It included a slight switch of events, but Smith Center junior Kaden Meitler qualified for the state meet in four different events for the second consecutive season.
After qualifying for three events as freshman, Meitler placed third in the pole vault and sixth in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore. He also participated on a pair of Smith Center relays that scored points in Wichita.
This year, he’s added the 110 hurdles in place of of the 3,200 relay. He won the pole vault (14 feet) and 300 hurdles (42.04) at the 2A regional meet in Hill City on Friday. He added a second place result in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.91 and helped Smith Center place third in the 1,600 relay.
“I went in four events last year, and this year, it was my goal to go in four again,” Meitler said.
An achy joint leading up to regionals put that achievement in jeopardy, however.
“I was nervous going in because my knee has been kinda hurting me lately,” Meitler said. “I didn’t know how I was going to do, but it actually started feeling better as the day went on.
The focus now is adding four more medals to this growing collection.
“The first goal is to get four medals,” Meitler said. “I hope to win the pole vault, and we’ll see how the hurdles go.”
In addition to a hopeful gold medal, Meitler hopes to clear new heights in the pole vault.
“The color of the medal matters quite a bit, but I really want to get the state record,” Meitler said. “I want to do it this year, but if I can’t, I have next year also, but that would be the goal.”
To put himself in position to edit the record books, the Smith Center junior is spending the week leading up to the state meet recovering from a taxing season.
“All the conditioning we have is pretty much done,” Meitler said. “We’re not going to get in any better shape than we already are, so it’s all about keeping our legs fresh.
“I’m going to ice my knee quite a bit and get it good and ready for (state).”