Winning a regional title was almost a foregone conclusion for the Scott Community High School boys.
With a lineup that’s as healthy as it’s been all season, the Beavers crushed the competition when hosting last week’s Class 3A meet. SCHS captured nine gold medals and qualified for state in 14 of 18 events.
So it was no surprise that they finished with 164 points to easily outdistance Beloit (100) and Colby (53.5).
“We may not be 100 percent healthy, but this is probably the best we’ve been all season,” says head coach Jim Turner. “It’s the first time we’ve had everyone on the track at the same time.”
Not that the Beavers didn’t slip in a couple of alternates simply because they had the luxury.
They pulled Kaden Wren out of the 4x800m relay - running sophomore Roberto Apadaco in his place - and still cruised to an easy gold medal despite being 26 seconds off their season best.
They also continued to keep junior Parker Gooden on the 4x100m relay so Marshall Faurot could instead focus on the 110m high hurdles and pole vault (taking first in both) and adding a bronze in the high jump. Faurot, however, was content with clearing 5-10 in the high jump and calling it a day once he knew that was good enough to qualify for state.
Whether Gooden will continue to compete on the relay at state was still undecided at the start of the week.
The Beavers completed a relay sweep with a gold medal in the 4x400m with a season best 3:26.21. The relay included Wren (51.01), Brandon Winderlin (51.37), Isaac Tarango (52.25) and Wyatt Hayes
Wren Wins 800m
As dominating as the Beavers were, it never hurts to have a little luck on your side.
A hamstring injury to Holcomb’s Isaiah Armstrong in the 4x100m relay changed things significantly the remainder of the meet.
Wren was pulled from the 4x800m relay in anticipation of a showdown with Armstrong in the 400m, to be followed by what was expected to be a tightly contested 800m.
With Armstrong, who had the fastest 400m in all classes this season, out of the race that allowed Wren to cruise to a silver medal in 42.02 and conserve his energy for the 800m. It also helped to secure a bronze medal for Brandon Winderlin (52.17), followed by Beloit’s Van McQueen (52.46).
That allowed Wren to follow up moments later with a gold medal performance in the 800m (2:01.48) while Hayes picked up a bronze medal in 2:03.14. Neither were season bests for the middle distance runners, but career bests weren’t needed.
“The guys knew what they needed to do. They’re smart runners and they know the important thing is just to get to state,” says Turner.
With Armstrong on the sideline and Colby’s Jordan Schippers slowed by an ankle injury, the Beavers were able to advance Winderlin (1st, 23.15) and Tarango (3rd, 23.18) to state in the 200m.
That makes four events for Winderlin this weekend in Wichita.
While injuries to a pair of top sprinters boosted Winderlin’s chances of getting to state, he had already put himself into state contention with a great finish to his season. He had consistently been running well in the 200m and 400m.
The junior gives credit to strength coach Todd Richardson “who helps prepare us for things like this, mentally and physically.”
While Winderlin has made the greatest improvement in the 400m this season, he still considers the 200m his strongest event.
“It helped that two guys who are faster than me were hurt today,” says Winderlin, referring to Armstrong and Shippers. “But you have to compete against who’s on the track.”
Thomas Collects Golds
Jack Thomas continued to show that he’s one of the top distance runners in Kansas with gold medals in the 1600m (4:38.72) and the 3200m (10:00.94).
Both were well off his season bests, but that wasn’t a concern on Thursday.
“The championship season isn’t about time. It’s about running smart and going for the win. I didn’t have to run my best today in order to get to state, but I still got a good workout and I’m ready for a good weekend at state,” said Thomas.
Career PR for Sherwood
Senior Kyle Sherwood will be making his first strip to the state track meet in not just one event, but two.
His toss in the discus of 154-4 surpassed his previous best by more than 13 feet and earned him a silver medal. He added a fourth place finish in the shot put (47-8 1/4).
He got off to a great start in the prelims with a toss of 132-feet and continually improved on his next two throws before establishing a new personal best.
“I wanted to make sure I had a good throw from the start so that I could build from there,” says Sherwood.
After a throw of 143-feet on his second attempt, Sherwood said that really added to his confidence, so on his final throw “I just threw my hardest. I don’t know how I got (154 feet) but I did.” “I was explosive and I had (the discus) on my index finger which is pretty important. That helped it to fly pretty well, along with some help from the wind.”
It was a big relief for Sherwood who has been knocking on the door in each of the past two seasons. He finished fifth in the discus as a sophomore and was fifth in the shot put as a junior - each time just one spot away from a state qualifying berth.
“I almost would have rather finished dead last than to come that close and not get (to state). I’m pretty happy about getting there in both events this year,” he adds.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the day was qualifying all three boys for state in the pole vault - a first for the Beavers in any event.
With a season best of 16-feet-3, Marshall Faurot was expected to qualify. Once he cleared 15-feet for a gold medal he called it a day.
The big surprises were sophomore Loren Faurot (2nd, 14-6) and junior Hunter Yager (3rd, 14-0) who improved on their career bests by a foot.
“I was aiming for 14 (feet) and I got 14-6, which was crazy,” says L. Faurot. “I’ve been working hard on my inversion and push off and that was the difference today.”
Over the last couple of weeks he felt that things were coming together. However, Faurot still wasn’t certain about clearing 14-feet or better until it finally happened.”
He will be making his second trip to the state meet.
“I can take a lot from last year. I’m more prepared and I know what’s coming,” says Loren.
While assistant coach Kevin Reese knew he had three vaulters capable of qualifying for state, he admitted that it was a longshot that each would earn a trip.
“And who would have predicted that two would PR today?” he adds. “I think they fed off each other’s enthusiasm and success. It was a special day. It doesn’t happen often that you finish 1-2-3 in any event, especially the pole vault.
“Of course, you love to have kids performing their best when it counts. That says a lot about where these kids are in terms of competitiveness and toughness,” he says. “It’s a matter of being mentally ready to compete at your best in a big-time situation which I think is a trademark of Scott City.”
Earning his first trip to the state meet was Eric Francis who finished second in the 3200m (10:40.27).