Hays High makes noise at WAC meet
Talk about peaking at the right time.
Highlighted by one of the state's all-time fastest runs in the 100 from Jaren Kanak and a school-record throw from Gaven Haselhorst in the shot put, the Hays High boys track and field team won seven first-place medals and captured the team title in Thursday's Western Athletic Conference meet in Liberal.
On the girls side, Re Green continued her outstanding senior season with titles in the long and triple jumps.
"Most of our kids who competed, I would say probably about 90 percent of them, had PRs or really great performances," Hays High coach Tony Crough said. "It was really good performances."
Kanak was the talk of the meet after clocking a 10.37 in the 100. The time is believed to be among the best in Kansas high school history in the event.
It only added to the buzz surrounding Kanak, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior who has several Division I FBS offers for football. He announced two more offers on Friday from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin.
"There was a little bit of wind and he got an amazing start, but that was an elite run," Crough said Kanak's 100.
This is the first year Kanak has competed in track since the seventh grade.
"I kept telling all the coaches and everyone, when he gets on the track, you're going to see how he can really run," Crough said. "But, shoot, he's faster than we thought he was going to be."
Kanak also won the long jump with a 21-7 1/2. He placed fourth in the 400 (51.90) and was scratched from the 200 because of cramps.
Haselhorst, a Kansas State football signee, also made noise for his his school record toss of 58 feet, 2 3/4 inches in the shot. Haselhorst has only competed in the shot put five times.
"Man, he's explosive," Crough said. "That thing fires out of there. We knew he would be over 50, we didn't know how far over 50. And now we're sitting there, 'Gosh dang, two more meets, if it's nice and hot and good conditions, who the heck knows? He may pull 60 out."
Green swept the long jump (17-11) and triple jump (36-0) and was named WAC Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
"Re's been awesome," Crough said. "... She's had a heck of a season and had a great meet. She's starting to catch some attention from Cloud County and some other schools and she's thinking about doing track. They think she's probably a multi, heptathlete in college. I think she can definitely do it."
Senior Trey Adams figures to be in the mix for a state title in the discus. He won Thursday's event with a 168-3.
"He's right there," Crough said. "Trey's gotten so much more consistent. It used to be a big throw and then you'd never know what you were going to get, but he was a sophomore last time he threw, so he's a lot more consistent now.
"We expect him to compete for a title in the disc."
One of the biggest surprises was Nate Brooks in the javelin. Brooks shattered his personal best by 30 feet and won the event with a throw of 153-8.
"We did not expect Nate to do that," Crough said. "He'd been telling us the last couple weeks, 'I feel like it's going to click, it's coming on.'
"And then he just popped one. The great thing was it wasn't just one, he went 140, 145 and 153. He figured it out right there when he got into the finals. It was really cool to see Nate jump up there and compete like that."
Jordan Dale also delivered a personal-best in the high jump, winning with a 6-4.
"We think he's got a 6-6 in him this year," Crough said. "He's still growing."
Tucker Veach continued a strong season in the pole vault with a 13-6.
"It was a good day," Crough said. "There were a lot of kids second and third as well that either had their top mark or PR'd.
"Our kids showed up."
Crough, who was named WAC coach of the year, said the Indians are working toward building the program back to an elite level.
"We see the track banners all the time in the gym," Crough said. "We see the track tradition and what's been done here in the past, what coach (Ryan) Cornelsen did, and a couple of our coaches were a part of that, and they've been itching to get it back on track," Crough said. "We're not there yet, back to where it was. But it's fun to be competitive again and to win some things again and to get our kids back to believing that they can compete."
Crough said the Indians have a good chance to send a large contingent to state. They will go to Valley Center for regionals on Thursday.