put Hays High in history, and I came up short," Sharp said.
Hays High scored the rest of its points from Friday in the pole vault.
Sophomore Hayden Kreutzer vaulted 14-0, matching his career best, and took fourth.
It was the first points scored in the pole vault at state during head coach Ryan Cornelsen's four-year tenure. Now the only event remaining that Hays High hasn't scored in is the 300-meter hurdles — a scoreless streak that will continue another year after Deterding and sophomore Dominique Carrasco failed to get out of the prelims.
In his first year qualifying in the 300 hurdles, Deterding finished in 41.16 seconds to take 12th, while Carrasco finished 16th in 41.90.
It was the first event Deterding has competed in at state that he didn't score a point, but he did qualify for the finals in the 110-meter hurdles — an event Deterding has won at state the past two seasons.
He took second in his heat to Liberal junior Trenton Hammond, though, who blazed to first place in the prelims in 14.43 seconds — 0.05 seconds faster than Deterding.
"Anytime somebody beats you in your prelim, it's obviously going to make you a little nervous, but we've ran against each other plenty of times over the years," Deterding said. "He got that one. Coming into tomorrow, I'm feeling pretty good. I think I have another gear I can hit still."
Hays High senior Emilio Mitchell reached the finals in the 200-meter dash, taking third in his heat in 22.90 seconds. The 1,600-meter relay, composed of senior Josh Brungardt, junior Shawn Herrman, junior Landon Munsch and senior Ethan Fort, also made it out of prelims, posting the fifth fastest prelim time (3:27.58).
However, Herrman failed to get out of prelims of the 400-meter run, taking 14th in 54.77 seconds, and senior Derek Drees took 10th in the 3,200-meter run in 10:22.44.
On the girls' side, sophomore Mattison Schlaefli reached the finals of the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, posting the eighth fastest time in 16.09 seconds and seventh fastest time in 48.52 seconds, respectively.
Junior Wendy Zimmerman had a rough Friday.
She placed 12th in the 400 in 63.30 seconds and was a member of the 1,600 relay that just missed finals, taking ninth in 4:17.12 — 1.32 seconds away from qualifying.
But as a result of running in the relay, Zimmerman had little time to prepare for the triple jump and only got one run through before she had to compete. She ended up taking ninth with a mark of 34-4.5 — well short of her season best (35-9).