Firebird Venters lowers 3,200 mark

photo by: Richard Gwin

Free State High's Emily Venters runs in the girls 3,200 Friday at the 89th Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park.

When Free State High junior Emily Venters crossed the finish line in the 3,200 meters Friday at the Kansas Relays, she immediately took a peek at the scoreboard.

Venters kept a straight face as she grabbed a cup of water, but on the inside she was thrilled. She took second place and finished in 10:39.92 at Rock Chalk Park. The run broke her personal record by about 12 seconds and ranked 11th in state history.

It took a historic run to keep Venters out of first place. Shawnee Mission Northwest sophomore Molly Born won the race in 10:28.16, the fourth-fastest time in state history. It was the best time in the event since 1999.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so happy,” Venters said. “I wanted to break 10:40 so bad. I just felt really confident because Molly was pushing me the whole time. I was like, ‘Don’t let her go.’ It was really, really exciting.”

Since the end of last season, Venters has shaved more than 20 seconds off her personal-best time in the 3,200. She was state runner-up in the event last year and won a Class 6A state title in 2014. Her latest PR set a school record, moving ahead of Alysha Valencia, who ran 10:49.27 in 2006.

Venters set the pace for the first mile before Born sprinted ahead. Instead of letting Born run on her own, Venters closely followed. FSHS junior Kiran Cordes placed 10th in 11:12.46.

“I might have been able to catch her if I had more in me, but next time,” Venters said. “I’m just glad I have her to pull me along.”

It wasn’t long ago that Venters was disappointed in her progress. At last season’s state cross country meet, she finished 40 seconds behind Born.

In the offseason, Venters added 15 miles to her runs each week and began strength training.

“My attitude has just changed,” Venters said. “I’m a lot more confident. Not worried about necessarily winning, but just bettering myself, so that’s been helpful.

“Honestly, if I don’t PR again, I’ll be happy.”

Free State senior Ethan Donley, signed to run at Kansas University next year, placed second in the boys 800 in a near photo finish, running a personal-best 1:53.53.

The top three runners in the 800, including winner Kyler True of Olpe, finished within a tenth of a second. Donley’s run was the 22nd-fastest time in state history.

Another KU-bound senior, Callie Hicks, was runner-up in the girls pole vault, clearing 12 feet. She missed on three attempts at 12 feet, 6 inches, which would’ve been a personal record.

In her attempt at 12-6, the FSHS senior brought out a new pole for the first time — which is a different brand, length and weight than her other poles.

“That was definitely exciting,” Hicks said. “Just got a few things to work on in the future with that pole. Hopefully 12-6 and 13-0 will be in my range soon.”

Baldwin High senior Kelsey Kehl placed second in the girls javelin and ninth in the discus. But falling several feet short of her season averages left the recent Washington State commit disappointed.

“My technique was really off for the day, and I wasn’t getting the results I have been previously as well as what I want to be hitting,” Kehl said. “That was a bit of a bummer. But, I mean, to be here is nice. To see all of these other people that I’ll be competing against for my collegiate years and everything, it’s fun to get out here and see other girls throw.”

In the track preliminaries, Lawrence High’s girls 4×400 relay — Myah Yoder, Hannah Stewart, Evann Seratte and Kyleigh Severa — had the second-fastest time at 4:01.03. Baldwin followed in third with a 4:01.04.

LHS senior JD Woods narrowly missed qualifying for the 100-meter dash finals by placing ninth in 11.02 seconds. Seniors Trey Moore and Tayvien Robinson were 17th and 19th, respectively, in the 110 hurdles prelims.

The relays continue at 10:30 a.m. today.

LHS, FSHS, Area results


400 prelims — 16. Evann Seratte, LHS, 59.95; 27. Ellie Wilson, MV, 1:02.08; 29. Paige McDaniel, WV, 1:02.18.

3200 — 2. Emily Venters, FS, 10:39.92; 8. Addie Dick, BHS, 11:11.48; 10. Kiran Cordes, FS, 11:12.46.

100 hurdles prelims — 40. Anna Moore, McLouth, 17.81.

4×100 relay prelims — 15. Kyna Smith, Kylee Bremer, Madeline Neufeld, Carlyn Cole, BHS, 50.47; 33. Talima Harjo, Marlee Coleman, Sanders Barbee, Myah Yoder, LHS, 52.23; DQ. Cameryn Thomas, Emma Barberena, Callie Hicks, Alauna Hawkins, FS.

