WICHITA — A waterlogged first day of the 2019 KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships was ultimately cut short by Mother Nature.
Nearly all of Friday’s field events were pushed back to Saturday because of lightning and torrential rain, as were the majority of running events.
Saturday will now feature timed finals in the track events and a rolling schedule of field and running events. All events are scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
The meet was delayed from the onset Friday because of early morning storms, with a scheduled 7:45 a.m. start time delayed to 10:45 a.m. Just before 1 p.m., lightning was spotted in the area and KSHSAA imposed its second delay of the afternoon.
Pouring at Cessna. pic.twitter.com/iEkRrJDSpT— Dylan Sherwood (@DSherwoodEG) May 24, 2019
The long jump pit at Cessna Stadium is submerged in ankle deep water pic.twitter.com/il1jI1neyr— Sean Frye (@SeanEFrye) May 24, 2019
Parsons head coach Rob Barcus, whose team didn’t have a single one of its 14 competitors participate on Friday due to the delays, expressed his frustration at the circumstances.
“They could’ve come up with a better plan before today. But it’s hard to schedule a meet that goes 1A-through-6A. So I understand that,” Barcus said.
More thunderstorms and rain are expected to batter Wichita again on Saturday.
KSHSAA assistant executive director Mark Lentz told reporters on Friday during the extended delay that the organization’s goal is to get the meet in on Saturday as much as weather allows.
“We will push through and do our best for everyone’s sake to try and get it on Saturday,” Lentz said.
“We’re going to go as late — we’ll probably set a steadfast time of where we don’t want to run past tomorrow night. The thought is no longer than midnight. I know the state track meet has never run into Sunday, but it still has to be an option. It’s a possibility, but we sure hope not. We want our kids to be able to have the opportunity to compete.”
Barcus added that lumping all the field events into one day could be detrimental to jumpers Davonte’ Yates, Josh Pierce, Zion Natt and Dariq Williams.
“It hurts our jumpers, because they would’ve gotten to do the triple jump on Friday and then do the long jump on Saturday,” Barcus said. “It was set up really well for our jumpers.”
As for the few events that did get completed on Friday, Erie’s Ashlynn Aikins finished in second in the 3A Girls 100m Hurdles prelims to qualify for Saturday’s finals with a time of 15.24 seconds. She trailed Cheney’s Layne Needham, who took first with a time of 14.95, by less than a second.
“I’ve been improving my times,” AIkins said. “I’m just focused on having a good time because I really want to win it.”
Aikins, a senior for Erie who’s hurdled at the state meet all four years of her high school career, says only one goal awaits her on Saturday.
“I’m going to do my best and leave it all out on the line,” Aikins said. “It’ll be my last running event in high school. I’m looking forward to it. A state championship would be the best thing.”
Erie’s Hailey McGowen failed to clear a high in the 3A Girls Pole Vault.
Cherryvale’s Tyson Gray took 15th in the 3A Boys 110m Hurdles prelims with a time of 17.32 seconds.
St. Paul’s only competitor at the state meet, Emily Hutcherson, competed in the 1A Girls Javelin competition.
The junior making her Wichita debut in the event placed 13th with a throw of 103’8”. Centralia’s Madison Lueger took first place with a heave of 140’2”.
“I thought she did well,” St. Paul head coach Doug Tuck said. “It’s been a strange morning with everything getting pushed back by the weather.”
Tuck added that Hutcherson only started competing in the javelin this spring and has plenty of room for growth her senior season.
“She’s only been practicing javelin for a month,” Tuck said. “Considering that, she’s done a good job with it. She’s getting used to throwing on the runway and all those things. This gives her some experience for next year. She’s just a good overall athlete that I could see coming to four events next year.”