As a team, the Ashland High School boys have amassed a solid squad, sending eight to the Class 1A state track and field meet at Cessna Stadium this Friday and Saturday in Wichita to compete in 14 events.

    “Its always better to have more than less,” Ashland head coach Jim Gillaspie said. “I think if the kids compete at the level they have been at, they will do fine. I never worry about points, I just (want them to) work through the season to get better and hope for their best performances are at state.”

 As a team, the Ashland High School boys have amassed a solid squad, sending eight to the Class 1A state track and field meet at Cessna Stadium this Friday and Saturday in Wichita to compete in 14 events.
    “Its always better to have more than less,” Ashland head coach Jim Gillaspie said. “I think if the kids compete at the level they have been at, they will do fine. I never worry about points, I just (want them to) work through the season to get better and hope for their best performances are at state.”
    Cole Gardiner has the led the team in the distance events and is competing in the 800-meter run, 1,600 and 3,200.
    “He has done real well this year,” Gillaspie said. “He has been able to run a lot in his speed workouts and things likes that. I know the best 800 right now is like 1:57 by a kid out of Greeley County.
“Of course, there is always those kids out of Ness City, but Cole has done really well. Since last year, he has more speed and that has really helped him in different events.”
    In the jumping events, 6-foot-6 senior Spencer Amerin has been hard to beat in the long jump and high jump.
    Amerin has consistently cleared 6-6 all season; in the last two meets he has cleared 6-8, an Ashland school record.
    He is four inches shy of breaking the Class 1A state meet record of  7-0 held by Shane Lavy of Glasco in 1994.
    “The thing about records, I think he should just try and work on doing his best,” Ashland head coach Jim Gillaspie said. “If that happens to be his best then fine, but I don’t think he is quite ready for that yet.”
    Last year, Amerin captured third place at the state in high jump.
    “I hope he will do better than that (this year),” Gillaspie said. “There are probably about six to seven jumpers that have gone over 6-5, so it is going to be tough competition, but I just hope he rise above all that, not be nervous and do the best he can.”
    In the long jump, Amerin won the event in regionals, jumping 21-4 1/2. The state meet record is 23-0 held by Ed Broxterman of Baileyville B&B, who accomplished the feet in 1992.
    Amerin is not the only Ashland athlete that can get up in the air, Ervin Swonger won the pole vault in regionals with a 13-0 vault.
    “He is in tune with what is supposed to happen,” Gillaspie said. “He is kind of a coach among coaches. He can almost coach himself in a lot of ways.”
    Swonger missed a lot of meets early on as he was recovering from a broken leg. His first meet this season was the Southern-Plains Iroquois Athletics Association meet in Ashland.
    In the 200, Ben Fox has yet to lose this year. At regionals, he ran a 22.33.
    Also competing for the Blue Jays is Giles Fox (discus, Javelin), Kirk Woodruff, (400), Ransom Gardiner (3,200) and Mark Spare (800).  On the girls team, Ashland sends Lexi Seacat (pole vault) and the 4x800 team of Ashley Knowles, Kayla McKinney, Kara Reimer and Joanna Reimer.
Pawnee Heights
    Head coach Rick Carlson said he has high hopes for his boys team at state.
    “With the boys, I think we have a chance to be in the top three as a team,” Carlson said, “top five, for sure, if things go well.  I think if things go well we can possibly come out with a trophy.”   
    Nolan Dreiling will compete in all three throwing events and is a threat to win all of them.
    “He is throwing well right now,” Carlson said. “I mean he is sitting at No. 1 in the javelin and he kind has been above everyone else the whole year. We look for him to continue to do that.”
    In the javelin, Dreiling is the defending state champion and he took first place at regionals by almost 17 feet with his throw of 181-11 1/2.
    All year he has been battling Greensburg’s Billy Stensland for first place in shot put, and Dreiling beat him by two feet at regionals.
    “I think it is more of a friendly rivalry,” Carlson said. “They have of course gone back and fourth for four years and Nolan wins some and Billy wins some. It has been Nolan lately beating him. Hopefully that will continue on Friday and Saturday. I think they have a fun time going up against each other.”
    Discus is his weakest event, finishing fourth in regionals.
    Carlson said he expects some points from Levi Morss who won the 300 hurdles in regionals (40.88). He is also competing in the 200 and the 4x400 relay.
    He is joined on the relay team with Cameron Bauer, Chad Wallace and Sam Spence.
    Wallace, Bauer and Spence also run the 800 with D.J. Auker. Bauer is also competing in the long jump and triple jump.
    On the girls side, Serenity Seiler is going for her second time in the 400. She will also compete in the triple jump.
    The only other girl going to state for Pawnee Heights is Rachel Wasko (discus).

