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Opening track meet serves as good barometer

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It was only the first meet of the season. Some of the top athletes didn't participate. Some people were still adjusting after Spring Break.

There are plenty of reasons that coaches don't put a lot of stock into the early meets. But that doesn't take away from some of the performances that were turned in during the Free State Invitational on Friday afternoon.

Freshman Emily Venters, who is coming off a cross country championship, ran the 1600 in 5:09.63, which is ahead of the pace from senior Bailey Sullivan's state title run of 5:12.29 last year. Sullivan ran a 5:15.53, so these two runners may end up being their best competition, similar to the results in cross country.

After Lawrence High senior Marissa Pope ran the 200 in 27.89, which is a personal-record for her, coach Jack Hood told me that she isn't fast, but instead really quick. Free State sophomore Claire Sanner also set a personal-record in the 3200, running in 11:22.12, which is well ahead of her sixth-place time of 11:35.88 at state last year.

Free State junior Gabbi Dabney posted a 15.79 in the 100-meter hurdles, which isn't far off from the 15.73 she ran during last year's seventh-place finish at the Class 6A state championships. Junior Kiara Clark ran the 300-meter hurdles in 48.13, which is a good start after her third-place finish at state last year (46.17). Another good start belonged to junior Laura Kennard, who ran the 200 in 27.08, after running it in 26.89 at state last season.

Once again, it appears Lawrence High juniors Rebecca and Matia Finley will be their best competition in the discus. They both had good distances on their throws.

On the boys side, Free State senior Trevor Hillis reached 13-6 on the pole vault, which would have been top-10 at state last year. LHS's Tae Shorter did well in the long jump, leaping 20-8.5 while senior Erik Parrish had a nice start in the triple jump (43-8) after he took fourth at state last year (44-3).

Results for the top-six finishers in each event can be found here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2014/mar/29/back-track-lhs-fshs-finally-open-season/?high_school_sports

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