FSHS distance squad off to strong start this track season after winning cross-country state title

photo by: Shane Jackson

Free State distance runners Ethan Sharp (right) and Brock Cordova (left) finish out the 800-meter run during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

In the final lap, the boys 1,600-meter run at Lawrence High’s track and field quadrangular turned into a two-man race for first place — between Free State’s Brock Cordova and his teammate Ethan Sharp.

They both leapfrogged an Olathe East runner who had been leading for much of the race. And after they passed him, they were in high gear and were really only competing against each other.

“That’s the general plan,” Cordova said of the strong finish. “Once you are in the final stages of the race, you just have to give it all you got.”

It was Cordova who came out on top, posting a time of 4:39.77. Sharp came in right behind him with a 4:40.31.

But the 1,600-meter run wasn’t the only event where those Firebirds had an exciting finish. Later in the meet, Sharp and Cordova claimed the top two spots in the boys 800-meter run. This time, it was Sharp who passed Cordova in the home stretch, winning with a time of 2:04.98. Cordova finished as the runner-up with a mark of 2:05.36.

“Awesome running with teammates like that, just having people to push you,” Sharp said. “It was really cool. Brock and I have run together for five years now and been best friends for a while. It’s really cool running with teammates and friends.”

photo by: Shane Jackson

Free State runners Brock Cordova and Ethan Sharp compete in the 1,600-meter run during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

Cordova, Sharp and the rest of the FSHS distance squad led the Firebirds to a runner-up finish in the meet. The Firebirds scored 94.5 points as a team. Olathe East won the boys division with 131 points; the Lawrence High boys took third with 70.5 points.

On the girls side, Olathe East earned the team victory with 104 points. Lawrence claimed runner-up with 82 points, and FSHS scored 77 points to take third.

The success of Free State’s distance team should come as no surprise, since many of the contributors helped the Firebirds win their first state title in boys cross-country last October. It’s given them confidence in what they could accomplish come May, when they will compete in the Class 6A state track meet.

“I think it builds a lot of confidence,” Sharp said. “We are all gunning for a state championship now that we know it is possible.”

“It’s really just been a culmination of what we have been working on,” Cordova added. “We’ve just been working on it for a very long time, and I think we are just seeing what we can do now.”

For now, most members of Free State’s distance team are trying out different events to figure out what they are best at.

photo by: Shane Jackson

Free State’s Ben Shryock competes in the 3,200-meter run during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

FSHS Ben Shryock won the boys 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:43.98, and teammates Christopher Stone (second) and Jack Keathley-Helms (third) were right behind him. Carson Marsh came in fifth in that same race. All four of those athletes were key members of the state champion cross-country team.

The Firebirds are also optimistic about their 4×800-meter relay team, which posted a winning time of 8:22.33 at Friday’s meet.

Whatever happens, Free State’s distance crew plans to make the most of its spring season.

“I just want to see us compete the best we can each meet,” Cordova said.

Despite injury, FSHS hurdler wins debut event

In the first and only event of her high school career so far, Free State sophomore Marrah Spriggs secured an individual victory on Friday.

Spriggs, who is working through a hamstring injury, placed first in the girls 100 hurdles with a time of 17.33. She passed Amauri Blake of Olathe East midway through the race and won by less than a full second.

“There (are) definitely some things I can work on,” Spriggs said. “It’s my first meet back since hurting my hamstring, so it feels good to be back in it. And I know what I can improve on.”

Spriggs had no chance to compete in track as a freshman because the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the 2020 sports seasons. And she had to wait an additional week to make her debut this year. She injured her right hamstring on the second day of practice, which sidelined her for the Early Bird Invite at FSHS earlier this season.

“Track is my favorite event and I’m so excited to get back in it,” Spriggs said. “Hurting myself right away was mentally exhausting, but getting back is fun.”

Spriggs hopes she’ll also be able to compete in the 300-meter hurdles by the next meet, which will take place at William Chrisman High School next Thursday. But she prefers the 100 hurdles, and she was thankful to be able to do her favorite event.

Looking forward, Spriggs hopes to build on her success and to qualify for the state track meet by the end of the year.

“I want to go to state,” Spriggs said. “I want to have really big competition and just feel pushed and get better as an athlete.”

photo by: Shane Jackson

Free State sophomore Marrah Spriggs competes in the 100 hurdles during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

LHS sprinter earns 2 individual victories

Lawrence High senior sprinter Graham Hough earned two individual victories in the 2021 home opener.

Hough posted a winning time of 10.99 in the boys 100-meter dash, and he later won the 200-meter dash with a mark of 22.59. This is Hough’s first action of the season — he didn’t compete in the Early Bird Invite at FSHS.

