2022 All-Area Spring Teams: Boys Track

Coach of the Year: Joe Pickett, Eudora High

In addition to leading the EHS girls to a runner-up finish at state, Joe Pickett pushed a talented crop of boys to sixth place, where the Cardinals finished one point ahead of Tonganoxie in the final Class 4A standings.

Athlete of the Year: Ben Shryock, Free State

The face of Free State High running for the past few years, Ben Shryock capped his stellar career with a championship win at the state meet in the 3,200. He also finished sixth in the 1,600 and was a part of the Firebirds’ 4×800 relay team that took second.

Michael Romito, Free State High

photo by: Matt Tait

Free State’s Michael Romito.

Still young and just scratching the surface on what he’s going to be, Michael Romito delivered in a big way at the state meet, finishing fourth in the 400 and helping the Firebirds’ 4×400 relay team earn a sixth-place finish in Class 6A.

Jack Keathley-Helms, Free State High

photo by: Matt Tait

Free State senior Jack Keathley-Helms.

Another talented Firebird who enjoyed crazy success throughout his career, Jack Keathley-Helms joined Shryock in finishing his career on a high note. He helped two Free State relay teams reach the medal stand (the 4×800 team took second and the 4×400 team took sixth) and also placed as an individual by finishing sixth in the 800.

Avion Nelson, Lawrence High

photo by: Matt Tait

LHS senior Avion Nelson.

After spending a fair amount of his final track meet as a Lion in third place, multisport standout Avion Nelson finished fifth in the triple jump at the Class 6A state meet. Nelson, who also played football and basketball for the Lions, also qualified for the state meet in the long jump. He’s headed to Washburn University to play football.

Noah Smith, Lawrence High

photo by: Matt Tait

LHS senior Noah Smith.

After setting a personal record at regionals with a massive throw that earned him a spot at state, Noah Smith made his way to the medal stand with a sixth-place finish in the shot put at the state meet. The medal marked the end of his track career as the standout lineman is headed to the University of South Dakota to play college football.

Kaden Doleman, Perry-Lecompton High

Perry-Lecompton senior Kaden Doleman went out with a spot on the medal stand at the Class 3A state meet, where he took eighth place in the high jump. Doleman also finished second at both the regional meet and the Big 7 League meet this season.

Hayden Slough, Bishop Seabury

Hayden Slough enjoyed serious improvement in three of his signature events throughout the 2022 season, improving his 400 time by nearly 3 seconds, his 800 time by 11 seconds and his top throw in the discus by more than 14 feet throughout the course of the season. He placed ninth in the 800 and 14th in the discus at the Kaw Valley Conference Meet late in the season.

Kole Manley, Eudora High

After setting a school record with a vault of 14 feet, 9 inches to win a regional title, Kole Manley finished second in the pole vault at state just one week later. In addition to those feats, he also won a Frontier League title and was the league runner-up in the javelin at both the league and regional meets while placing fifth in the javelin at state.

Conor Dunback, Eudora High

A Frontier League and regional champion in the triple jump, Conor Dunback delivered on Kansas track’s biggest stage, as well, finishing second at the Class 4A state meet. That was not his only contribution to the Cardinals’ sixth-place finish. He also placed seventh in the javelin at state and ran on EHS’s 4×400 relay team that took second.

Eli Gilmore, Tonganoxie High

Eli Gilmore qualified for state in four events and delivered three top-three finishes. He took third in both the 800 and 1,600 as an individual, and he ran a leg of the Chieftains’ 4×800 relay team that finished second and the 4×400 relay team that took eighth. Beyond that, he was a Frontier League champ in three events and also helped THS win a regional title in the 4×800.

Honorable Mention: Caleb Carr and Caden West, Baldwin High; Tyler Neis, Eudora High; Roman Jasso, Elijah Sabatini, Jake Loos and Jake Hedges, Free State; Boyd Sollars, and Michael LeClair, Perry-Lecompton High.


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