After Baldwin junior Kayla Kurtz fouled on her third and fourth throws in the girls javelin competition at the Kansas Relays on Friday at Rock Chalk Park, she looked over to the perimeter of the track to coach Frank Perbeck for some guidance.
Prior to winning a state title last year, Kurtz witnessed some of her former teammates post record-setting throws under Perbeck's direction. Kurtz took Perbeck's advice to heart, and bounced back with her best two throws of the meet to end the competition. The Baldwin junior placed fourth with a throw of 139 feet, 4 inches.
"I was really focusing on keeping my angle right and really just trying to push through it," said Kurtz of what led to her strong finish.
2018 Kansas Relays (High School Day 1)
Baldwin junior Kayla Kurtz and Lawrence High junior Evann Seratte posted the top performances of area high school athletes at the Kansas Relays on Friday at Rock Chalk Park.
While Kurtz has pleased to finish on a high note, the message she received from Perbeck right after the competition was a bit of a punch to the gut when he told her how close she was to finishing one place higher.
"To lose by a centimeter," Kurtz said before a long pause. "It was so close. But yeah, it was really exciting."
Kurtz was seeded second going into the meet, which meant she was throwing right before Olathe North senior Dana Baker — who currently has the best throw of any high school girl in the nation this season.
"It's pretty exciting competing against pretty good people," Kurtz said. "It's also pretty cool to watch and see what we're up against."
Along with soaking in knowledge from Perbeck, Kurtz acknowledged that she was fortunate as a freshman to learn from Kelsey Kehl — who is now a sophomore at Washington State.
"Looking up to her and chasing after her (records) is pretty fun," Kurtz said with a smile.
As Kurtz gears up for the postseason meets, she has the mark of 147 feet in mind that won her last year's state title. It was also her personal best.
"I'm looking forward to keep improving," Kurtz said. "I'm hoping I PR here pretty soon. I'm working on that."
Lawrence High's Seratte medals in 800, qualifies for 400 finals
While the lanky frame of Lawrence High junior Evann Seratte fits the mold of a mid-distance runner, she knows that success does not come from talent alone.
Along with putting in the proper training, Seratte said that she has been mentally stronger during her junior season. Seratte had a clear-cut goal in her first race on Friday, as she wanted to make the finals in the 400 meters. The Lawrence High junior put mind over matter to do just that, as she finished with a fifth-place time of 59.58 in the prelims.
"I feel like I've gotten to the point where it's disappointing if I don't get into finals," Seratte said. "Just being able to come here and race against all these girls and get into the final — it's an amazing feeling."
With a strong headwind along the backstretch, Seratte knew she would have to power through it and hold on as best as she could for the final 200 meters. Seratte said that a few recent workouts paid off while battling the adverse racing conditions.
"These past couple of weeks in practice, I've been working on just getting out hard and making sure I get my stride out in the backstretch and making sure I use that to my full advantage and then on the last 200 just giving it all you've got," Seratte said.
Seratte followed up her qualifying time in the 400 with a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters. The Lawrence High junior clocked in at 2:19.72.
"It was a little colder than I would have liked, but it was good," Seratte said. "I knew going into it that there would be really tough competition. The girls had really good seed times, so I was just hoping to stay with the front pack."
In the field events, Josie Hickerson led the Lions by tying for 10th place in the pole vault with a clearance of 10 feet, 6 inches. Free State's top performer also competed in the field events, as Auna Childress finished 14th in the girls triple jump with a mark of 36 feet, 5 inches.
Friday at Rock Chalk Park
Day 1 of 2
Girls javelin — 4. Kayla Kurtz, Baldwin, 139-04; 20. Baylee Unruh, Lawrence, 116-02; 25. Kate Ogle, Baldwin, 97-10.
Boys discus — LeeRoi Johnson, Tonganoxie, DNS.
Girls pole vault — T-10. Josie Hickerson, Lawrence, 10-06.
Girls triple jump — 14. Auna Childress, Free State, 36-05.
Girls 4x1600 relay — 12. Emma Hertig, Anna Riley, Erin Fagan, Julia Larkin, Free State, 22:59.18.
Girls 100 hurdles prelims — 32. Abby Ogle, Baldwin, 16.74.
Girls 100 prelims— 32. Ashley Widleman, Lawrence, 12.98; 41. Courtney Fritzler, Lawrence, 13.31.
Boys 100 prelims — 35. Dalton Kellum, Perry-Lecompton, 11.52; DNS. Zach Wilson, Free State.
Girls 400 prelims — 5. Evann Seratte, Lawrence, 59.58; 16. Corinn Searcy, Tonganoxie, 1:01.60; 22. Sierra Staatz, Tonganoxie, 1:02.82.
Boys 400 prelims — 20. Shane Quinlan, Perry-Lecompton, 51.85; 30. Cole Phillips, Free State, 53.68.
Girls 300 hurdles — 16. Abby Ogle, Baldwin, 48.49.
Girls distance medley relay — 22. Emma Hertig, Ana Holladay, Julia Larkin, Bella Stull, Free State, 13:55.48.
Girls 4x100 relay prelims — 11. Ashley Wildeman, Zoe Bridges, Asjah Harris, Courtney Fritzler, Lawrence, 50.13; 24. Natalee Shepard, Corinn Searcy, Sierra Staatz, Trinity Touchton, Tonganoxie, 51.83; 36. Tavia Crowe, Cambria Crowe, Aubrey Mahaffey, Carly Lindenmeyer, Baldwin, 52.90; 40. Cameryn Thomas, Destiny Downing, Auna Childress, Ana Holloday, Free State, 53.48.
Boys 4x100 relay prelims — 29. Zach Wilson, JaBrandion Douglas, Tanner Cobb, Tyler Bowden, Free State, 44.53; 46. Shane Quinlan, Colton Mallonee, Josh LeClair, Dalton Kellum, Perry-Lecompton, 45.14; 51. Dalton Bock, Elijah Tyner, Zac Morgan, Drake Pray, Tonganoxie, 45.47; 53. Dre Bridges, Reggie Clemons, Shane Evans, Graham Hough, Lawrence, 45.52.
Girls 800 — 6. Evann Seratte, Lawrence, 2:19.72; 19. Natalie Beiter, Baldwin, 2:26.29.
Girls 4x400 relay prelims — 12. Sierra Staatz, Natalee Shepard, Mia Bond, Corinn Searcy, Tonganoxie, 4:11.62 — qualified for finals with top time in heat; 18. Abby Ogle, Natalie Beiter, Josie Boyle, Carly Lindenmeyer, Baldwin, 4:14.21; 47. Cameryn Thomas, Destiny Downing, Ana Holloday, Emma Hertig, Free State, 4:37.06.
Boys 4x400 relay prelims — 52. Drake Pray, Elijah Tyner, Dallas Bond, Lucas McCoy, Tonganoxie, 3:41.93; DQ. Shane Quinlan, Colton Mallonee, Josh LeClair, Ty Packard, Perry-Lecompton; Baldwin; DQ. Jaxon Malone, Cole Phillips, Tanner Cobb, Malachi Starr, Free State; DNS. Kade Kehl, Parker Wilson, Josh Broyles, Matt Jackson, Baldwin.