LHS girls track continues prolific postseason with regional title

Lawrence High senior Josie Hickerson competes in pole vault during the 6A regional meet Friday afternoon at FSHS on May 17, 2019.

Before she even competed in Friday’s regional meet, Lawrence High senior Josie Hickerson knew she was going to qualify for the state track meet in triple jump. After all, history was on her side.

In last year’s regional meet, Hickerson placed fifth in triple jump to just miss out on qualifying for the state meet in that event. Rather than get discouraged, though, Hickerson elected to use her career path in her only other event as an example.

As a sophomore, Hickerson actually placed fifth at regionals in pole vault and then proceeded to notch a runner-up finish at state the following year. In her final season, Hickerson will be going to the 6A state track meet in both events after claiming second in pole vault and triple jump at the regional meet at Free State High School.

“When that happened last year, I knew I could work hard and do the same thing that I did in pole vault,” Hickerson said. “Since this is my second year in triple jump, we were able to refine some of my form in the first phase. That way I can carry my momentum in my jump, and that really helped.”

That kind of mindset led the Lawrence High girls track team to another first-place finish this postseason. The Lions, who are the defending 6A state champs, have now won the Sunflower League meet and the regional meet in 2019.

As a team, Lawrence scored 155 points to finish 50 points higher than runner-up Gardner-Edgerton. Free State, meanwhile, placed fourth out of nine teams.

“We have a good chance at defending our title,” Hickerson said. “We need to get as many girls on the podium as we can. We are going to have to work for it, but I think we have a good shot.”

At regionals, Hickerson was one of three LHS athletes to qualify in multiple individual races. She was joined by seniors Hannah Stewart and Evann Seratte. Stewart qualified in the 1,600-meter run and 800-meter run, while Seratte made it in the 800-meter run and 400-meter run.

Ozi Ajekwu (400-meter run), Asjah Harris (200-meter run), Bella Kirkwood (200-meter run), Amaya Harris (javelin) and Tracy Allen (discus) all qualified as individuals as well. The Lions will also be sending all three relay teams, which included first-place finishes from the 4×400-meter relay and 4×100-meter relay.

Lawrence High sophomore Bella Kirkwood competes runs during the regional meet Friday afternoon at FSHS on May 17, 2019.

But for Hickerson, it wasn’t her best day — at least not by her lofty standards. Hickerson, a Washburn signee, only cleared 11-foot-0 in pole vault to claim runner-up. She battled nerves on the runway in her three attempts for 11-foot-6, though Hickerson is just a couple weeks removed from clearing 12-foot-0 for a school record.

Even though she qualified in triple jump, Hickerson was still short of her personal-best leap. She recorded a jump of 34-06.75 to take second place, finishing behind Free State’s Auna Childress, who won the event with a leap of 40-06.00.

“I’m definitely motivated for next week, I’m getting all the jitters out this week so I can do good next week,” Hickerson said. “I need to keep calm, not let my emotions or adrenaline take a hold of me.”

Childress was the lone Firebird to earn a state berth in multiple individual events. She won both the long jump and triple jump at regionals to continue her stellar season. Julia Larkin (3,200), Liliana King-Wilson (300 hurdles), Haley Hippe (discus), Laila Robinson (high jump) and Mariah Reed (high jump) all finished in the top-four of their respective events.

In addition, Free State’s 4×800-meter relay team netted a trip to the state meet.

FSHS freshman thrives in photo-finish relay

Neither city boys team netted a medal, but a number of athletes are headed to the 6A state track meet in Wichita next weekend.

Freshman Jack Keathley-Helms stole the show in what turned out to be an extremely close 4×800-meter relay. When Keathley-Helms got the baton as the anchor, the Firebirds were in fifth place out of as many teams.

At that moment, he thought of a message from his parents.

“I got the baton and everyone else was gone,” Keathley-Helms said. “I remember my parents saying if I want a sub-2:00, then I have to go all out for the first 400. I thought, why not get the lead and build a little cushion.”

Keathley-Helms turned on the jets in the first lap, and fought off multiple runners on the second lap. He got below the two-minute mark for his split, running a 1:58 to help the Firebirds claim second in the event.