“It is a good place to start for me,” Hough said. “But there is also a lot of room for improvement.”

Hough is also the anchor of two relay squads, both of which were in action on Friday. Zeric Avery, Avion Nelson, Colin Sandefur and Hough placed second in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 44.84. And Kyle Watson, Avery, Sandefur and Hough took second in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:44.62.

Hough has confidence that both relay teams will hit their stride later in the season.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Hough said. “They have a lot of heart and want-to. They are some fast guys.”

As for Hough, he has his sights set on finding the top of the podium at the state track meet come May.

Hough placed fifth at the state meet two years ago in the 100-meter dash, which left him wanting more. As a result, he’s putting in the extra work during his final season on the track before playing college football at Pittsburg State University next year.

“It is pretty meaningful to me,” Hough said. “It is my last hurrah; I just want to give it my all.”

photo by: Shane Jackson

Lawrence High senior Graham Hough finishes off the 100-meter run during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

Other winners

There were plenty of other winners from both Lawrence High and Free State at the windy Friday afternoon meet.

Lawrence’s Brenna Schwada won multiple individual events. She finished first in the girls 200-meter run with a time of 26.33 and won the girls long jump competition with a leap of 17-01.50.

Schwada was also on the winning 4×400-meter relay squad, along with Gianna Cooper, Destiny Savannah and Siana King. They posted a time of 4:19.39.

Free State, meanwhile, picked up four more event victories. Alannah Lohfeld won the girls 400-meter run with a time of 1:10.73, and Isabelle Pro was victorious in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:38.01.

Reese Hulcher won the girls high jump for the second meet in a row by clearing 5-04.00. And Makenzie Vaughn placed first in the girls pole vault competition by clearing 10-00.00.

photo by: Shane Jackson

Lawrence High’s Brenna Schwada finishes out the 200-meter run during the LHS quadrangular Friday afternoon on April 2, 2021.

Lawrence High quadrangular

Friday at LHS

Girls team scores: 1. Olathe East 104; 2. Lawrence 82; 3. Free State 77; 4. Bishop Seabury 11.

Boys team scores: 1. Olathe East 131; 2. Free State 94.5; 3. Lawrence 70.5; 4. Bishop Seabury 2.

Local results (top-10 finishes) for Lawrence, Free State and Bishop Seabury

Girls 100: 2. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 12.93; 3. Siana King, LHS, 13.01; 5. Lauren Sinclair, FSHS, 13.53; 7. Taniyah Cox, FSHS, 13.66; 9. Jaylie Hohman, LHS, 13.78.

Boys 100: 1. Graham Hough, LHS, 10.99; 5. Anthony Barberena, FSHS, 11.50; 6. Logan Schwab, FSHS, 11.52; 7. Emmett Jones, FSHS, 11.56; 9. Avion Nelson, 11.69; 10. Harrison Hartzler, BSA, 11.73.

Girls 200: 1. Brenna Schwada, LHS, 26.33; 3. Siana King, LHS, 27.23; 4. Gianna Cooper, LHS, 27.78; 5. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 28.07; 6. Jaylie Hohman, LHS, 28.27; 7. Ivori Jones, LHS, 28.33; 10. Mattie Smith, FSHS, 28.98.

Boys 200: 1. Graham Hough, LHS, 22.59; 4. Harrison Hartzler, BSA, 24.08; 5. Jaylon Didde, LHS, 24.20; 6. Quez Lee, FSHS, 24.36; 8. Kyle Watson, LHS, 24.90; 9. Sam Sedo, LHS, 25.20; 10. Hudson Schuckman, FSHS 25.58.

Girls 400: 1. Alannah Lohfeld, FS, 1:10.73; 2. Hannah Motsinger, BSA, 1:11.35; 3. Grace Harader-Ellett, LHS, 1:12.48; 4. Ava Rivera, FSHS, 1:14.90; 5. Campbell Helling, BSA, 1:15.59; 6. Annabelle Hurst, FSHS, 1:18.13; 7. Olivia Jaramillo, FSHS, 1:25.15.

Boys 400: 2. Colin Sandefur, LHS, 55.97; 4. Kyle Watson, LHS, 56.56; 5. Quez Lee, FSHS, 59.64; 6. Jamie King, FSHS, 1:01.35; 7. Connor Ireland, LHS, 1:01.45; 8. Hudson Schuckman, FSHS, 1:01.99; 10. Kaidon Cordes, FSHS, 1:06.23.

