Guts & Glory

Past champions defended their titles and new champions emerged as four area athletes won gold models in seven events at the 100th Kansas State Track and Field Champion?ships at Wichita State?s Cessna Stadium on Friday and Saturday,

Peabody-Burns standout Lauren Pickens was the top gold winner from area, sweeping the 100, 200 and 400. Now a three-time champion in all three events, the junior broke her own meet record in the 400 (56.62 seconds) in the preliminary race Friday with a time of 56.58.

In the finals on Saturday, Pickens ran times of 12.20 in the 100, 25.38 in the 200 and 57.02 in the 400 in Class 2A to win her seventh, eighth and ninth career state gold medals.

Despite failing to defend her two-year title in the Class 3A triple jump, Marion?s Julia Zeiner is still a two-event winner. In her senior year, Zeiner won four medals in all: two gold and two silver.

She won the 100-meter hurdles for the first time in her career, crossing the finish line in 15.20. She placed second in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.15.

For the third time, Zeiner is the 3A long-jump champion, winning with a leap of 17 feet, 11 inches.

In the triple jump, the two-time champ finished in an unfamiliar second place. Her jump of 37-83?4 was eclipsed by Wichita Independent?s Tina Liu with a mark of 38-21?2.

Hillsboro?s Dakota Kaufman placed fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 35-51?2.

Marion?s Nick Klenda is now a two-time discus champion. The Warrior senior won with a throw of 178 feet.

Hillsboro?s Nathan Vogel won the other gold medal from the area. The Trojan senior finished the two-lap race in a personal-best time of 1:58.76 en route to the 3A title.

Vogel also placed second in the 400 in 50.11, 1.37 seconds behind three-race gold-medal winner Kurt Pauly of Garden Plain.

Beyond gold-medal glory, several other area athletes scored points for their respective teams in Wichita.

For Hillsboro, Joel Allen shaved around 20 seconds off his regional qualifying time to take third in the 3,200 meters in 10:06.81. Callie Serene, a two-time qualifier in the 800, placed fifth this year in 2:25.76.

?We try to peak when it counts and that is what happened this weekend,? Trojan coach Dennis Boldt said. ?Everyone on the track achieved a personal best in some race throughout the two-day competition. I don?t know that we could have had much of a better day.

Boldt had special praise for Vogel?s effort.

?Nathan comes away with not only a personal best, but a state championship and a time that narrowly missed setting a new school record,? he said.

?This young man is very deserving of his accomplishments this weekend. He trains hard, listens to his coaches, promotes our sport and helps encourage our younger athletes.?

For Marion, Whitney Gordon placed fourth in high jump by clearing 5-2 and Jaclyn DeForest placed seventh in the 3,200 with a time of 12:44.48.

The Marion boys? 4×800 team of Eric Vogel, Jordan Hett, Patrick McCarty, Ryan Jones placed sixth in 8:34.09. Tylor Neil was sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 42-63?4 and Sheldon Boone was seventh in javelin with a throw of 167-8.

Competing in Class 2A for Goessel, Evan Hiebert placed second in high jump by clearing 6-2, and the 4×400 team of John Berkholz, Cameron Stultz, Braden Unruh and Weston Hiebert finished fourth in 3:32.77. Weston Hiebert was third in the 300-meter hurdles in 41.40 and Berkholz was sixth in the 400 in 51.53.

For the Bluebird girls, Aspen Frey placed fifth in the 3,200 in 12:16.87, the 4×800 team of Kendra Flaming, Karina Harvey, Jessica Harvey and Frey placed sixth in 10:26.19, Tia Goertzen was seventh in the 300-meter hurdles in 50.27, and the 4×400 team of Jessica Harvey, Karina Harvey, Jennifer Van Horn, Kendra Flaming was seventh in 4:25.24.

For Peabody-Burns, Isaac Burnett was seventh in 2A discus with a heave of 138-06.

For Centre, Trevor Troutt was fourth in 1A discuss with a mark of 145 feet.

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