Forged on cross country courses this past fall, the head-to-head battles have renewed on the track. Straubel, a Platte County senior, picked up a big victory against his Kearney sophomore rival in their most recent 3,200-meter race, but it took a photo to decide the outcome. The two will likely meet up again in this weekend’s Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan., which will feature top-end talent from multiple states.
“Nathan’s just a beast,” Platte County track and field coach Gabe Middleton said. “He trains year round. He’s been great every year. This past year in cross country he was phenomenal. So far this year on the track, he’s been dominant. He’s been beating good competition. We’ve battled that kid at many meets. We see Kearney all the time. I know what a good runner that kid is and I know how good of runner Nathan is. They battle each other all the time.
“It’s great to see two kids like that literally battle it out for eight laps. It’s fun to watch.”
Straubel and Adams ran stride for stride for more than six laps at Kearney High School last week. In the final 500 meters, Straubel attempted to pull away, but Adams passed him on the back stretch of the final lap, only to give up the lead and endure a side-by-side sprint to the finish in front of a roaring crowd. Straubel leaned more with his chest, while Adams lunged with his head at the line claiming the photo-finish by 1 1/100th of a second.
“I had no idea,” said Straubel, who finished in 9 minutes, 22.36 seconds to better the school record he set in Platte County’s first meet of the season and set a new meet record. “I don’t think anyone who was watching had any idea. I was just so happy because I knew we ran super fast. Whatever the outcome was, first or second, I knew I was a totally different runner after this race.”
Park Hill South senior Darrien Case set his second and third school records in a span of two weeks, concluding with his victory in the 800 at Kearney. He came in at 1:54.54 to beat Rock Bridge’s Josh Ripley by about 5 seconds.
James Bowlin held the previous mark since 2011.
“At first, it was disbelief,” said Case, who also set a school record time in the 3,200 (9:45.80) in a dual meet with Liberty on Tuesday, April 7 after claiming the 1,600 mark the previous week. “It was like I heard it, but I didn’t really hear it. I just let it sink it. I was like, ‘That’s actually my official time?’ She told me the 1:54, and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
The new 800 mark was one of three school records set at Kearney.
Emma Roth finished second in the 1,600 but her time of 5:23.11 becomes a new-program best, bettering teammate Jasmine Crawford’s record set last season. Lexi Maddox broke the 3,200 record with an 11:47.10 third-place finish. Lizzy Gurries held the previous mark since 2012, and freshman Marti Heit also topped her time with a fifth-place finish in the same race (12:01.62).
Park Hill South finished second in the team rankings with 101 points — 33 behind Rock Bridge, which claimed the championship. Platte County ended up fourth with 54 points.
Platte County also finished fourth on the boys side with 69 points — four behind third-place Kearney and 26 behind champion Park Hill South.
“They are all excited,” Park Hill South boys coach Clay Lenhert said. “They are all fired up now. Kearney ran a great meet. The weather’s been fantastic, and it’s only going to get better. The (kids) will start focusing a bit more on their training. Mentally, when you see kids buy in mentally, their work ethic in practice changes. It’s hard not to buy in mentally when you go out there and run well. We had a lot of good things happen today.”
Park Hill South finished with four titles each on the boys and girls side. Case and fellow senior Mitch Henderson were involved in three each.
Henderson won the 400 (51.09) and ran legs on the winning 4x400 (Nylo Clarke, Isaac Frieden and Case) and 4x800 relays (Case, Frieden and Tristan McCoy).
“I had a lot of confidence,” said Henderson, who also placed fifth in the high jump (6 feet) “When you come in first in the 400, it’s always nice when you go run the 4x4 to know you could possibly be the fastest guy at the meet. It’s always good mentally. It was fun.”
On the girls side, Jordan and Janae Hammond won two events each. Jordan Hammond claimed the 300 hurdles (49.94) and 400 meter dash (59.76) while Janae Hammond placed first in the 100 hurdles (17.17) and high jump (5-2). Janae Hammond set the school record for the high jump in the Tuesday dual with Liberty at 5-3.
“Just making my jump over 5-2 was icing on the cake,” Janae Hammond said. “I hope to bring practice out of today’s meet. I think it’s always good to try and improve. Even though I didn’t make 5-4, I feel it’s still a good meet. It’s making me work hard during practice. My goal is to make 5-2 at every meet. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I keep pushing no matter what.”
Straubel claimed the only win for Platte County, which did have plenty of top-three showings.
Aaron Brown (second in triple jump, 42-0.75), Mac Leet (third in high jump, 6-0), Devin Perry (second in 200, 23.49), Shelly Laures (second in long jump, 16-6), Hillary Mathurin (third in 300 hurdles, 50.75), Rylie Collins (third in 100 hurdles, 17.9) the boys 4x200 relay of Perry Brown, Lloyd Lockett and TJ Guillory (third, 1:34.67), the same group in the 4x400 relay (third, 3:34.82).
The girls 4x800 team of Erin Straubel, Rebekah Geddes, Sara Wyss and Rachel Gilbert took second, and the 4x400 relay team (Mathurin, Laures, Wyss and Gilbert) came in third.
Park Hill South’s other medalists included Clarke (third in 200, 23.72), Grant Hudson (second in 300 hurdles, 42.63), Seth Hudson (third in triple jump, 41-8.5), Amanda Tillman (third in pole vault, 9-6 — again tying the school record), the girls 4x100 of Maryn Burns, Vanessa Crawford, Jasmine Daniels and Emily Day (second) and the 4x200 of Day, Daniels, Burns and Izzy Pieper (third).
Aliek Reed won four medals and helped Platte County to a second-place finish in the final boys team standings at the Grandview Invitational on Tuesday, April 7.