Girls 800: 2. Isabelle Pro, FSHS, 2:33.63; 3. Delaney Rockers, FSHS, 2:37.23; 6. Harper Merrill, FSHS, 2:42.08; 8. Ella Marshall, FSHS, 2:50.26; 9. Allison Babbit, FSHS, 2:52.55.

Boys 800: 1. Ethan Sharp, FSHS, 2:04.98; 2. Brock Cordova, FSHS, 2:05.36; 6. Jesse Self, LHS, 2:13.56; 9. Devon Bontrager, FSHS, 2:18.28; 10. Jake Loos, FSHS, 2:19.01.

Girls 1600: 1. Isabelle Pro, FSHS, 5:38.01; 2. Natalie Kennedy, LHS, 5:49.39; 3. Oona Nelson, BSA, 5:50.52; 4. Delaney Rockers, FSHS, 6:03.88; 5. Allison Babbit, FSHS, 6:08.97; 6. Olivia Goeser, FSHS, 6:10.28; 7. Lucy Hardy, LHS, 6:15.14; 8. Maddie DeWitt, LHS, 6:25.68; 10. Eva Ackley, LHS, 6:39.46.

Boys 1600: 1. Brock Cordova, FSHS, 4:39.77; 2. Ethan Sharp, FSHS, 4:40.31; 6. Jack Ryan, LHS, 5:02.81; 7. Arlo Paden, LHS, 5:03.28; 8. Jake Loos, FSHS, 5:03.29; 9. Jesse Self, LHS, 5:15.24; 10. Keat Prescott, LHS, 5:27.03.

Girls 3200: 2. Natalie Kennedy, LHS, 12:26.44; 3. Oona Nelson, BSA, 12:28.61; 5. Sina Boerger, FSHS, 13:21.98; 6. Maddie DeWitt, LHS, 13:50.55; 7. Janice Werth, FSHS, 14:02.94; 8. Eva Ackley, LHS, 14:45.80.

Boys 3200: 1. Ben Shryock, FSHS, 9:43.98; 2. Christopher Stone, FSHS, 10:13.53; 3. Jack Keathley-Helms, FSHS, 10:19.53; 5. Carson Marsh, FSHS, 10:55.37; 7. Blake Wohler, FSHS, 10:59.95; 8. Arlo Paden, LHS, 11:00.96; 9. Jack Ryan, LHS, 11:08.32; 10. Ryan Whittlesey, FSHS, 11:20.71.

Girls 100 hurdles: 1. Marrah Spriggs, FSHS, 17.33; 4. Joan Epian, LHS, 19.85; 6. Imoleayomitan Okosun, LHS, 21.60; 7. Anivea Douglas, LHS, 22.15.

Boys 110 hurdles: 2. Cole Wenger, FSHS, 16.11; 5. Yoav Gillath, FSHS, 17.44; 6. Van Hutchins, LHS, 21.63; 7. Isaac Outka, LHS, 25.29.

Girls 300 hurdles: 3. Joan Epian, LHS, 54.79; 4. Mattie Smith, FSHS, 56.42.

Boys 300 hurdles: 2. Cole Wenger, FSHS, 44.84; 3. Yoav Gillath, FSHS, 45.35; 5. Thomas Henderson, FSHS, 49.27; 6. Isaac Outka, LHS, 52.64.

Girls 4×100-meter relay (top-three): 2. Lawrence (Bella Kirkwood, Brenna Schwada, Siana King, Destiny Savannah), 52.10; 3. Free State (Ana Holladay, Lauren Sinclair, Ashley Mai, Makenzie Vaughn), 54.54.

Boy 4×100-meter relay (top-three): 2. Lawrence High (Zeric Avery, Avion Nelson, Graham Hough, Colin Sandefur), 44.84; 3. Free State (Logan Schwab, Emmett Jones, Ebuka Ennyinnaya, Jamie King), 46.30.

Girls 4×400-meter relay (top-three): 1. Lawrence (Gianna Cooper, Destiny Savannah, Brenna Schwada, Siana King), 4:19.39; 3. Free State (Taniyah Cox, Miah Cheatham, Samantha Whittlesey, Makenzie Vaughn), 4:34.61.

Boys 4×400-meter relay: 2. Lawrence High (Zeric Avery, Colin Sandefur, Graham Hough, Kyle Watson), 3:44.62; 3. Free State, 3:45.46.

Girls 4×800-meter relay: 2. Lawrence (Maddie DeWitt, Cyrenity Hardy, Lucy Hardy, Natalie Kennedy), 11:12.71; 3. Free State, 11:27.30.

Boys 4×800-meter relay: 1. Free State, 8:22.33; 3. Lawrence High (Winton Anderson, Arlo Paden, Jack Ryan, Jesse Self), 9:15.92.

