WICHITA—- Five was enough for Valley Heights at the state track meet.
The Mustangs brought just five athletes — two girls and three boys — to the meet, but managed to finish top three in both sets of team standings.
“It’s a neat deal — we have five kids, 14 events and 13 medals to take home with us,” Valley Heights coach Tony Trimble said. “You can’t complain about that.”
The Mustang girls’ team was led by the state debut of freshman Brandi Roepke, who won three events and scored 35 of Valley Heights’ 39 points.
The freshman took the 1A title in the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.54, while winning the 400-meter dash in a time of 57.92 and the 200 in a time of 26.46. Roepke also took fourth in the long jump with a 16-3 3/4 jump.
Trimble said he wasn’t concerned about his star freshman doing anything less than her best at the state meet.
“I knew what her times were all year and we keep track of everybody else’s times,” he said. “But I was a little worried about her getting nervous, being a freshman and her first time here, and like they said earlier, it’s the biggest state track meet in the U.S. She handled it well and she’s a special athlete.”
Sidney Blackburn was the other scorer for Valley Heights, taking sixth in the shot put with a throw of 37-7 1/4 and eighth in the discus with a 103-7 throw.
For the Valley Heights boys, it was Elijah Smith doing the heavy lifting as the team scored 42 points and took third place.
Smith won a pair of state titles, taking the triple jump championship in 1A Friday morning with a 44-5 3/4 jump and adding to it on Saturday with a win in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 14.84. Smith also took third in Friday’s long jump with a leap of 21-1 1/4 and finished fourth in the 200-meters (23.81) on Saturday to cap a big weekend.
Tanner Trimble took second, behind Smith, in the triple jump with a 44-1 1/4 leap, while brother Derek Trimble added a seventh-place finish in the pole vault and an eighth-place finish in the triple jump to add to the team score.
“We talked about Brandi being a freshman, but Elijah is only a sophomore,” Tony Trimble said. “He’s a kid that got fourth in the 200 here today. Last year he was a 300 hurdler and he talked me into letting him run the 200 the first meet of the year and he broke our school record, so I had to keep him in it.”
Wamego needed at least a fifth-place finish in the 4x400 to move up into second place in the team standings with just the final event to go.
The Red Raiders got it and then some.
The 4x400 team (Matthew Webb, Coltoin Butler, Trenton York, Isaac Poe) took second with a time of 3:30.12 to cap off the second-place finish with 53 team points. The Red Raiders 4x800 relay team (Butler, Brent Patton, Poe and Jordon Routh) took the 4A title with a time of 8:02.86 after coming in seeded fourth to bolster the team score.
“We knew that Andale would win it, but we knew we had to score well in the events we were in, and we did that,” Wamego coach Rick Patton said. “We were sitting in third by three points, we had to have fifth and got second. That was nice — it was sweet.”
Poe defended his title in the 300-meter hurdles, beating Andale’s Jake May with a sub-40-second time of 39.56. Poe also took third in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 14.88, while running in the 4x800 and the 4x400.
The Red Raiders got points in the distance races as well, with Routh taking fifth in the two-mile (9:58.85) Friday night and third in the mile (4:32.27) and seventh in the 800 (2:01.54), while Patton took sixth in the two-mile (10:16.27) and Butler took fifth in the 800 (2:01.22).
“Obviously Isaac’s a very talented kid, and we’ve always been strong in the distance races,” Patton said. “We had three kids score in open events this weekend distance-wise. That’s where we have the most experience on this team.”
The Wamego girls’ team managed to end the day tied for seventh-place in the team standings with 22 points, getting scoring from Elizabeth Evans in the discus (6th, 122-4), Lakyn Rowden in the javelin (5th, 118-2) and Davida Holley in the 100 (8th, 13.06) and the 200 (4th, 27.32). The Red Raider relay teams in the 4x400 (Allison Seufert, Keara Lenard, Riley Wilson and Holley) took fourth in a time of 4:14.09, while the 4x800 team (Wilson, Lenard, Brooke Ward and Seufert) took fifth in a time of 10:01.13.
In the boys’ pole vault, Jackson Meyer took third with a 14-foot jump. Ryan Schneider took fifth in the 4A triple jump with a 43-7 1/2 jump and seventh in the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 41.20.
Jacob Brazzle took third in the discus in 3A with a throw of 154-1. Madison Vargo was seventh in the long jump with a leap of 16-4 1/2.
The Wildcats’ Lucas Adams was the only competitor to clear 13-6 to win the 1A boys’ pole vault title. Calley Bergmann took sixth place in the discus with a 104-2 throw, while Jessa Jones finished tied for eighth in the pole vault with an 8-0 jump.
Alex Surdez was sixth in the boys’ javelin with a 174-1 throw.
Bobby O’Neill took fifth in the discus with a throw of 143-9 and seventh in Friday’s shot put with a throw of 45-0 1/2.