A pair of Plainville sprinters are leading the Cardinal track and field teams to state this spring.
On the boys’ side, junior Hayden Friend is looking to add another gold medal after running the final leg of the Cardinals’ victorious 400-meter relay team as a sophomore. He was also
The Cardinals won the 400 relay at Friday’s Hill City regional with a time of 45.87, only two hundredths of a second slower than last year’s state championship time.
Individually, Friend won the 200 meters, his best race, in 23.72.
“I run a pretty good curve,” Friend said. “I try to get out in front of them, then I try to hold people off pretty much. Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
He also qualified in the 100 meters, taking second in 11.54. Friend came close to competing in four events in Wichita, but the school’s 1,600 relay team, closed by Friend, finished a second behind fourth-place Bennington.
“It’s nerve racking,” Friend said of closing out the relay. “You really want to get those other guys there, and it sucks when you can’t.”
Even without qualifying in each of his events, the Plainville speedster left Hill City with a positive outlook.
“I was pretty happy overall, even without making it (in the 1600 relay),” Friend said. “It would’ve been nice to win it, but it is what it is.”
Now Friend will look to add to his pair of gold medals from the state meet. Times are as much of a concern as his spot on the podium.
“I’d like to get golds. That’s my goal,” Friend said.
“Whatever gets me first, I’ll be happy with.”
He figures his previous experience in Cessna Stadium should pay off again as a junior.
“It helps me with confidence,” Friend said. “I know that if I can just run my race, I should be able to compete pretty well with all the other competitors.”
Junior Sam Kaup also qualified in three events for the Cardinal boys, placing second in the 400 (51.87), third in the 200 (24.11) and helped Friend and company with the 400 relay.
Kaup qualfied in the same three events a year ago and earned a gold medal for running the first leg of the 400 relay.
Three other Cardinal boys qualified for individual events
Senior Shania Werner is looking to have a productive final state meet on the girls’ side. It will be Werner’s fourth trip to Wichita in as many years. She qualified for the 100, 200 and long jump as a senior. She won the 200 in 27.83, while placing second in the long jump (17-5.5) and third in the 100 (13.53).
“My goal was just to make it in the Top 4 (in the 100), but in the long jump, I wanted first; 200, I wanted first,” Werner said. “Coming into the 100, I knew it was going to be tough.”
In her final trip to Wichita, the senior hopes to improve on her seventh-place showing in last year’s 200.
“I’m looking to move up,” Werner said.
In the week leading up to her final meet before she continues her volleyball career at Hutchinson Community College, she planned to make sure she was her best.
“Resting, block work and working on my long jump,” Werner said, summing up her preparation plans.
While she considers the 200 her best event, she added that she’s aiming to set a school record in the long jump.
Werner was the only Cardinal girl to qualify for the state meet.