Wichita While both Lawrence High and Free State dominated the field events during the opening day of this year's Kansas State High School Track and Field Championships, the two schools also took care of business on the track in an effort to make sure those early team points would not go for naught.
Free State's boys peppered the preliminary running events with the top four individual finishes - and top eight relay times - needed to gain entry into today's finals at Cessna Stadium, while LHS also advanced a strong core of scoring possibilities from both its boys and girls squads.
Heading the Firebirds' charge was junior Austin Winn, who secured heat wins in the Class 6A boys 100 meters (10.95 seconds), 200 meters (22.23) and also ran a leg on the 4x400 relay that clocked in second at 3:25.23.
Fellow junior Keron Toussaint took first in the 400 (49.59) second in the 200 (22.20) and also contributed to the 4x400.
"Everyone we thought could be in finals is in finals," Free State coach Steve Heffernan said. "For a first day, we've really come out and competed well and put ourselves in a good position for the finish."
LHS was more dominant on the girls side of the ledger. Senior Amy Magnuson blew away the Class 6A field in the 100 hurdles prelims (15.28) while sophomore Courtney Barber did the same in the 300 version (45.18). Barber also helped the Lions' 4x400 relay team to the No. 2 qualifying time.
Senior Nathan Hickey produced a balanced effort for the LHS boys, qualifying in the 400, 110 hurdles and as part of the 4x400 relay team.
"I think we did pretty well," LHS coach Scott Stidham said. "You always hope to get everybody through, but that never happens.
"We don't have as many points coming tomorrow, but we do have some kids who can go out and make a little bit of noise."
¢ Goleman golden: De Soto junior Jackie Goleman needed a pick-me-up in the worst way as she made her way to the high jump pit for her third event of the day.
A three-time medalist last spring, she saw her hopes for a repeat literally come crashing down when she clipped a hurdle and fell to the track during the Class 4A 100-meter hurdles prelims.
The track gods next rubbed salt in that wound when she finished fifth in her heat in the 300 hurdles, just .26 seconds shy of a qualifying for a spot in today's finals.
Her fortunes finally turned when it came time to jump instead of run, as she was the lone competitor to clear 5-feet-6-inches - giving her a gold medal and a school record.
"It's a good payoff," said Goleman, who allowed herself a brief celebration atop the mat after clearing the bar. "I was really excited. We've been saying all year that I could probably get it."
Goleman wasn't alone in bringing back gold to the area. Also making the most of her vertical capabilities was Wellsville senior Carissa Hughes, who was one of two competitors to clear 10-0 in the Class 3A girls pole vault, then survived a jump off to win the top spot.
¢ More progress for Pistora: When she finished fourth in the Class 4A girls javelin as a freshman, Tonganoxie's Ali Pistora didn't know she'd be starting a trend now three years in the making.
After moving up one spot to third last spring as a sophomore, she continued her crawl up the toteboard in the first completed event of this year's competition, capping her junior season with a silver-medal toss of 140-7.
Defending state champion Katelyn Penner of Altamont-Labette County bested Pistora with a throw of 145-0.
Pistora is already thinking about how she can pick up extra distance during the next year.
"Maybe build up my speed," she said. "I'm pretty slow."
She also must put an end to another trend to keep her own going. Just a sophomore, Penner will be aiming for her third title next spring in as many seasons.
¢ Area notes: Eudora's Alisha Wingebach, Emily Ballock, Brittney Graff and Megan Ballock set a new state meet record in the Class 4A girls 4x400 relay prelims with a time of 4:00.09, beating the old mark by 0.25 seconds. Emily Ballock also won her heat in the 300 hurdles, and finished fourth in the 400 to make the finals. ... Mill Valley junior Justin Woods put himself in position for two strong finishes in Class 5A, clocking the top times in the both the boys 100 prelims (10.73 seconds) and the 200 prelims (21.80). His stiffest competition in both events figures to be Salina Central senior Jake Sharp, who has signed to play tailback this fall at Kansas University. ... Also in Class 5A boys, Ottawa's Darius Johnson (400) and Aaron Douglas (300 hurdles) recorded heat wins and teamed to lead the Cyclones' 4x400 relay team into the finals. ... The Baldwin boys stuffed the stat sheet in Class 4A, picking up heat wins by Aaron Mills (100) and Aaron Hannon (300 hurdles) and also qualifying Mills in the 200, Jeremy Wright in the 400 and both its 4x100 and 4x400 relay squads. ... Santa Fe Trail freshman Jodi Mundy put herself in position to medal as a state rookie, winning her heat in the Class 4A girls 400 and taking second in her 200 heat.