WICHITA — Labette County brought 15 athletes to the KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Friday and returned to Altamont with three medals on behalf of Alex Meister and Russell McCarty.

Meister won both his medals in distance runs, taking fifth in the 3200m run with a time of 10:11 and seventh in the 1600m run on a 4:41 mark.

“I knew my best times coming in and where I could finish,” Meister said. “So being able to medal twice feels great.”

Labette County head coach Chris Wacker said Meister’s strategy was to play the over-anxiousness of the rest of the field.

“The goal was for him to medal in the two-mile and then to see what he had with the mile,” Wacker said. “We just wanted to run our race and let the kids that went out ahead too fast come back to him.” 

Both of Meister’s times were personal bests in the distance events. They also came nearly a week removed from his sister, Sidni, winning an individual KSHSAA state title in backstroke.

“It was great to get to watch her and then be able to compete myself,” Meister said. 

As for McCarty, his eighth-place finish in the 110m hurdles came by a thin margin — as razor thin as it gets.

McCarty’s preliminary time of 15.86 seconds gave him the eighth and final berth to the finals. Ninth-place prelim finisher Kale Purcell of Holton registered a 15.87 — the difference between a medal and nothing was one-hundredth of a second.

“It was tough to tell from the stands,” Wacker said. “I was worried he was going to miss out. But Russell has been dealing with good competition. So he was ready to know what a tough race was going to look like.” 

But McCarty’s podium ticket also kept an upward trajectory for the junior pointed in the right direction.

“It’s validation for him to know he can compete at the top,” Wacker said. “Having the competition and knowing what it’s like and staying there, now it’s the next level with him.” 

In other Labette County results, Hayden McClenning, who posted a personal best long jump to win the regional title in Paola last week, took 14th in the event on Friday with a mark of 18’10”. 

Elsie Sorrell wrapped her career at Labette County with an 11th place showing in the shot put. Sorrell posted a throw of 32’8.75”. 

Ava Alloway finished 12th in the pole vault (8’0”) while Abby Pegues took 13th (7’6”). Lauren Forbes was 13th in the triple jump (32’6”).

The Labette County 4x800m girls relay team of Nevaeh Jones, Heather Mellington, Elyse Clevenger and Alloway took 12th with a time of 11:03. 

Jasmine Perez was 11th in the 400m dash (1:03.81) while the 4x400m girls relay team of Aidan Ratzlaff, Alloway, Allison Martin and Perez took 12th (4:25).

“We’re building,” Wacker said. “The goal is to build, get kids excited about the sport and show that they belong. We didn’t have the best day of getting to the podium, but I saw kids getting out there and making moves. We’ll take that momentum and run with it into next year.”

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