In his first time at the state meet, last year’s third-place showing in Class 2A shot put for Plainville’s Jared Casey was nothing to be discouraged about.
But with that experience under his belt, Casey is looking for a better showing in the event this weekend at the State Track and Field Championships at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
Casey took third in the shot put last year with a mark of 49 feet, 9 1/2 inches, with Hillsboro star Wes Shaw winning with a 60-11.50.
“I’m going to be honest, I was kind of nervous around the big crowd and everything,” Casey said. “I was just a sophomore going against one of the top throwers in the state. I scratched five throws and got one in.”
Casey won the Mid-Continent League title again this year with a personal best throw of 55-2. He knows he’ll probably need another PR to have a chance to win state, with Shaw the favorite to win another shot put title. Shaw leads the state with a mark of 64-1 this year.
“I know that I’m second (in 2A) right now, because obviously Wes Shaw is at about 64 feet,” Casey said. “But I can do whatever I put my mind to. I’ve got my experience, so I’ll be ready.”
Casey won the regional meet with a throw of 54-7 last week while teammate Brennan Staab placed second with a 49-11.
Here’s a look at a few of the many other standout area athletes who could contend for state titles in Wichita.
Paige Baird, Northern Valley: Baird is the three-time defending Class 1A champion in the girls 400-meter dash. She also won the 300 hurdles as a sophomore and has several other state medals.
At the regional meet in Hill City last Thursday, Baird won the 200 (26.84), the 400 (1:00.62), the 100 hurdles (15.22) and the 300 hurdles (50.51).
Afftin Conway, Osborne: The senior is the defending Class 1A state champion in the girls 100-meter dash and the 300 hurdles.
Conway ran a 12.41 in the 100 last year and captured the 300 hurdles with a 44.86.
Darrien Holloway, Osborne: Holloway swept the Class 1A hurdles last year, winning the 110 hurdles in 14.78 and the 300 hurdles in 40.60.
The junior set his personal-best time in the 300 hurdles at the regional meet in Hill City, clocking a 40.25.
Helen Giefer, Trego: The Kansas State signee captured her first state track title last year, winning the Class 2A girls 3,200 meter run in 11:13.24. She won regionals in the 3200 last week with a 12:00.31 and took first in the 1,600 at 5:34.48.
Kaycee Miller, Golden Plains: Miller won the Class 1A long jump with a leap of 17 feet last year and also helped the Bulldogs win the 1,600 relay. She won regionals in the long jump with a mark of 16-9.50 last/
Caden Bach, Northern Valley: Bach won Class 1A state titles in the high jump and the javelin last year. The senior unleashed a throw of 195-1 to win the regional title in the javelin last week.