Bishop Seabury’s Henry Nelson nets third before state track meet is postponed

Henry Nelson of Bishop Seabury competes in the 800-meter run Wednesday afternoon at LHS during the Little KU Relays on April 17, 2019.

WICHITA — While junior Henry Nelson was making his state track debut, a large collection of Bishop Seabury faithful were crowded around a single laptop back at school.

Nelson’s viewing party was made up of people still hanging around BSA after graduation, a photo he saw shortly after finishing his race. Nelson certainly gave them a show, earning some hardware with a third-place finish in the Class 2A boys 3,200-meter run Friday morning at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium.

It marked Nelson’s first appearance to state, since this is the first time Bishop Seabury has had a track team in his career. The cross-country standout is the lone representative for the Seahawks, which warranted the watch party back in Lawrence.

“That was fun to know that I have people behind me back at home,” Nelson said. “Just to run in front of the massive crowd was really fun.”

But perhaps Nelson’s biggest win of the day was the fact he got to race at all.

Shortly after stepping down from the podium, Nelson headed back to his room across the street. As he settled into watch from his window — and relax — the state track meet was paused due to a weather delay.

Despite multiple attempts, the first day of the state track meet never resumed after that. Saturday’s action will begin with the 3,200-meter runs in the top three classes. The first race will begin at 7:30 a.m.

“We knew this was going to be a problem, and that’s what happened,” Nelson said. “I feel really lucky to have gotten it in. I feel bad for some of my friends at Free State.”

Yet Nelson had to deal with the repercussions of mother nature himself, as Friday’s action was delayed before an event even got underway. The 3,200-meter runs began at 10:45 a.m., which was three hours later than the original start time.

That didn’t stop Nelson from getting a bronze, however. Nelson, who was the favorite entering the 3,200-meter run in Class 2A boys based off regional times, ran a 9:56.96. That was actually over 27 seconds faster than his state qualifying mark of 10:24.29.

Still, Nelson believes he can do better than that.

“I was a little dehydrated coming in,” Nelson said. “That’s something I have been working on for awhile.”

Fortunately for Nelson, he will get the opportunity to avenge his performance — at least if mother nature cooperates.

Nelson is slated to compete in the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run on Saturday. Based off regional times, Nelson is the ninth seed in the former and the eighth seed in the latter. With one state race under his belt, though, Nelson believes he knows how to climb up the podium.

“I’m just going to leave it all out there,” Nelson said. “No regrets.”

Mallonee claims 4th

The only other area athlete to secure a medal Friday was Perry-Lecompton’s Colton Mallonee.

Mallonee notched fourth in the Class 3A boys high jump, recording a leap of 43-04.75 in the event. Based off regional marks, Mallonee was the second seed with a state-qualifying jump of 44-6.

Saturday’s scheduled altered

After multiple delays, KSHSAA eventually made the decision to postpone all remaining events to Saturday morning.

As a result, all running and field events will be using a rolling schedule during the second day of the state track meet.

Field events will begin at 8 a.m., starting with where the meet left off with the Friday schedule. There will not be a finals in any event, not including high jump and pole vault. Every event other than those two will have four trials per event.

The 3,200-meter run for the top three classes will start at 7:30 a.m. to kick things off for the running events. There will be no preliminaries for all preliminary races that were not finished Friday. Heats for every event were reseeded based off regional times, with the second heat being the fast heat in every race.

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