Girls high jump: 1. Reese Hulcher, FSHS, 5-04.00; 2. Mariah Reed, LHS, 5-02.00; 3. Aubrey Duncan, FSHS, 4-04.00; 4. Olivia Roderick, FSHS, J4-04.00.

Boys high jump: 2. Ntense Obono, LHS, 5-10.00; 4. Colin Sandefur, LHS, 5-04.00; 5. Jakub Jezak, FSHS, 5-02.00; 6. Yoav Gillath, FSHS, 5-00.00; 6. Parker Hippe, FSHS, 5-00.00.

Girls pole vault: 1. Makenzie Vaughn, FSHS, 10-00.00; 2. Ashley Mai, FSHS, 9-06.00; 3. Avery Qualseth, FSHS, 8-00.00; 3. Chaney Finkeldei, FSHS, 8-00.00; 5. Caroline Dunlap, LHS, J8-00.00.

Boys pole vault: 2. Cooper Stone, FSHS, 11-00.00; 3. Zachary Razak, LHS, 9-06.00; 3. Logan Schwab, FSHS, 9-06.00; 5. Tim Huffman, FSHS, J9-06.00.

Girls long jump: 1. Brenna Schwada, LHS, 17-01.50; 2. Bella Kirkwood, LHS, 16-08.50; 3. Gianna Cooper, LHS, 15-04.50; 5. Miri Pickman, LHS, 14-09.50; 6. Destiny Savannah, LHS, 14-05.00; 8. Imoleayomitan Okosun, LHS, 13-09.00; 9. Anna Johnson, BSA, 13-08.00; 10. Emma Evans, 13-01.00.

Boys long jump: 1. Avion Nelson, LHS, 21-02.00; 5. Ntense Obono, LHS, 19-05.50; 6. Jerred Willits, FSHS, 19-04.50; 8. Zeric Avery, LHS, 18-09.50; 10. Ebuka Ennyinnaya, FSHS, 17-08.00.

Girls triple jump: 2. Miri Pickman, LHS, 32-01.00; 3. Makhia Krauase, LHS, 29-01.00; 4. McKayla McGee, LHS, 27-08.50; 5. Emma Evans, FSHS, 27-07.00.

Boys triple jump: 1. Avion Nelson, LHS, 43-01.00; 2. Jerred Willits, FSHS, 41-10.00; 3. Ntense Obono, LHS, 38-07.00; 6. Braylon Dye, LHS, 27-01.00.

Girls shot put: 5. Soledad Edison, FSHS, 27-08.00; 6. Cameron Vaughn, FSHS, 26-04.00; 9. Olie Proctor-Alberding, LHS, 24-05.00; 9. Madison Base, FSHS, 24-05.00.

Boys shot put: 3. Dylan Gillespie, LHS, 45-07.00; 4. Noah Smith, LHS, 43-03.00; 6. Tyler Gourley, FSHS, 42-01.00; 7. Luke Wheeler-Halsted, FSHS, 40-06.00; 8. Ian Shire, FSHS, 35-00.00; 9. Tyler Rasys, FSHS, 32-04.00; 10. Max Childers, FSHS, 30-08.00.

Girls discus: 6. Madison Base, FSHS, 71-11; 7. Allison Reed, FSHS, 70-09; 8. Soledad Edison, FSHS, 65-01; 9. Ruth Mutuku, FSHS, 60-09; 10. Cameron Vaughn, FSHS, 56-09.

Boys discus: 2. Noah Smith, LHS, 133-08; 3. Dylan Gillespie, LHS, 127-09; 4. Luke Wheeler-Halsted, FSHS, 120-06; 5. Harrison Kirkwood, LHS 104-03; 6. Tyler Gourley, FSHS, 94-03; 8. Brian Lane, FSHS, 85-06; 9. Mehkel Hollie, FSHS, 84-10; 10. Cason Cregg, FSHS, 73-04.

Girls javelin: 1. Aubrey Duncan, FSHS, 119-07; 2. Amaya Harris, LHS, 112-10; 3. Taylor Veeder, FSHS, 98-02; 5. Jada Big Eagle, LHS, 81-00; 8. Reese Hulcher, FSHS, 73-01; 10. Carlie Miller, FSHS, 71-03.

Boys javelin: 1. Titus Birdahaw, FSHS, 141-07; 2. Ben King, LHS, 141-06; 3. Brian Lane, FSHS, 135-08; 4. Jude Harris, LHS, 134-05; 5. Ntense Obono, LHS, 125-05; 6. Gordon Fineday, LHS, 118-04; 7. Cason Cregg, FSHS, 113-04; 8. Ian Shire, FSHS, 110-06.

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