Archive for Sunday, April 24, 2016

SMNW’s Born shines at KU Relays

Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born, bib 3594, leads the pack early in the girl's 3,200-meter run. Born would end up breaking away from Free State's Emily Venters, bib 2405, and win the race by 11 seconds. Born's time of 10:28.16 was a KU Relay's record and the fourth fastest time in state history.

Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born, bib 3594, leads the pack early in the girl's 3,200-meter run. Born would end up breaking away from Free State's Emily Venters, bib 2405, and win the race by 11 seconds. Born's time of 10:28.16 was a KU Relay's record and the fourth fastest time in state history.

April 24, 2016

— Shawnee Mission Northwest sophomore Molly Born competed in the 3,200-meter run for the first time this season Friday at the Kansas Relays, and the rest of the state took notice.

Born won the race going away with a time of 10:28.16, which broke a Kansas Relays record and ranked as the fourth fastest mark in state history.

"It's an honor to be up there with such great runners," Born said. "It's amazing."

The SM Northwest sophomore distance runner credited the competition she was going up against for being able to execute her race strategy. Born made a move at the mile mark, and ended up beating Free State junior Emily Venters by 11 seconds.

Venters' strong start to the season was something that Born was well aware of. Born has enjoyed the friendly rivalry that has developed over the past two years with Venters.

"It's awesome to have such great competition," Born said. "(Venters) getting better also means me getting better and me getting better means her getting better, so it's good that we can help each other out."

Born returned to the track Saturday for the 1,600 meters, and came less than a second away from a personal-best time despite a rocky start to the race. After getting boxed in from the start, Born tried to fight her way to the front of the pack along the inside of lane one, but took a tumble at the 200-meter mark.

"It just all happened so fast," Born said. "I knew that I didn't want to stop and that I wanted to keep going and see if I could catch back up and get a good time still."

While the energy Born expended to get back in the hunt caught back up to her in the final 250 meters, she got the good time she was looking for. Born was less than a second away from a personal-record as she clocked in at 4:59.92 for a fifth-place finish. She was one of five runners to break the five-minute mark.

"It was a great weekend," Born said. "I came out and did what I wanted to do. I PR'd (in the 3,200), and I learned a lot from these two races, and that's what I came hear to do."

SM North's Williams wins 300 hurdles, takes second in long jump

Shawnee Mission North senior Jazmin Williams broke one school record last weekend in Lawrence at Free State's Barrier Breakers meet, and she closed in on a second one on Friday.

Williams won the 300 hurdles despite being in lane eight, and crossed the finish line with a time of 44.75 seconds.

"I didn't want the stagger to catch up to me," Williams said, "so I just kept running as hard as I could throughout the whole race."

Williams is now less than a second away from the SM North 300 hurdles record, which stands at 44.03.

"It's good to be this close at the beginning of the season," Williams said. "It means I know what I have to do now to get closer to the record."

The Emporia State signee broke the school record in the long jump last week at Free State, and went on to place second on Saturday with a mark of 18 feet, 7.75 inches. The top mark for Williams came on her second of six attempts, and before she had to go run the lead leg of the Indians' 4x800 relay team.

Williams joined Samantha Taylor, Katie Kasunic and Amber Reed on the 4x800 — which placed eighth overall — but said that her legs didn't quite feel the same for her final three attempts in the long jump.

"I did a run-through and I felt a little wobbly, so I sat down and I let my legs get a little rest before I went. I ended up jumping a 18-01 on my first jump coming out of it."

Just like Born, Williams was pleased with how the weekend went overall, and is excited for what the rest of the season has in store.

"Jumping this far at this point of the season, I feel really good about the end of the season and what I'll be able to do," Williams said.

SMN DMR nearly goes wire to wire

As Noah Stevenson crossed the finished line, he pointed up to the sky. He and his teammates had won the boy’s distance medley relay nearly going wire to wire.

Belesti Akalu, who won the boy’s 3,200-meter race earlier, lead off and gave the Indians a four second lead. Adam Jujakovich kept the lead, but it shrank as St. Thomas Aquinas and Prairie (Iowa) gained some ground.

Aquinas overtook the lead for a few seconds in the third leg, but Stevenson erased that before the first turn after taking the baton from Carter Jacobson.

Stevenson said the four talked before the race and were trying to compete for a top three finish. When he saw he was in second through three legs, he knew they could win it.

“We believe in each other, we believe in our training and we believe in ourselves,” Stevenson said.

Akalu, Dujakovich, Jacobson and Stevenson also earned a fifth-place finish in the 4x800 relay on Saturday.

During the 3,200, Akalu led for the entire race with the exception of the final 100 meters.

His 9.22.46 was a personal best. He started picking up the pace after 800 meters, but his coach Aaron Davidson kept yelling he was too slow.

“I thought the other guys would pick up, but they were slow,” Belesti said. “I wanted to keep my pace.

