BY JIM MISUNAS
LIBERAL – Three-time WAC champion Kaiden Esfeld was named Most Valuable Athlete and the Great Bend girls won seven events and captured the 2021 Western Athletic track championship with 127 points Thursday. Esfeld earned the WAC's top award after he swept the distance races with wins in the 800 meters (2:06.4), 1,600m (4:51.39) and 3,200 (10:27.84).
Esfeld's closest finish occurred in the 1,600 when he edged Dodge City's martin Marquez (4:51.62) in a slow-paced race.
"In the 1,600, everyone sat around waiting for Kaiden," said Great Bend coach Lyles Lashley. "Kaiden closed with a 60-second lap and barely held off the Dodge City runner. His range is phenomenal. I'm not sure which is his best race so far. It's a tough triple because you don't have much time between races and other guys are fresh. But Kaiden is geared to handle that."
Panther Oliver Dominguez won the triple jump (42-53/4) and placed runner-up in the 400 meters (51.31). The Panthers placed second in the 1,600-meter relay (3:32.37) with Dominguez, Braylon Council, Madison Regehr and Jaime Arellanes.
"Oliver Dominguez had a great day," Lashley said. "He had a nice triple jump and ran a nice 400 meters to place second."
Hays High (120) placed first followed by Liberal (79). Great Bend finished fifth with 54 points.
Great Bend coach Lashley was selected as WAC Girls Coach of the Year. It was the Panthers' first girls WAC title since 2010. Dodge City (77) finished runner-up.
The Panthers swept the 1,600-meter relay (4:16.13) with Eliana Beckham, Sadie Spray, Emma Loomis and Daizy Gomez; and the 3,200-meter relay (10:20.52) with Beckham, Olivia Rugan, Hannah Loomis, Emma Loomis competing.
"It was a good day, a total team effort," Lashley said. "Garden City won more individual events, but our depth got us through. We score in most every event and several girls compete in several events."
The Panthers' first-place winners featured double winner Taryn Warren, shot put (38-10) and discus (120-9); Emilia Diaz, 3,200 (12:22.6) and Sadie Spray, high jump (5-0).
"The shocker of the day was Sadie Spray winning the high hump," Lashley said. "We saw her potential and kept encouraging her to compete. Now, she's a WAC champion. We were very happy that Emilia Diaz won her first WAC championship in the 3,200 meters. She's finished second and third several times. Taryn Warren swept the shot put and discus, which was big for us. Taryn has worked hard and takes track seriously."
Runner-up finishers included Makenzie Premer, 100-meter hurdles (16.21) and 300-meter hurdles (47.53); Macy Nachtigal, javelin (122-8); Candice Smith, high jump (4-10); Emma Loomis, 800 (2:30.13); Diaz, 1,600 (5:37.84) and Lexi Deines, pole vault (9-0).
The Panthers compete at the 5A Valley Center track regional Thursday.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES—1—Great Bend 127; 2—Dodge City; 77 3—Garden City 76; 4—Hays High 60; 5—Liberal 35
100m—1—Phipps, GC, 12.61
100m hurdles—1—Williams, DC, 15.87; 2—Premer, 16.21; 3—Spray, 16.61
200m—1—Phipps, GC, 27.35; 5—Premer, 28.04
300m hurdles—1—Williams, DC, 47.41; 2—Premer, GB, 47.53 (PR); 3—Spray, 48.81; 6—Smith, 51.12
400m—1—Gere,. DC, 1:03.04; 4—Gomez, 1:05.68
800m—1—Strandmark, GC, 2:29.57; 2—Emma Loomis, 2:30.13 (PR); 4—Beckham, 2:32.79; 6—Hannah Loomis, 2:36.43
1,600m—1—Strandmark, GC, 5:31.75; 2—Diaz, 5:37.84; 5—Nicholson, 5:56.17
3,200m—1—Diaz, GB, 12:22.6; 3—Nicholson, 12:43.99
400m relay—1—Dodge City, 50.98; 4—Great Bend, 54.5 (Nachtigal, Gomez, Kuhlman, Hannah Loomis)
1,600m relay—1—Great Bend, 4:16.13 (PR) (Beckham, Spray, Emma Loomis, Gomez)
3,200m relay—1—Great Bend, 10:20.52 (Beckham, Rugan, Hannah Loomis, Emma Loomis)
High jump—1—Spray, GB., 5-0; 2—Smith, 4-10; 3—Luna, 4-10
Long jump—1—Green, Hays, 17-11; 5—Smith, 15-71/2; 10—Nachtigal, 14-6; 12—Fomez, 13-7
Triple jump—1—Green, Hays, 36-0; 5—Premer, 33-1; 7—Smith, GB, 32-73/4
Shot put—1—Warren, 38-10; 8—Duvall, 30-63/4
Discus—1—Warren, GB, 120-9 (PR); 5—Duvall, 110-5
Javelin—1—Kisa Unruh, DC, 124-3; 2—Nachtigal, GB, 122-8; 8—Warren, 87-5
Pole vault—1—Jagles, GC, 9-6; 2—Deines, 9-0; 3—Kuhlman, 7-6; 4—Ferguson, 7-0
BOYS TEAM SCORES—1—Hays High 120; 2—Liberal 79; 3—Garden City 61, Dodge City 61; 5—Great Bend 54
100m—1—Kanak, Hays, 10.37; 6—Council, 11.39 (PR); 12—Austin Miller, 11.81 (PR); 15—Montes, 14.07
110m hurdles—1—Springston, GC, 15.63; 4—Regehr, 17.42
200m—1—Ortiz, DC, 23.37; 4—Dominguez, 23.66; 11—Fields, 25.57
300m hurdles—1—Wiltshire, L, 42.06; 3—Regehr, 43.83 (PR)
400m—1—Ortiz, L, 51.09; 2—Dominguez, 51.31 (PR)
800m—1—Esfeld, GB, 2:06.4; 4—Arellanes, 2:08.78
1,600m—1—Esfeld, GB, 4:51.39
3,200m—1—Esfeld, GB,. 10:27.84
400m relay—1—Liberal 44.28
1,600m relay—1—Liberal, 3:29.95; 2—Great Bend, 3:32.37 (PR) (Dominguez, Council, Regehr, Arellanes)
3,200m relay—1—Liberal, 8:36.98
High jump—1—Dale, Hays, 6-4; 9—Scheuerman, 5-4
Long jump—1—Kanak, Hays, 21-71/2; 8—Fields, 18-111/2; 10—Council, 18-101/4; 11—Austin Miller, 18-1
Triple jump—1—Dominguez, 42-53/4
Shot put—1—Haselhorst. Hays, 58-23/4; 7—Somers, 41-73/4; 12—Nieto, 35-113/4
Discus—1—Adams, Hays, 168-3; 10—Somers, 113-6 (PR); 11—Nieto, 109-9 (PR)
Javelin—1—Brooks, Hays, 153-8; 8—Wedel, 120-5; 9—Mathew Moeder, 120-2
Pole vault—1—Veach, Hays, 13-6; 6—McMullen, 9-0