WICHITA — Part of Victoria High School freshman Kali Weber hoped to get two chances to eliminate her opponents in the 100-meter dash at the Kansas State Track and Field Champions at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
Though Friday’s weather cancellations denied her hopes, Weber still has plenty of reasons to head home pleased.
Weber earned three medals in the Class 1A sprints Saturday, including a 200-meter gold and pair of silvers in the 100-meter dash and 400-meter relay.
A gold in her final event, the 200, made for a great ending to an eye-opening day for the freshman. She ran a season-best 26.24, exacting revenge on Central Christian’s Raelee Ibarra, who defeated her in the 100.
“It feels amazing,” Weber said after winning the 200. “I didn’t know how I was gonna do because I wasn’t running the best.
“I think I did just fine.”
Weber faced a tough field, which included a pair of regional foes in Lakeside’s Rachel Miller and Northern Valley’s Paige Baird. Though she fended off Miller, who bested her in the regional 100, Ibarra was the lone finisher ahead of her. Ibarra finished in 12.67 compared to Weber’s 12.83.
“I think I did pretty good for my first time here,” Weber said. “It’s a little nerve racking, but I did pretty good.
“It feels pretty good going to state for my first time ever and getting second place.”
The field provided a glimpse into Weber’s future, as none of the top-10 finishers will graduate prior to next year’s state meet; Weber and Baird, who placed fourth in the event, were the lone freshman qualifiers.
It was Weber’s second best run of the season behind her 12.63 ran at Pre-State in April. Weber said doing it with a Victoria jersey on in front of 20,000-plus fans makes it much sweeter.
“It feels good. I like representing my town and doing good in my events,” Weber said. “I hope we can get some more (medals) today.”
She would get her wish.
In the first race of the afternoon, the girls’ 400 relay ran a 52.04 to finish second behind Satanta, which ran a 51.58.
The relay had to receive a makeover midseason after an injury to Ashlyn Windholz, a freshman who ran the second leg early in the season. Junior Karly Oberle came on beginning after the Goldsmith Relays early in May and helped the Knights without the relay skipping a beat.
“It was just kinda like, she was hurt and I was gonna go in for her,” Oberle said. “We PRed really good at regionals, so I think that’s kinda why they kept me in. That’s just kinda how it went.”
Victoria’s lone graduate from the relay is Jayden Newbold, though the return of Windholz to join Oberle, as well as freshman Ally Dinkel and Weber, makes for excitement when Oberle looks to the future of the relay.
“We wanna continue and do it again,” Oberle said. “Definitely come back and do better.”
Weber and the rest of the relay expressed concern about their exchanges after regionals, though the team ran a personal record and advanced to state. Oberle said it was the focus all week long and the difference Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been working on handoffs a lot in practice, over and over, making sure we get the steps perfect,” Oberle said. “That definitely paid off today. Our handoffs went very well.”
After running the 100-meter dash, Weber said she wish the weather did not cancel Friday’s prelims so she could rid the field of some runners.
Her mind changed after leaving Wichita with a gold medal in hand.
“I think I’m fine with how everything turned out,” she said with a smile.