    Jason  McClaren, Kameron Ptacek and Colby Penick were a game away from making it to state in baseball as they lost to Sublette 6-3 in a Class 2-1A regional championship game.
    The next day, they went to Greensburg and qualified for state in track.
    “I think they had the best of both worlds,” Minneola track coach Matt Krone said. “They had chance to qualify for either one … unfortunately, they did not make it for baseball (and) had the opportunity to try again at the state level.
    "It is a great thing I think for them to have that chance, opportunity and they took advantage of it.”
    McClaren qualified in the 200 dash and the triple jump, and Ptacek and Penick qualified in the pole vault.
    Krone said he is excited about going to state with this group.
    “This is the most boys we have had in while,” Krone said. “The last couple of years, only one or two have qualified.”
    For Minneola's girls, Kara Minor qualified in the 100 and the 200, while Kassi Ptacek is going in the high jump.
    Both girls are also going as members of the 4x100 relay, along with Morgan Minor and Samantha Harrington.
    The Rangers will head to state with one of the bigger teams it has had in a while. The last couple of years they have sent three athletes. This year they have five competing in individual events and a 4x100 relay team.
    On the boys side, Billy Stensland has been atop the shot-put standings, launching the shot put around 50 feet.
    At regionals, he threw it 50-8, good for second place behind Dreiling of Pawnee Heights.
    Stensland, a senior, will be going to state for the second consecutive year. Last year, he finished 11th with a throw of 44-2.
    “At least this year going in, he knows the atmosphere and knows the environment,” Greensburg head coach Travis Powell said. “That’s big plus because it is pretty intimidating sometimes when you go up there for the first the time. I know for him, he is looking to keep going, finish where he has. Hopefully it will be battle between Billy and Nolan Dreiling of Pawnee Heights.”
    Junior Morgan Fulton is heading to the state tourney for the third consecutive year in the hurdles, but Powell said he does not think experience will benefit her as much as Stensland.
    “It’s kind of an interesting thing,” Powell said. “The girls field is so tough, there is a couple of other girls that have been both years as well, so it does not become as near as a advantage if you are running against other competitors that are in the same boat you are.”
    Fulton took sixth in the 100 hurdles and eighth in the 300 hurdles last year.
    Fulton and Stensland will head to state with Cody Headrick (high jump, 4x100 relay), Connor Staats (1,600), Adriell Hewitt (pole vault) and the 4x100 relay team that includes Keenan Behee, Darin McVay and Ty Schaef.

South Gray
    Early in the year, Mikayla Skidmore was just missing clearing 10 feet in the pole vault. She has never cleared a higher than 9-6, because she immediately goes up to 10 feet after clearing 9-6.
    Skidmore has only competed in one meet in the last month because of a rib injury, and that was regionals. She tied for first with a vault of 9-6.
    “She has had a good week of work,” South Gray head coach James McMillan said. “She is getting back in the swing of things, she has a great opportunity to finish in the top three pretty easily, if she can get things put back together.”
    South Gray is sending two more people to state, Coulter Croft (100) and Tanner Dirks (high Jump).

The only Jetmore boy to reach the state meet is Evan Kreger who won the 100 and took third in the 200 at a regional meet.
    On the girls side, Cara Beckwith is also competing in two events, the shot put and discus.
    Beckwith took third at regionals in the discuss, hurling 97-0. In the shot put, she took the final qualifying spot, tossing it 33-3 1/4.
    In the 400, Crystal Bradshaw enters state after winning the 400 at regionals with a time of 1:01.78.
    Bradshaw is also a member of two state-qualifying relay teams. In the 4x100, she is joined by Lauren Shuler, Morgan Edwards and Brooke Borger. In the 4x400, she is running with Kelsey Lampe, Chelsie Beougher and Shuler.
    Morgan Edwards qualified for state in the long jump.