Free State’s quartet of Brock Cordova, Ethan Sharp, Ben Shryock and Keathley-Helms ran a personal-best time of 8:09.34 to qualify for the 6A state tournament. Washburn Rural won the race with an 8:09.30, though Gardner-Edgerton was third with an 8:09.57. Manhattan came in fourth with an 8:10.28, while Wichita East was the lone team to miss the cut with an 8:11.40.

“That last 100, when three guys are perpendicular in a line, I just saw a ‘M’ out of the corner of my eye,” Keathley-Helms said. “I just thought I had to go faster now, I didn’t want to lose again.”

Keathley-Helms paced the first lap of his 800-meter run, but he ultimately finished fifth with a time of 2:02.21. The MHS runner who came in fourth ran a time of 2:02.06.

But Keathley-Helms was preserving his energy, knowing he had to serve as the first leg of the 4×400-meter relay to close out the regional meet. Free State’s relay team of Tyler Bowden, Cole Phillips, Malachi Starr and Keathley-Helms notched a state berth with a time of 3:25.52 to take second

Keathley-Helms, who actually started competing in the 4×400 at the Sunflower League meet, was happy to help a pair of relay squads earn a trip to Wichita.

“I’m not doing it for myself, I’m doing it for the seniors,” Keathley-Helms said. “This is their last chance to go to state, I just want to help the team overall.”

Free State finished fifth as a team, which was just enough to edge out Lawrence High. The Firebirds scored 59 points, while the Lions came in sixth with 58 points. Gardner-Edgerton won the boys competition with 138 points.

All three of Free State’s relays recorded qualifying times at the regional meet. Charlie Johnson (3,200-meter run), Cole Wenger (110 hurdles), Malachi Starr (400-meter run) and Tyler Bowden (200-meter run) will be going as individuals as well.

Lawrence did not qualify a relay race, but six individuals did enough to advance to the final week of the season. Avion Nelson won the long jump competition for the team’s only victory. Graham Hough netted top-four times in both the 100-meter run and 200-meter run. Bryce Tibke is also going to state in multiple events, notching a top-four finish in shot put and discus.

AJ Powell (javelin), Declan Oberzan (pole vault) and Dre Bridges (100-meter run) all qualified for the state tournament for LHS.

6A Regional track meet

Friday at Free State High School

Girls team scores: 1. Lawrence 155; 2. Gardner-Edgerton 105; 3. Manhattan 81; 4. Free State

58; 5.Junction City 50; 6. Wichita East 49; 7. Washburn Rural 46; 8. Topeka High 11; 9. Wichita North 3.

Girls results

(Top four in each event qualified for state)

3,200-meter run: 1. Clara Mayfield, MHS, 11:27.69; 2. Julia Larkin, FS, 11:38.33; 7. Erin Fagan, FS, 12:33.01; 12. Erin Liston, FS, 13:15.31; 13. Layne Prescott, LHS, 13:36.69; 14. Madison DeWitt, LHS, 13:55.43.

4×800-meter relay: 1. Manhattan, 10:02.32; 2. Lawrence (Hannah Stewart, Evann Seratte, Jayden Wilson, Sophie DeWitt), 10:06.52; 3. Free State (Anna Riley, Ella Marshall, Mackenzie Thomas, Emma Hertig), 10:13.19

100-meter dash: 1. Kendra Wait, GE, 12.04; 2. Asjah Harris, LHS, 12.09; 3. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 12.75.

1,600-meter run: 1. Clara Mayfield, MHS, 5:12.92; 3. Hannah Stewart, LHS, 5:16.46; 6. Sophie DeWitt, LHS, 5:52.06; 8. Emily Stone, FS, 6:00.15; 9. Delaney Rockers, FS, 6:02.82; 10. Isabella Stull, FS, 6:09.23.

4×100-meter relay: 1. Lawrence (Ashley Wildeman, Amaya Harris, Bella Kirkwood, Asjah Harris), 48.12; 8. Free State (Anna Holladay, Laila Robinson, Lauren Sinclair, Ta’Mya Douglas), 52.93.