Belesti’s kick might have come too early because he couldn’t keep up with Kearney’s (Mo.) Clayton Adams, who had a much longer stride than Belesti.

St. James duo PRs

Moments before the second heat of the boy’s 800 meter run, Joe Hanson, who finished 11th with a time of 1:58.23, got a big hug from coach Greg Bomhof.

It was the first time he ran under two minutes as he shaved three seconds off.

“It gives me confidence to keep improving and keep bumping that time down,” Hanson said. “I’ve heard from people once you go sub-2 (minutes) you never really go back.”

Teammate Craig Luby, who finished 13th, dropped two hundredths of a second and clocked in with a 1:58.69.

He would have liked to have ran in the third heat against friend Matthew Malir of St. Thomas Aquinas.

“We legitimately raced for the first time last weekend,” Luby said. “He got first, I got third. we’ve been friends are whole lives, competing against him out here, as seniors, is pretty cool.”

Mill Valley’s Derek Meeks, who has been battling injury, turned in a 1:57.76.

He said his goal was to stick with the front pack. He wanted to PR, but Friday was a season-best by six seconds.

“I’ve had plantar fasciitis all season long,” Meeks said of his right leg. “That led to a slight hamstring pull.”

The hamstring is almost 100 percent, but the foot is still tender. He’s been training around it, working with the trainer and doing rehab.

With the season entering the final month, Meeks, who hasn’t missed an entire meet yet, is looking for spots to rest.

“I’ve raced in trainers a few time,” Meeks said. “It looks weird, but it’s a little softer.

“I met with my coach (Thursday night) for about an hour to map out the rest of the season to see where we can get extra rest and where we need to train differently.”

Mill Valley's Hopkins sets shot put school record

Mill Valley thrower Gabby Hopkins has had the school's shot put record in the back of her mind this season, but she still could not quite believe that she broke it on Saturday.

Hopkins hurled a throw of 41 feet, 7.75 inches to place third overall, and break the previous record mark by a quarter of an inch.

"I'm pretty excited. I'm not showing it, but I'm pretty stoked," Hopkins said. "I'm still kind of nervous. It's hard to believe that I got the school record."

The Jaguar thrower embraced the elevated competition that KU Relays had to offer, and credited that to helping her achieve the milestone. Even though the record-breaking performance didn't quite set in right after the event concluded, Hopkins is already envisioning how much farther she can throw by the end of the season.

"About another three feet," Hopkins said. "I hope to see this girls at state."

Hopkins' heroics were just the start of Mill Valley's success in the field events on Saturday. The high jump duo of Megan Eckman and Morgan Thomas placed sixth and eighth, respectively, as they both cleared 5 feet, 4 inches.

"I didn't even realize when it happened because that's both of our PRs," Thomas said. "Megan got it on her first attempt, and I got it on my second. We were just thinking about the competition and how cool it was."

Thomas needed every ounce of the focus she had to tie her personal-best mark. Shortly before Thomas went up for her first attempt at 5 feet, 4 inches, the bar was broken by another jumper, and there was roughly a 15-minute delay in the action. Although Thomas just missed clearing the bar on her first try, she stayed loose during the delay and was about to come through on her next attempt.

"It just doesn't get in my head that much with that stuff," Thomas said. "I just took another approach before I went."

The Jaguar junior jumper felt it was fitting that her and Eckman were both able to match their personal-best height considering how much they push each other to improve.

"It helps a lot because she's competition, but she also helps me if my coach can't be down there," said Thomas of Eckman. "She tells me what was wrong and I tell her what was wrong, and we warm up together. We force each other to do the stuff we don't like to do at practice."

Shawnee Mission Northwest's Abbi Bird was not far behind Eckman and Thomas, as she cleared 5 feet, 2 inches to place 10th.

Webb disappointed in third place finish

Allie Webb took third in the javelin on Friday with a mark of 136 feet, 2 inches, but she wasn’t happy with it.

“It wasn’t my best throwing day,” Webb said. “I was trying to PR, but I didn’t hit that.”

Webb said she was thinking too much and that caused her to throw it too high. She didn’t say anything about conditions, but it was cool and breezy in the morning unlike the afternoon, which was sunny and calm.

“Definitely on the last one,” Webb said of trying too hard, “and that was my worst throw, by far — ever.”

Jones looking to drop time

Judi Jones paced St. James on the track Saturday with a 19th-place finish in the 1,600. The Nebraska signee finished with a time of 5:15.94, which was only four seconds off her 1,600 leg of the distance medley on Friday, which placed sixth overall.

"I felt good,” Jones said. “I was expecting to run a better time. Yesterday I ran the distance medley relay with my team, and I ran a split of 5:11 in my mile. I was really hoping to run faster than that today. I thought I was set for a PR during it, but I ended up with 5:15. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season, because I really want to get my mile time as close to 5:00 as I can."


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