4×400 relay prelims — 2. Myah Yoder, Hannah Stewart, Evann Seratte, Kyleigh Severa, LHS, 4:01.03; 3. Kyna Smith, Madeline Neufeld, Abby Ogle, Carlyn Cole, BHS, 4:01.04; 22. Sierra Staatz, Corinn Searcy, Cami Timm, Mia Bond, Tongie, 4:13.07; 24. Cameryn Thomas, Destiny Downing, Alauna Hawkins, Chandler Wiggins, FS, 4:14.62.

4×1600 relay — 16. Claire Sanner, Abigail Zenger, Grace Bradshaw, Erin Liston, FS, 24:15.79.

Distance medley relay — 12. Britton Nelson, Amber Akin, Isabella Hadden, Delaney Kemp, MV, 12:49.36; 23. Emily Chambers, Hope Creten, Mia Bond, Emma Campbell, Tongie, 13:35.92.

Discus — 9. Kelsey Kehl, BHS, 129-9.

Javelin — 2. Kelsey Kehl, BHS, 137-10; 14. Kylee Bremer, BHS, 114-10; 19. Morgan Thomas, MV, 108-2; 21. Kahler Wiebe, FS, 99-4.

Triple jump — 20. Kyleigh Severa, LHS, 34-3; 21. Abbi Folks, P-L, 34-2.75; 27. Taylor Corbitt, MV, 33-0.25.

Pole vault — 2. Callie Hicks, FS, 12-00; 9. Jannell Clampitt, DSoto, 11-00.


100 prelims — 9. JD Woods, LHS, 11.02; 21. J’Mony Bryant, LHS, 11.25; 22. Ronald White, FS, 11.26; 33. Jordan Patrick, FS, 11.45; 39. Tommy Jacobs, FS, 11.57; 41. Bryce Torneden, FS, 11.65; 42. Ethan Rodriguez, DSoto, 11.70.

400 prelims — 11. Zach Strawn, WV, 50.41.

800 — 2. Ethan Donley, FS, 1:53.53; 6. Travis Hodge, DSoto, 1:56.89; 7. Derek Meeks, MV, 1:57.76.

3200 — 17. Tanner Hockenbury, FS, 9:50.26.

110 hurdles prelims — 17. Trey Moore, LHS, 15.41; 19. Tayvien Robinson, LHS, 15.48; 26. Chae Midyett, MV, 15.73; 39. Chandler Fairbanks, DSoto, 17.28.

300 hurdles — 22. Chase Midyett, MV, 41.72; 24. David Scharff, Tongie, 41.84.

4×100 relay prelims — 18. Ronald White, Jordan Patrick, Tommy Jacobs, Bryce Torneden, FS, 43.43; 26. Exavior Jackson, Ethan Rodriguez, Sam Regier, Ray Mitchell, DSoto, 44.04; 27. Colby Sirivongxay, Christian Jegen, Chase Midyett, Cole Morris, MV, 44.05; 39. Jeremy Williams, Matt Jackson, Ellis Baughan, Noah Watson, BHS, 44.91.

4×400 relay prelims –15. Nichalus Williams, JD Woods, Trey Moore, Ben Otte, LHS, 3:27.38; 19. Christian Selk, Ray Mitchell, Kason Jackson, Travis Hodge, DSoto, 3:27.98; 26. Ellis Baughan, Noah Watson, Matt Jackson, Dakota Helm, BHS, 3:30.62; 29. Ethan Donley, Nate Thomas, Jordan Patrick, Tommy Jacobs, FS, 3:30.83.

4×1600 relay — 10. Garrett Fields, Jakob Coacher, Tyler Coad, Gavin Overbeck, MV, 18:48.77; 20. Jared Hicks, Landon Sloan, Will Benkelman, Grant Holmes, FS, 19:54.92.

Distance medley relay — 10. Jacob Bailey, Noah Watson, Dakota Helm, George Letner, BHS, 10:50.43; 14. Garrett Fields, Justin Grega, Thomas Hopkins, Jakob Coacher, MV, 10:56.27; 24. Jared Hicks, Evan Schoenen, Landon Sloan, Tanner Hockenbury, FS, 11:15.84.

Discus — F. LeeRoi Johnson, Tongie.

Triple jump — 14. Dylan Staatz, Tongie, 42-6.25; 21. Colby Sirivongxay, MV, 41-4.25.