400-meter dash: 1. Kyle Moorehouse, GE, 1:00.01; 2. Evann Seratte, LHS, 1:00.49; 3. Ozi Ajekwu, LHS, 1:01.45; 5. Brenna Schwada, LHS, 1:01.62; 6. Emma Hertig, FS, 1:02.78;

300-meter hurdles: 1. Keina Newman, JC, 46.94; 4. Liliana King-Wilson, FS, 48.69; 11. Caitlin McAndrew-Beckman, FS, 53.01; 13. Sydney Johnston, FS, 54.33.

800-meter run: 1. Jaybe Shufelberger, WR, 2:18.38; 3. Hannah Stewart, LHS, 2:19.08; 4. Evann Seratte, LHS, 2:19.09; 8. Ella Marshall, FS, 2:32.68; 11. Emily Stone, FS, 2:36.50; 12. Mackenzie Thomas, FS, 2:38.54; 13. Jayden Wilson, LHS, 2:39.86;

200-meter run: 1. Asjah Harris, LHS, 25.15; 3. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 26.05; 5. Ashley Wildeman, LHS, 26.21; 14. Lauren Sinclair, FS, 29.46.

4×400-meter relay: 1. Lawrence (Ozi Ajekwu, Hannah Stewart, Asjah Harris, Evann Seratte), 4:06.83; 5. Free State (Ana Holladay, Samantha Whittlesey, Ta’Mya Douglas, Emma Hertig), 4:18.33.

Shot put: 1. Kendra Wait, GE, 42-07.00; 5. Chisom Ajekwu, LHS, 39-06.00; 6. Krissy Howard, LHS, 38-04.00; 8. Abigail LaTessa, LHS, 33-07.00; 16. Hope Wheeler-Halstead, FS, 27-06.00; 17. Katelin Hollinshed, FS, 27-05.00; 18. Sydney Martins, FS, 27-04.50.

Discus: 1. Jamila Love, WE, 112-01; 2. Haley Hippe, FS, 109-05; 3. Tracy Allen, LHS, 105-05; 5. Ella Stewart, LHS, 104-10.50; 11. Kala Ewing, FS, 94-00; 13. Jessica Vassar, LHS, 92-11; 15. Hope Wheeler-Halstead, FS, 74-10.50.

Javelin: 1. Amaya Harris, LHS, 138-09; 7. Michaela Cordova, LHS, 122-06; 13. Haley Hippe, FS, 105-04; 14. Jordyn Garcia, LHS, 105-02; 15. Kiara Jadlow, FS, 100-06; 16. Haylee Kern, FS, 95-02.

High jump: 1. Bonnie Hegarty, MHS, 5-02.00; 2. Laila Robinson, FS, 5-00; 3. Mariah Reed, LHS, 5-00.00; 6. Liliana King-Wilson, 4-10.00.

Long jump: 1. Auna Childress, FS, 18-03.00; 2. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 17-08.00; 3. Brenna Schwada, LHS, 17-03.00; 5. Ashley Wildeman, LHS, 16-09.00;

Triple jump: 1. Auna Childress, FS. 40-06.00; 2. Josie Hickerson, LHS, 34-06.75.

Pole vault: 1. Kendra Wait, GE, 11-06.00; 2. Josie Hickerson, LHS, 11-00; 5. Caroline Dunlap, LHS, 10-00.00; 8. Ilaria Nichelatti, LHS, 9-06.00; 9. Liliana King-Wilson, FS, 9-00.00; 12. Nia Hughes, FS, 9-00.00; 13. Brooke Wright, FS, 8-06.00.

Boys team scores: 1. Gardner-Edgerton 138; 2. Manhattan 100; 3. Washburn Rural 99; 4. Junction City 65; 5. Free State 59; 6. Lawrence 58; 7. Wichita East 16; 8. Topeka High 13; 9. Wichita North 9.

Boys results

(Top four in each event qualified for state)

3,200-meter run: 1. Trenton Cochran, GE, 9:46.43; 3. Charlie Johnson, FS, 9:48.15; 5. Ben Shryock, FS, 9:54.41; 9. Ethan Sharp, FS, 10:22.82; 12. Jack Ryan, LHS, 10:29.30.

