WICHITA — Helen Giefer’s bid for back-to-back state championships in the Class 2A girls 3,200-meter run fell short, with Giefer finishing runner-up on Friday at Cessna Stadium.
But the WaKeeney-Trego star more than made up for it on Saturday in the 1,600, capturing gold for her second career state title.
Giefer finished the mile in 5:18.36, edging KC-Christian's Alysia Wagner’s 5:22.83. Wagner topped Giefer in the 3,200 with an 11:31.49 to Giefer’s 11:44.38.
Giefer, a Kansas State signee, said she felt more relaxed heading into the 1,600.
“I tried to keep my nerves down because I know in the 3,200 I got really nervous,” Giefer said. “I had a really bad race; didn’t feel too good. I was really just hoping to come back out here and make up the ground that I lost yesterday. I’m really excited I was able to run that race.”
Giefer spent the first lap toward the end of the pack before working her way up to the front and pulling away on the last lap.
“I never go out real fast,” she said. “A lot of people go out fast and they (fade at the end).”
Like most athletes this weekend, Giefer had to adjust to the altered schedule due to the weather.
“Today it was OK, but (Friday) was a little tough,” Giefer said. “I got up at 4 (a.m.) so I could loosen up and get ready to go. It turned out we ran about two and a half hours later than we were supposed to. (Saturday) didn’t quite compare to that. But I think I was just ready today whenever it came.
“This morning I ran the four by eight and I ran a pretty strong split; I felt really good,” Giefer added. “I was a lot more confident, I think, coming into the 1600.”
She said she enjoyed entering the meet as a defending state champion and was grateful to end her career on a strong note.
“It was really fun for state this year. Going in as the defending state champion in the 3200, there’s a lot of pressure, but I was really excited,” Giefer said. “I’m just really happy to go out on a good note.”
OSBORNE HURDLERS ADD MORE GOLD: Osborne continued its supremacy in Class 1A hurdles, with Darrien Holloway and Afftin Conway adding more gold to their collection.
Holloway, who swept the boys 110 and 300 hurdles last year, won the 110 hurdles in 14.91 and was set to compete in the 300 hurdles later on Saturday.
Conway won the girls 100 hurdles for the first time in her career with a 15.12.
It was the third state title for Conway, who won the 100-meter dash and 300 hurdles last year.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time because I was always racing against (Lakeside’s) Rachel Miller, who graduated last year,” Conway said. “She was the person I wanted to beat.
“With her not being here, it was kind of a rough start. I did feel like I wasn’t pushing my hardest at the beginning. Then when I got here, I was like, 'OK, I have a chance at winning this year.’ I was really excited when I did it. I was just overwhelmed.”
Conway edged Northern Valley star Paige Baird’s 15.29.
BACH REPEATS IN JAVELIN: It took his final attempt to get the job done, but Northern Valley senior Caden Bach notched his second straight Class 1A boys state javelin title.
Bach won the event on his final toss, unleashing a throw of 186 feet to beat Max Blaufuss’s mark of 175-9.
“I was sitting second so I knew I had to at least throw further than that,” Bach said. “It was nerve-wracking, but I knew I could do a lot better."
Bach, who will throw at Cloud Community College next season, said it was a fitting way to end his high school career and he’s excited to compete at the next level.
“It felt great,” Bach said, “and I’m happy to extend my career."
BAIRD COMPLETES 4-PEAT IN 400: Northern Valley’s Baird won her fourth-straight championship in the Class 1A 400-meter dash.
Baird clocked a 58.39 to clinch the four-peat.
It was the fifth state title of Baird’s career. She was scheduled to compete in two other events on Saturday.
As of mid-afternoon Saturday, other area state champions included Norton’s Lexi Kats in the girls 1600 (5:27.22), Russell’s Renee Nichol in the Class 3A girls long jump (17-6), Plainville’s Aubree Dewey in the Class 2A girls 400 (58.31) and Oakley’s Class 2A boys 3,200-meter relay team of Kade Hemmert, Eric Cain, Cody Zimmerman and Wyatt Abell (8:23.26).
EDITOR’S NOTE: The state track and field championships were still ongoing Saturday as of press time.
Check HDNnews.net and Tuesday’s print edition for in-depth coverage of the area state champions and reports on the Hays High and Thomas More Prep-Marian competitors.