The Pirates scored 105 points to edge Raytown by one for the runner-up spot behind host and champion Grandview’s 112. Reed helped Platte County to a critical victory in that finish, running a leg of the 4x200-meter relay that beat favorite Raytown South.
Reed, Perry, Brown and Lockett finished in a season-best 1 minute, 31.86 seconds to top the Cardinals’ quartet by a second and a half.
Setting a personal best, Reed also won the high jump at 6 feet, 4 inches, while placing second in the 200 at 23.12 and running a leg on the third-place 4x400 relay along with Brown, Locket and Leet. Brown came in third in the long jump (20-6¾).
Nathan Straubel, another senior, scored Platte County’s other victory, topping the 1,600 field at 4:35.92. He also finished fifth in the 800.
Evan Edwards added to the long-distance success with a second in the 3,200, while Jacob Davenport (third in discus, 127-2) and Dane Rader (fourth in shot put, personal-best 46-0½) recorded top showings in the throwing events. Rader tied for third but lost the tiebreaker to just miss a medal.
On the girls side, Platte County placed seventh out of 10.
Pirates senior Laures won the lone medal with a 5-0 high jump in her first action of the season. Erin Straubel came in fifth in the 1,600 and sixth in the 800. Teammate Geddes was sixth in the 1,600 about 6½ seconds back of Erin Straubel.
Brandt Downey Invitational
North Platte’s girls continued a strong early season with a runner-up finish Tuesday, April 7 in Lathrop, Mo.
Regan Nash (100) and Emmie Lee (300 hurdles) both claimed individual victories to help the Panthers score 86½ points. Lawson won with 146.
In the 100, Nash topped Hamilton senior Morgan Prather in a rare matchup in that race. Nash — the defending Class 2 Missouri State Track and Field Championships 100 champion — came in at 12.32 with Prather, a state champion in two events last year (200 and 4x200).
Nash came in second in the 200 behind Lawson’s Nikki Smith, who recorded a 25.95.
Lee came in at 51.68 in the 300 hurdles to top Bishop LeBlond senior Audrey Glenski’s 52.70 from the slow heat. Glenski won the 100 hurdles, topping North Platte’s Baylie Wilson by 0.25 of a second. North Platte was third in the 4x800 relay and fourth in the 4x200. Callie Pataluna recorded top-six finishes in three events — pole vault, triple jump and long jump — for the Panthers.
North Platte’s boys scored 26 points and were 10th out of 14 teams.
Jerry Copenhaver came in second in the 300 hurdles at 44.15 behind Lathrop’s James Knifong but ahead of Lafayette’s Malik Hicks, who won the 110 hurdles. Copenhaver finished fourth in that race. Eric Brown cleared 10-0 in the pole vault to take fourth, and senior Blake Romaker claimed fifth in the 800 at 2:12.82.
Jerry Crews Invitational
Park Hill senior Enoch Koudou recorded a trio of top-four finishes, including a win in the 400, to lead another strong showing for the Trojans at the Jerry Crews Invitational on Friday, April 10 at North Kansas City District Activities Complex in Kansas City, Mo.
Koudou topped the 400 field in 52.50 with teammate Kenyatte Harris in fourth at 53.54. Koudou also placed second in the 100 in 10.95 behind winner Jon Redmond of Liberty North (10.87) and then took fourth in the 200. The Trojans’ 4x400 team was third.
The best relay finish for Park Hill went to the 4x800, which placed second 8:23.78 and lost out to Staley by less than half a second.
Chris Nilsen (15-0, pole vault) and Papay Glaywulu (45-11, triple jump) recorded victories in field events for Park Hill, and Seven Wilson notched third in the shot put at 45-11. Nilsen, Alijah Gee and Glaywulu also went 2-3-4 in the high jump with Nilsen finishing runner-up at 6-4 after losing out on a tiebreaker to Oak Park’s TreVeon McIntosh.
On the girls side, Park Hill senior Mercedes Robinson swept the 1,600 (5:29.81) and 3,200 (12:00.04), and the Trojans’ 4x800 finished second to Liberty. Jillian Roepe (800, 2:28.06) and freshman Taiya Shelby (400, 1:02.79) both collected third-place finishes to round out the medals for Park Hill.
Atchison Redmen Relays
Nash claimed two event wins — 100 (13.50) and 200 (27.83) — and ran on the second-place 4x100 relay to lead North Platte to a second-place showing Thursday, April 9 at Atchison High School in Atchison, Kan. The Panthers finished with 113 1/3 points — 85½ behind hosts and team champion Atchison.
Lee (300 hurdles, 53.01) and Pataluna (triple jump, 30-8.25) claimed the only other event wins for North Platte.
Wilson claimed the runner-up spot in the 100 hurdles finishing in 18.34 — ½ a second behind winner Kassie Johnson of Maur Hill-Mount Academy (Kan.). West Platte finished fourth on the girls side with 67 points with Sydney Oberdeik winning the shot put (32-3.5) and discus (113-1) and finishing fifth in the javelin (77-4.75). Rachel Heili grabbed second place in the 800 (2:48.01) and 1,600 (6:14.93) for the Bluejays.
Copenhaver (300 hurdles, 46.23) and Jonathan Collins (discus, 114-10) claimed event wins for North Platte on the boys side. The Panthers finished sixth as a team in a nine-team field with 72 points. West Platte came in eighth with 37.
West Platte’s Daniel Cicha ( 1,600, 5:10.39), Cameron Johnson (shot put, 41-5.5) and the 4x800 relay team of Cicha, Conner Penrod, Andrew Cicha and Rylee Crockett (9:52.40) all finished second.