110 hurdles: 1. Marquel Russell, WR, 14.96; 4. Cole Wenger, FS, 16.04; 6. Yoav Gillath, FS, 17.56.

4×800-meter relay: 1. Washburn Rural, 8:09.30; 2. Free State (Brock Cordova, Ethan Sharp, Ben Shryock, Jack Keathley-Helms), 8:09.34.

100-meter run: 1. Jaylen Carter, WR, 10.88; 2. Dre Bridges, LHS, 10.92; 4. Graham Hough, LHS, 10.96; 5. Ja’Brandian Douglas, FS, 10.98; 8. Tyler Bowden, FS, 11.11.

1,600-meter run: 1. Dan Harkin, MHS, 4:31.66; 8. John Loos, FS, 4:48.31; 10. Jack Ryan, LHS, 4:49.55; 11. Christopher Stone, FS, 4:51.06; 14. Dash Spears, FS, 4:58.00; 18. Connor Bewley, LHS, 5:22.33; 19. Aaron Reed, LHS, 5:32.35.

4×100-meter run: 1. Gardner-Edgerton, 42.91; 2. Free State (Cole Phillips, Ja’Brandion Douglas, Tyler Bowden, Malachi Starr), 43.06; 5. Lawrence (Graham Hough, Deshon Lewis, Chris McGee, Avion Nelson), 43.41.

400-meter run: 1. Malachi Starr, FS, 50.43; 12. Cole Phillips, FS, 55.72; 14. Jacobee Williams, FS, 56.43; 15. Jokoby Masters, LHS, 56.45.

300-meter hurdles: 1. Teven McKelvey, GE, 42.10; 10. Yoav Gillath, FS, 45.15; 11. Cole Wenger, FS, 45.29.

800-meter run: 1. Juan Tovar, JC, 2:00.28; 5. Jack Keathley-Helms, FS, 2:02.21; 8. Brock Cordova, FS, 2:04.72; 18. Trevor Johnson, LHS, 2:20.49; 19. Connor Bewley, LHS, 2:21.95; 20. Aaron Reed, LHS, 2:23.90.

200-meter run: 1. Sae-Vheon Alcorn, GE, 21.99; 2. Tyler Bowden, FS, 22.28; 3. Graham Hough, LHS, 22.44; 5. Dre Bridges, LHS, 22.90; 7. Ja’Brandion Douglas, FS, 23.63.

4×400-meter relay: 1. Gardner-Edgerton, 3:25.27; 2. Free State (Tyler Bowden, Cole Phillips, Jack Keathley-Helms, Malachi Starr), 3:25.52; 7. Lawrence (Graham Hough, Trey hulse, Colby Otting, Dre Bridges), 3:36.76.

Shot put: 3. Bryce Tibke, LHS, 49-01.50; 13. Dylan Gillespie, LHS, 40-05.50; 14. Conner Liakos, LHS, 39-09.00; 15. Zachary Rasys, FS, 38-00.00; 17. Williams Byers, FS, 37-10.00.

Discus: 1. Darius O’Connell, MHS, 54-02.00; 3. Bryce Tibke, LHS, 138-09; 10. Dylan Gillespie, LHS, 124-03.50; 13. Christian Jones, FS, 101-00; 15. Devon Buck, FS, 97-11.50.

Long jump: 1. Avion Nelson, LHS, 21-02.00; 5. Chris McGee, LHS, 20-02.00; 11. Ntense Obono, LHS, 18-07.00.

Javelin: 1. Sam Hankins, MHS, 213-00; 4. AJ Powell, LHS, 176-05; 7. Ben Miller, FS, 163-09; 8. Ben King, LHS, 158-11; 10. Zachary Pitts, FS, 157-06; 14. Titus Birdashaw, FS, 139-11; 17. David Obadare, LHS, 117-05.

Triple jump: 1. Teven McKelvey, GE, 44-06.00; 5. Avion Nelson, LHS, 42-05.50; 7. Chris McGee, LHS, 41-09.25; 16. Ntense Obono, LHS, 37-10.00.

Pole vault: 1. Colton Goodman, GE, 13-06.00; 3. Declan Oberzan, LHS, 13-00.00; 8. Carnell Douglas, FS, 12-00.00.

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