South Central
    At regionals, a couple of South Central girls took first place to qualify for state.
    Brena Alexander won the 3,200 by 24 seconds with a time of 12:59.6. She took second in the 1,600.
    The Coyotes also took first in the 4x400 relay, tying South Barber with a time 4:20.42. That relay team consists of Tori Brass, Michelle Burt, Lauren Jarnagin and Desi Lopez.
    In the 4x800 relay, South Central took second behind South Barber. On that relay,  Jarnagin and Brass are joined by Alexander and Celeste Robles.
    South Central also will be competitive at shot put, where Jerrica Cronin took second with a throw 36-0 1/4.
    The only boys to qualify are Jose Gacia (400) and James Cook (3,200).
    Jesus Perez will head to state by himself, competing in the long jump.
    Perez took third at regionals, jumping 20-10.
    The Red Aces will send four girls to state.
    Abbi Price won the 1,600 and took second in the 800 in regionals.
    Price went to state last year in the 800, finishing 10th.
    Sammy Kreutzer is going to the meet for her first time after finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles at the regional meet.
    After being stuck at 8-6 on the pole vault for a year, Melinda Davis has exploded in the last few weeks , tying South Gray Mikayla Skidmore at 9-6 in regionals to qualify for state.
    Davis also made it to state last year, finishing seventh with an 8-6 vault.
    Those three girls will team up with freshman Amanda Long in the 4x400 relay.

    The Coyotes head to the state meet with a group of 10.
    “We have a good group going this year,” Kinsley head coach Jeff Chambers said. “So you know when you get to the state track meet, everything is just kind of hands down whose going to compete and whose going to be nervous, you know. When you got some freshman going it makes it tough sometimes. Hopefully they will relax and have another good day and score some points and win some medals.
    Kinsley has two freshmen in Brittany Gleason (4x800 relay) and Shaylee Meyers (javelin). The only senior is Lacey Bounds (100).
    “We are going to be young, but it is good experience for the kids,” Chambers said. “They need to see this.”
    Three members of the 4x400 team that went to state last year return — Alisen Habiger, Haleigh Ebert and Riane Carey. Sophomore Mayra Ramirez is the only new addition.
    “You just have to get out and run,” Chambers said. “When you get there, a lot of times a lot of people are full of nerves and hopefully they will have a chance to spend the day doing stuff and relax a little bit and that might help.”
    Ebert is also competing in the 300 hurdles and Carey is competing in the 400.
    Levi Hirsh (400) and Hayden Petty (shot put) are going on the boys side.
    “If (Petty) throws his best throw again, he is sitting about third in the shot put,” Chambers said. “He has thrown 48-10 in a competition and two or three over 50, but he has scratched. So, if he just stays in and makes a good throw, there is no telling what will happen with him. He can win it or he could not even make the finals. If he has a good day, I think he is one for sure that has a shot of winning a medal.”



    Meade's boys have several athletes that won their events in regionals and are headed to state.
    Trevin Wiens won the 400 with a sprint of 51.54,  and Gunner Cordes won the 3,200 , finishing with a time 11:06.10.
    Meade also took first in the 4x400 relay with a team that consists of Wiens, Dakota Benear, Eric Klotz and Albert Davis.
     The same group also qualified for the state meet in the 4x100 relay.
    Benear will also compete at state in the 110 hurdles.
    Chris Hardaway beat Spearville’s Willie Cauley by an inch in the triple jump at regionals for the final spot at state.
    Overall, Meade is sending 12 people to state this year.
    On the girls side, Tatum Hansen (400, long jump), Britney Reimer (100 hurdles) and the 4x100 team of Brittany Marceau, Kalea DeVine, Taylor Cook and Amber Koons took the final spot at state, edging Kinsley by less than a second in regionals.

    Kendrick Quinn pole-vaulted 11-0 to become the only boy on the Spearville team to qualify for state this year.
    On the girls side, the Lancers are sending four.
    The top two competitors at regionals in the triple jump were Spearville’s Taylin Doussa and Elizabeth Stein. Doussa went 36-2 and Stein went 34-1 1/2.
    Doussa also qualified in the long jump.
    Katelynn Slattery helped Spearville conquer the jumps by qualifying with a first-place height of 5-2 to win the high jump.
    The only event the Spearville girls qualified in that was not a jumping event, was the 4x100.
    Stein, Slattery and Doussa teamed up with Ashley Konda to win that event with a time 52.81.