Panthers earn 5A runner-up trophy
BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA – After Great Bend’s Makenzie Premer earned a hard-fought runner-up hurdles finish, she guaranteed the Panthers would close out the 5A state track meet in grand style.
“Every point matters,” Premer said. “We all tried our absolute best to push ourselves to finish as high as we can. Everyone has put their best effort into practice to make sure we were ready for this.”
Anchor leg Kara Feist ran the race of her career to chase down Kapaun-Mt. Carmel’s Kelsey Bruening as the Panthers (4:03.85) rallied past the Crusaders (4:03.97) in the tightest finish you could imagine. Premer followed leadoff leg Eliana Beckham and Sadie Spray handed off to the freshman sensation Feist. The lead swung back-and-forth five times in the 4-lap race.
The 2-point victory over the Crusaders boosted the Panthers past Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 67-66 for the runner-up 5A state trophy behind champion Mill Valley (751/2). The Panthers captured their lone state title (2007) in addition to the school’s six state runner-up track trophies.
It was exactly what Great Bend track coach Lyles Lashley predicted when he named Mill Valley, Kapaun-Mt. Carmel and Great Bend as his top three teams. Feist ran Friday’s prelim so well, Lashley stuck with her as anchor leg.
“That was one of the most exciting relay races I’ve ever been a part of,” Lashley said. “We wanted to bring back a state trophy for David Meter, our retiring athletics director. The girls made their mind up they were going to win it.”
Earlier in the season, the Panthers' 1,600-meter relay of Beckham, Spray, Feist and Premer (4:01.6) finished one second off the school record (4:00.7) established by Chelsea Clanton, Kylene Kirmer, Kelly McNorton and Caitlyn Murray in 2007.
Every point mattered. Rylie Duvall earned a surprising point with an eighth-place discus (110-3) finish.
As usual, Premer was spectacular with a runner-up finish in 300-meter hurdles (45.57), a sixth-place in the 100-meter hurdles (15.85), along with first place in the 1,600 relay and third place in the 400 relay (49.87) with Valarie Luna, Feist and Spray.
“I’m very happy with where I finished,” Premer said. “It’s been so windy, I’m pretty used to the wind by now. It’s so nice to talk with the other competitors. It’s a great way to relax between races.”
Luna earned a valuable eight points with a runner-up career best 5-6 high jump that ties the school record. Taryn Warren earned back-to-back runner-up finishes in the shot put (37-51/2).
“The crowd and the support helped me today,” Luna said. “I ate a protein gummy before I jumped. That did something for me too.”
Luna cleared 5-6 first when Andover Central’s Brittany Harshaw recaptured the lead by clearing 5-6 on her third jump.
“I thought, ‘state champ,’ no way. But those 30 seconds felt good. That was definitely something to be proud of after not competing last year,” she said. “Having Sadie Spray is amazing. We support each other and that helps us both.”
GREAT BEND RESULTS
100m hurdles—6—Makenzie Premer, 16.10
110m hurdles—11—Madison Regehr, 15.79
300m hurdles—2—Premer, 45.57; 6—Sadie Spray, 47.25
300m hurdles—5—Regehr, 40.91
400m—10—Kara Feist, 1:01.11
400m—11—Oliver Dominguez, 51.56
800m—12—Eliana Beckham, 2:30.35; 15—Emma Loomis, 2:33.47
800m—9—Kaiden Esfeld, 2:01.67; 14—Alex Galindo, 2:07.18
1,600m—11—Emilia Diaz, 5:41.45
3,200m—7—Addy Nicholson, 11:48.02; 10—Diaz, 12:06.22
400m relay—3—Great Bend, 49.87 (Valarie Luna, Kara Feist, Spray, Premer)
1,600m relay—1—Great Bend, 4:03.85 (Beckham, Premer, Spray, Feist)
1,600m relay—8—Great Bend, 3:31.11 (Dominguez, Esfeld, Galindo, Regehr)
3,200m relay—3—Great Bend, 10.00.38 (Beckham, Loomis, Nicholson, Diaz)
High jump—2—Luna, 5-6; 3—Spray, 5-4
Shot put—2—Warren, 37-51/2
Discus—8—Rylie Duvall, 110-3
Javelin—5—Macy Nachtigal, 118-11; 7—Kyndall Blessing, 115-9
Javelin—13—Mathew Moeder, 142-7