WICHITA — Conditions weren’t ideal for Manhattan’s 4x400 relay team Sunday, with an early wake-up time and a two-hour trip from Manhattan back to Cessna Stadium for the final event of the Kansas state track meet.
This was the first time a portion of the meet had ever been pushed to Sunday. The weather was that bad. Then, because of more weather delays, the Indians had to wait nearly another hour to compete.
Yet every team competing Sunday had to wait out the same time, Manhattan coach Kory Cool acknowledged, and the Indians’ team of Julian Avila, Wyatt Henton, Luke Wichmann and Declan Weixelman took 10th with a time of 3:34.62.
That wrapped up the meet for the Manhattan boys, who took third with 51.5 points. The girls, none of whom competed on Sunday, came in eighth with 29.5 points.
The MHS boys, who entered the 4x400 in second place, needed to best Mill Valley to seal a second-place finish — a year after they captured the 6A state title.
It didn’t happen.
“Kudos to Declan for finishing hard, even though we weren’t winning,” Cool said. “Throwing it down the best he could. I’m proud of him.”
For his part, Weixelman said he’ll take the third-place finish. The Indians are a young team, after all.
“Third place this year is not bad,” Weixelman said, “because we lost a lot a couple guys, a couple seniors. I think we did pretty good for not having as many seniors this year.”
To Cool, that’s the encouraging part about this year’s team: It’s young. Numerous underclassmen won points for the Indians, including sophomore Daniel Harkin, who won the state title in the 3,200 meters, and sophomore Darius O’Connell, who locked down a state championship in the shot put on Saturday.
Sophomore Alyx Glessner placed eighth in the girls javelin, unfurling a throw of 122-02.
Then there was Avila, a sophomore, and Henton, a freshman.
“It’s encouraging for the future,” said Cool, who noted only a fraction of the points Manhattan scored came via seniors. “These guys know it’s not going to be given to them next year. They’ve got to continue to show up and work hard.”
Cool’s other takeaway from the meet: his team can’t take much for granted.
“People are saying that there’s nobody more guaranteed for 10 points than Sam Hankins,” Cool said, referencing Hankins, who won his third straight state title in the javelin on Saturday. “False. Very easily, that could have gone the other way. He had to show up and execute. Like I said all year, we’re going to show up with what we’ve got, and the chips are going to fall where they fall.”
With that, Manhattan will bid farewell to its seniors.
That includes Clara Mayfield, who won a state title on Saturday in the 1,600-meter run, Emily Keeley, who took sixth in the same event, James Higgs, who placed in the boys shot put and sixth in the boys discus, Kalen Rauch, who came in 15th in the boys long jump, and Madeline Purdom, who helped the girls 4x800 relay team finish fourth.
“This is the hard time,” Cool said. “They’re going on to do different things now. Going to miss them. They’re leaving holes, and we’ve got to fill the holes. Back to work tomorrow.”
Manhattan results (6A)
10th — Julian Avila, Wyatt Henton, Luke Wichmann, Declan Weixelman, 3:34.62