Lancers, Lady Titans earn 1A state medals

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Crest High senior Brandon Newton clears the final hurdle in the 110-meter high hurdle preliminaries Friday morning. He went on to place second in the Class 1A event at the 2009 Kansas High School All-Class State Track and Field Championships in Wichita over the weekend.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Crest High senior Tanner Strickler (2059) gains the lead on his leg of the 4x400-meter relay preliminary race. The Lancers qualified for Saturday’s final and claimed the sixth-place medal in Class 1A at the Kansas High School All-ClassTrack and Field Championships in Wichita.
Register/Richard Luken
Ashton Gudenkauf, a freshman from Southern Coffey County High School, competes in the Class 1A triple jump at the state track meet Saturday in Wichita. Gudenkauf finished fourth and earned a medal for her feat.
Register/Richard Luken
Southern Coffey County High’s Shelby Birk earned a seventh-place medal in the Class 1A long jump event at the 2009 Kansas High School All-Class Track and Field Championships over the weekend in Wichita. She is seen here competing in the 1A triple jump event.

WICHITA — A little bobble probably cost Crest High senior Brandon Newton a state track championship. But Newton isn’t complaining — second place in the 2009 Kansas Class 1A 110-meter high hurdles is fine.
“Yes, I wanted to win the race but it came down to whoever had a clean run would win. I hit the third from the last hurdle and that threw off my timing,” Newton said of Saturday’s final in the 110-meter high hurdles.
Newton, who had the fastest qualifying time Friday in the 1A event, said he knew Grant Miller of Claflin High would be the runner to beat. Miller won the other qualifying heat.
“But I forgot about the Caldwell kid (Braden Lebeda) and it was close at the end,” Newton said.
So close. Lebeda edged Newton out at the finish line. Lebeda’s time 15.58 seconds. Newton’s time 15.61 seconds. Miller was third in 15.70 seconds.
Newton combined with fellow CHS seniors Tanner Strickler and Todd Johnston and his brother, Bryan Newton, who is a junior, to claim a sixth-place medal in the 4x100-meter relay race.
The foursome hold the CHS record at 44.93 seconds set earlier this season. The Lancers posted a 46.01 in the state final.
Johnston, Strickler and Brandon Newton combined with junior Micah Smith in the 4x400-meter relay and posted a season’s best time of 3 minutes, 37.02 seconds in the final. That also was good for sixth place.
“I really was great to get the second-place medal in the hurdles but also we ran well in both relay races,” Newton said. “We really improved our 4x400 time by three or four seconds. It was a fun experience to finish our senior year .”
For Johnston, it was a good and not-so-good experience. The good was helping win two relay state medals.
“It was pretty cool being up on the medal stand twice especially for us three seniors,” Johnston said. “It’s nice knowing that we were among the best in the state this season.”
Johnston qualified for the state in two individual events — the long jump and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. He finished 13th in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 10 1/2 inches.
But the not-so-good on the Wichita State University Cessna Stadium track came Friday in the preliminary races. In the 1A 300-meter intermediate heat race, two runners went down early in the race and Johnston had his best race going.
“I really put a lot into that race then I hit the last hurdle and stumbled. I fell but at least I was across the finish line and in third place,” Johnston said.
It appeared Johnston was headed to the event’s final race on Saturday. But not so fast.
It was determined that Ethan Martin of Pike Valley was disqualified when he fell over a hurdle and into the lane of Grant Miller of Claflin. Track meet officials decided the heat race would be run again later in the afternoon.
“Coach (Tisha) Hug said the coaches suggested several other options but we had to run it again. I just didn’t have the legs by then. We had also run the 4x400 preliminary race. I was tired and didn’t qualify for the final. It was tough,” Johnston said.
Dustin Davis-Jones ran the Class 1A 3200-meter race Friday morning and placed 16th. The freshman ran the race in 11:31.
The lone girl from Crest was Amanda Strickler, a junior. Strickler placed ninth in the 1A javelin with a throw of 110’4”.
For Southern Coffey County High, junior Shelby Birk claimed the first medal of three won by the Lady Titans in Class 1A state track action. Birk took seventh in the long jump Friday with a leap of 15’6”.
Freshman Ashton Gudenkauf had a better day in the jumping pit Saturday than Birk. Both were in the 1A triple jump competition.
Gudenkauf used a leap of 34’1” to claim the fourth-place medal. Birk finished 16th at 30’ 1/2”.
Birk had helped the Lady Titan 4x100-meter relay team qualify for the final. In the preliminaries Friday, Birk and fellow juniors Kristin Stephens and Laurie Ohl and freshman Jenna Witteman posted a time of 45.73 seconds.
The foursome ran Saturday’s final in 52.68 seconds and earned the sixth-place medal.
Birk and Ohl joined Witteman and junior Kristen Garland in the 4x400-meter relay preliminary on Friday but did not advance to the final. Witteman and Stephens ran in the 200-meter dash preliminaries but did not advance.
The SCCH boys were unable to break into their event finals on Friday. Justin Shields, a senior, ran ninth in the 400-meter dash preliminaries (53.05) just a spot shy of qualifying for the final.
Shields was on the Titan 4x400-meter relay team with senior Colt Newkirk, junior Trevor Smith and sophomore Colin Kraft. They did not move on to the finals.
Shields also missed the finals in the 100-meter dash. He ran in Saturday morning’s preliminaries, posting a time of 12.03 seconds.