After a tough regional meet, the Hays High School track and field team advanced seven athletes to this weekend’s state meet in Wichita in nine events.

Senior Keith Dryden and junior Shane Berens were the only two athletes to qualify in multiple events.

“It was a real tough regional,” head coach Randall Rath said. “I thought we had some kids that could’ve maybe done some other events and qualified. That’s something we’ve got to work on, trying to get kids to believe that they can do more events than one or two.”

While he would’ve liked to see a couple more qualifications, the coach is still happy

“We’re excited, and I think all of them have an opportunity to get a medal,” Rath said. “If they do, that would be awesome.”

Berens is dealing with a tough competition for the second consecutive weekend. He enters the penultimate meet with the fourth best shot put and third in the discus from regionals amongst state qualifiers.

“I didn’t throw my best in shot put, but it was good competition,” Berens said.

“I feel pretty good in both of them when I’m on.”

Dryden will enter the state meet with eyes on a top finish, as well. He enters state with the fastest time in the 400 and is fifth in the 100. His 400 time of 49.97 was a personal best for the senior who will continue his track career at Fort Hays State University next year.

Maddux Winter, the third Indian headed to state will return to Cessna Stadium for the third time in four years. He qualified in the 110 hurdles and the 3,200 relay as a freshman at Natoma before returning in the 110 hurdles as a junior at Hays High. He was fractions of a second from making an appearance in all four years of his high school career.

“I got beat out by .11 seconds as sophomore,” Winter said. “It was tough for me.”

He’s still benefitting from getting that experience as a Tiger.

“Freshman year, it was an eye-opening experience,” Winter said. “I never realized there would be that many people at a state track meet.”

Now, the three-sport Indian athlete and future FHSU football player is focused on finishing his prep career with a medal draping from his neck.

“Hopefully this year I can make it to the podium,” Winter said.

“Right now, I’m sitting third with my PR. If I can run that race again like I did during regionals, I should be fine.”

He’s hoping an adrenaline boost and having a faster field will help him improve on his 14.99 from the Holcomb regional.

“They all have a chance to get on the stand,” Rath said. “It’s going to be a lot of preparation on how they take care of themselves throughout the week too.”

The plan for the Indians seemed to be a couple of hard practices to start the week before scaling it back as the weekend approaches.

Things were a little more up in the air on the girls side. Seniors Haley George and Audra Schmeidler and junior Marie Reveles each qualified in one event.

George’s high jump of 5-foot-2 is fifth entering the state, but the Kansas State rowing signee was injured in Tuesday’s practice, leaving her status for this weekend uncertain.

Schmeidler’s shot put of 37-3.25 sits seventh amongst state qualifiers, while Reveles’ 2:27.1 200 meters is just outside the top 10.

While he’s hoping to see his females improve on their previous bests, simply making it to state out of Holcomb is an achievement i

“All of them that qualified had to perform well to get through that regional because it was real tough,” Rath said.