WICHITA — Dawson Lehman, a senior who joined the Erie track team full-time just weeks ago, won the state title in the 2A 400m dash on Saturday during the last day of the KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships.
Lehman, who started the spring as a dual-sport athlete for both baseball and track, moved to track full-time midway through the campaign. In the 400m dash, where Lehman was seeded first, the Pittsburg State commit pulled away from the field in the final 100 meters to earn his top spot on the podium. Lehman finished the race in 50.81 seconds.
“I was thinking that I’ve worked this hard all year, I want to win it,” Lehman said. “I wasn’t going to settle for second place without much left.”
Lehman was even with the field around the final turn before that late kick.
“I knew Dawson had the fastest time going in,” Erie head coach Eddie Kearns said. “He always has that kick at the end. We know that’s how he runs it. So he did what we expected and hoped for.”
Lehman also medaled in the 100m dash, taking fourth with a time of 11.48 seconds, and the 200m dash, where he finished seventh at 23.46 seconds.
“It’s been awesome,” Lehman said. “With basketball and how close we got before falling just short, this track helps end the senior year really well.”
Ella Burnett also medaled for Erie in the high jump, clearing five feet en route to her podium appearance.
“It felt very good,” Burnett said. “It made me realize all my hard work wasn’t a waste. I just knew I had to do my best, so I went out there and had fun.”
Burnett cleared every height through five feet in one attempt before hitting her wall at 5’2”.
“I thought she did awesome,” Kearns said. “She’s one make away from third because she had cleared every height without any misses. She was right there. Being a freshman, I know she’ll work hard. We’ll get her in the weight room and go from there.”
In other Erie state track results, Jacob Tice failed to clear a height in the pole vault. Callie Stottmann finished 16th in the shot put with a throw of 30’5”.
Breanna Ross passed two runners in the final stretch to take 11th in the 1600m run with a time of six minutes. Erie’s boys 4x400m relay team took 10th with a time of 3:40.
Kearns hopes four medals from a field of nine qualifiers hopes spur momentum for next year’s track squad.
“I expect all the kids that didn’t graduate back here,” Kearns said. “Maybe even more. I set goals every year. I wanted to bring 12 kids to state and we brought nine. I always want to set higher goals. So we’ll see what’s coming up.”
As for Lehman, he’ll prep for an NCAA track career at Pittsburg State.
“I wouldn’t change any of it,” Lehman said. “I enjoyed all of this. But now I’m expecting a lot of hard work and training that I haven’t had yet. It’ll be fun.”