By CONOR NICHOLL
Leoti-Wichita County track and field teams each finished as runner-up in the season-opening nine-team Greeley County Invitational last Friday. The girls tallied 96.5 points, and the boys scored 123. Garden City, by far the largest school at the meet, won on the girls with 101 points. Ness City earned the boys’ title with 127.
However, WC delivered multiple impressive marks and individual performances that currently lead 2A. Seniors Sheldon Whalen and Manny Chavez, and junior Tristen Porter have led the way. Because of the elite showings, WC should contend in 2A – and close out a highly impressive school year.
Wichita County has a large senior class which led the Indians to an Eight-Man, Division I state runner-up football showing last fall, the best team in school history. In basketball, the Indians posted a solid 13-8 season with its top-six scorers all seniors: Chavez, Kayde Rietzke, Teagan Bishop, Kendrix Loy, Whalen and Devian DeLeon. Chavez and Rietzke were each first team all-league basketball. Chavez has signed with Garden City Community College football.
Senior Jesse Gardner is also a former all-state wrestler and senior Waylon West led the football team with 82 tackles. This winter, Dane Whitham, Juan Mancillas and Poster were first team all-state academic wrestling team, and Gardner and Seaton were honorable mention.
Many of those players, specifically Chavez, Rietzke, Whalen and Gardner, were highly decorated in football. Chavez and Rietzke were first team all-state, and Chavez was co-classification defensive player of the year.
In 2019, Wichita County boys improved from 36th to eighth at the Class 2A state track meet. Whalen won the 300-meter hurdles, was third in the 110-meter hurdles and eighth in the 200-meter dash. Porter took third in the pole vault. Before ’19, the last WC state boy track champion came when Jacob Schumacher won the 100 in ’16, per KSHSAA archives.
The WC girls did not have any state placers in ’19. In ’18, the lone placer came when Mareli Salazar captured the javelin with a mark of 133-6.
At Greeley County, Whalen and Chavez each won three events.
West posted 12.03 seconds in the 100, and Gardner ran 12.08. They finished third and fourth, respectively. Whalen ran strong times in the 110 hurdles (15.09) and 300 hurdles (42.51) and easily captured both races. He has the second-fastest 110 hurdle time in Kansas, per track historian Carol Swenson. Only Shawnee Heights sophomore standout Jeremiah Smith has ran faster at 14.59.
Whalen, who has also posted 41.09 in the 300, ranks fourth in Kansas in that event. He is first in 2A by more than .7 seconds.
The 400 relay earned third in 48.28 seconds with Porter, West, Hermosillo and Gardner.
As well, the 1,600 relay has Whalen, Gardner, Porter and Myles Conrad and ran 3:43.27 to take first by more than five seconds over Ness City. Chavez, in his first track season with Wichita County, went 42-3.25 in the shot put and a solid 124-2 in the discus at Greeley County. He and freshman teammate Simon Medina (40-8.75) went 1-2 in the shot put. Chavez earned the discus crown by nearly 11 feet.
He also threw 140-5 in the javelin and won the event by 18 feet. Porter, a junior, cleared 12-6 in the pole vault to capture the competition by a foot. He currently has 2A’s top pole vault at 12-6.
Sophomore Romeo Terriquez leaped 39-9 in the triple jump to win by a foot and three inches. Currently, only two 2A jumpers have cleared 43 feet.
The girls’ side is strong with freshmen. Madeleine Myers posted 13.85 seconds in the 100, and freshman Ciera Hernandez ran 28.78 in the 200 and 1:10.13 in the 400. The 1,600 relay with Myers, Hernandez, Andrea Merchant and Allison Wiggs posted 4:45.20.
Myers earned third in the 100. Hernandez took third in the 200 and captured the 400. The 1,600 relay won by .33 seconds over Ness City.
This Friday, Wichita County was supposed to have its home track meet, but it has been postponed.
Warning: include(../includes/module_comments.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/kansass/public_html/ks/news/index.php on line 115
Warning: include(): Failed opening '../includes/module_comments.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/alt/php56/usr/lib/php') in /home/kansass/public_html/ks/news/index.php on line 115