WICHITA — The Norton Community boys’ 400-meter relay team repeated as champions, and the Bluejays used those 10 points to tie for first place in the Class 3A team standings after the final event concluded as the sun set Saturday behind Wichita’s Cessna Stadium.
Sophomore Tevin Petrie concluded the Bluejays’ scoring toward the end of the meet, finishing third in the 200 meters with a time of 22.91 seconds. Those six points pushed Norton’s total to 48 points, joining Scott City at the top of the standings.
“It was on our radar,” coach Jason Jones said of the championship. “Of course, we’ve been preparing for it all season.
“At the state track meet, you always get some things you’re not sure your going to get. There’s always some things that are going to get away from you. That’s kinda the day we had.”
Saturday’s result continued the team’s upward momentum after a top-five finish in 2015.
“We knew when we placed fourth last year that we had a really good shot this year,” senior Gavin Lively said. “We just used that to build on it and got it done.”
Petrie added a second place in the triple jump at 43 feet, 6.25 inches and also placed fifth in the 100. He handled the opening leg of the Bluejay 400 relay team that added sophomore Jace Ruder into the mix for its second straight gold.
As soon as Lively handed the baton to classmate Tevin Brown for the final 100 meters with the Bluejays in the lead, the future Kansas State football player let the other teams on the track know it was over with a pair of claps.
“Once I gave it to Tevin Brown, I knew it was done,” Lively said.
Brown held on and crossed the line in 43.36 for a new school record.
“It feels great,” Brown said. “Honestly, from sophomore year, I knew what my goal was, to make it this far.”
Saturday’s result was the product of a lot of practice and some tinkering with the lineup, according to the Norton coach.
“We’ve been working on it all year, switching orders up, trying to be as fast as we could,” Jones said.
Brown and Lively were the only seniors on the Norton squad this weekend, and their leadership went a long way in helping Bluejays take home the hardware.
“This year, they’ve done a great job of leading us and helping us out throughout the year,” Ruder said of the seniors.
The underclassmen won’t have the final two runners around next year, but the duo hopes to keep the tradition of excellence alive.
“We just have to keep on improving, whether it’s in the 4x1 or any other event,” Petrie said. “Keep pushing each other in practice and we have a bright future in front of us.”
Junior Tyus Henson ran a 1:58.09 in the 800 to finish in second place and added eight points to the team total.
“Tyus ran a heck of an 800,” Jones said. “(He) finished better than where he was seeded coming in.”
The Norton coach expects to be in contention with Petrie and Ruder, who each qualified in four events, leading the Bluejays. Ruder also finished fourth in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the discus, while a fall in the 300 hurdles likely prevented him from adding points in his fourth event.
“We’re going to try and come back and make a run at it again,” Jones said.
Junior Koby McEwen concluded the team scoring by clearing 6-0 and placing fifth in the high jump.