Free State’s Auna Childress wins triple jump with school-record leap at Kansas Relays

Free State junior Auna Childress lands in the tripple jump at the Kansas Relays, April 19, 2019 at Rock Chalk Park.

Free State junior Auna Childress leaped for a mark of 40-foot-9 on her first attempt of the triple jump to finish in first place in the event early Friday at the 92nd running of the Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park.

“I thought it was at least like 38 (meters); it was from the 36 board,” Childress said. “As soon as I heard my coaches screaming when I looked back, I freaked out – I literally freaked out.”

All but one of Childress’s five attempts broke her personal record heading into Friday. The next closest competitor was Olathe Northwest’s Jaleesa McWashington, who leapt for a mark of 37-foot-10.5, almost 3 feet fewer than the jump by Childress.

“I know a lot of my teammates were believing in me,” Childress said. “They were like, ‘You know you can get 40 this meet.’ It feels pretty good. Last year and the year before, I didn’t even make it to finals, so it feels good to make it to finals and win. It’s incredible.”

Childress isn’t the only Firebird who might be coming home with some hardware. Malachi Starr advanced to the finals in the 400-meter dash with a fourth overall finish in the prelims, shaving more than a second off his seeded time of 51.28 to qualify at 49.79.

The Firebirds’ distance runners continued to be consistent. Free State’s girl’s 4-x-1600 relay team of Ella Marshall, Erin Liston, Mackenzie Thomas and Erin Fagan finished 14th to start the day with a time of 23:33. In the same race, the boy’s team of Brock Cordova, Charlie Johnson, John Loos, and Ethan Sharp finished 11th with a time of 19:04.

LHS advances two relay teams to Saturday

Sometimes Evann Seratte – the anchor to LHS’s 4-x-400-meter relay team – doesn’t even think about the handoff.

“It’s always a little bit of a blur,” Seratte said.

Soon after taking the baton from senior Asjah Harris, Seratte, who is a Kansas track and field commit, passed the next two runners to advance the Lions’ second relay team to Saturday’s finals. Seratte ran a final lap of 58.94 seconds to automatically qualify the Lions’ team of Ozi Ajekwu and Hannah Stewart with a total time of 4:06.37. The Lions’ time put them at sixth overall.

“My strategy in the 400 might be a little unorthodox, but it’s to go hard the whole time,” Seratte said. “I knew I wanted to get past her right away, and I knew if I could get it in my stride and pass into first right before the curve, I knew it would put me in a good spot to come home.”

Earlier in the day, Ashley Wildeman and Lawrence’s 4-x-100 meter relay team with Amaya Harris, Bella Kirkwood and Asjah Harris advanced to the finals on Saturday as well. The four won their heat with a time of 49.35 that put them fourth overall.

Chisom Ajekwu made her way into the finals of the shot put, finishing in eighth place with a mark of 39-foot-7.5.

“Everyone on our team is really competitive,” Wildeman said. “We always try to beat each other in practice. We really push hard every single day to get where we are and everyone’s really proud to be here.”

Area athletes represent

Baldwin senior Kayla Kurtz opened the day with an appearance in the finals of the javelin, taking seventh overall with a throw of 131-foot-8 on her fourth attempt. Freshman Jana Landreth was the only area athlete to compete in the steeplechase, and Baldwin’s girl’s 4-x-400 meter team of Josie Boyle, Natalie Beiter, Isabelle Harvey, Carly Lindenmeyer finished 16th with a time of 4:09.42.

Cole Sample represented the Tonganoxie Chieftains with a 155-foot-3 throw in the discus, but missed the finals by just 3 feet and finished 11th overall. Senior Corrin Searcy raced for a time of 1:03.4 in the 400-meter dash and took 31st overall.

Perry-Lecompton’s Shane Quinlan nearly advanced to the finals of the 400-meter dash. Quinlan raced for a time of 51.05 to finish second in his heat, but his time didn’t hold up for a qualifying time in the finals, 0.11 of a second away from racing on Saturday.

Eudora’s Caleb Zimmerman took 21st in the 110-meter hurdles prelims with a time of 15.47.


Day 1 of 2 at Rock Chalk Park

Area results


Shot put: 8. Chisom Ajekwu, Lawrence, 39-foot-7.75.

Javelin: 7. Kayla Kurtz, Baldwin, 131-foot-8; 16. Amaya Harris, Lawrence, 121-foot-8.

Triple jump: 1. Auna Childress, Free State, 40-foot-9.

4-x-1600-meter relay: 13. Free State (Ella Marshall, Erin Liston, Mackenzie Thomas, Erin Fagan), 23:33.

100-meter hurdles prelims: 40. Carly Lindenmeyer, Baldwin, 17.01.

100-meter dash prelims: 15. Asjah Harris, Lawrence, 12.45.

400-meter dash prelims: 31. Corinn Searcy, Tonganoxie, 1:03.4.

3200-meter run: 16. Julia Larkin, Free State, 11:45; 20. Erin Fagan, Free State, 11:59.

Distance medley relay: 17. Free State (Ella Marshall, Emma Hertig, Emily Stone, Anna Riley), 13:35.

4-x-100-meter relay prelims: 6. Lawrence (Ashley Wildeman, Amaya Harris, Bella Kirkwood, Asjah Harris), 49.35Q; 58. Free State (Ana Holladay, Laila Robinson, Lauren Sinclair, Ta’Mya Douglas), 53.92; DNF. Baldwin (Nikki Morgan, Aubrey Mahaffey, Isabelle Harvey, Anna Burnett).

800-meter run: 32. Natalie Beiter, Baldwin, 2:29

2000-meter steeplechase: 11. Jana Landreth, Baldwin, 8:26.

4-x-400-meter relay prelims: 5. Lawrence (Ozi Ajekwu, Hannah Stewart, Asjah Harris, Evann Seratte), 4:06.37Q; 16. Baldwin (Josie Boyle, Natalie Beiter, Isabelle Harvey, Carly Lindenmeyer), 4:09.42; 50. Free State (Emily Stone, Samantha Whittlesey, Emma Hertig, Ta’Mya Douglas), 4:26.03.


Pole vault: NH. Declan Oberzan, Lawrence, no height.

Discus: 11. Cole Sample, Tonganoxie, 155-foot-3; 19. Bryce Tibke, Lawrence, 133-foot-8.

4-x-1600-meter relay: 11. Free State (Brock Cordova, Charlie Johnson, John Loos, Ethan Sharp), 19:04.

110-meter hurdles prelims: 21. Caleb Zimmerman, Eudora, 15.47.

100-meter dash prelims: 13. Graham Hough, Lawrence, 10.96; 27. Matt Jackson, Baldwin, 11.14; 36. Dre Bridges, Lawrence, 11.31; DNS. JaBrandion Douglas, Free State.

400-meter dash prelims: 4. Malachi Starr, Free State, 49.79q; 10. Shane Quinlan, Perry-Lecompton, 51.05. 32. Cole Phillips, Free State, 56.41.

4-x-100-meter relay prelims: 20. Free State (LJ Mack, Cole Phillips, Tyler Bowden, Malachi Starr), 43.70; 35. Lawrence, (Avion Nelson, Chris McGee, Graham Hough, Dre Bridges), 44.80.

800-meter run: 23. Jack Keathley-Helms, Free State, 2:02.39.

4-x-400-meter relay prelims: 31. Free State (Tyler Bowden, Cole Phillips, Malachi Starr, Ja’Brandion Douglas), 3:31.49; 53. Lawrence (Graham Hough, Trey Hulse, Avion Nelson, Colby Otting), 3:40.55.


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