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Great Bend girls win 5A Maize track regional
Eliana Beckham, 3,200-meter relay


MAIZE — Great Bend standout Makenzie Premer qualified in three relays and the 300-meter hurdles for the 5A state track championship. All three relays recorded season-best times at the 5A Maize South regional in 75-degree weather and 5 mph wind.

Premer's favorite "new" event is an 800-meter leg on the 3,200-meter relay. Eliana Beckham, Cassie Ellegood, Sienna Smith, and Premer improved 13 seconds (10:05.22) that ranks fifth in 5A. 

"When coach Lashley asked about running the 4-by-800, I said, 'Are you crazy?' " Premer said. "But I ran really well and actually enjoyed it. It's so fun. In the 4-by-800, if you're behind, you've got time to catch up. In the 4-by-4, you're running as fast as you can go."

Relays are Premer's favorite events. Sadie Spray, Beckham, Daizy Gomez and Premer improved two seconds in the 1,600-meter relay (4:05.47). Premer, Spray, Valarie Luna, and Gomez ran a season-best 400-meter relay (50.36).

"You're pushing yourself for a team, which is fun," Premer said. "You're doing good for yourself and your team. It pushes yourself to run your best so you're not letting anyone down."

Two-time state runner-up Premer ran her fastest time (46.21) as the runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles and third-place Spray ran her best (46.59) behind Hutchinson's AnnaLisa Cullens (44.92) with the state's fastest time.

The Panther girls recorded 10 season-best times and qualified in 10 events, scoring 118 points for the school's sixth regional title for third consecutive 5A regional track title. The Panthers finished as 5A state runner-up last year.

Panther teammate Addy Nicholson provided a career highlight with a runner-up 1,600-meter finish (5:13.11) that broke a 46-year Great Bend school record set by N. Heeke (5:14.2) in 1977. Nicholson improved her time by 13 seconds behind Salina Central's Katelyn Rupe. 

"It was in the back of my mind," Nicholson said. "I was halfway through the third lap and coach Lashley goes, 'You're going school-record pace!' That's where I knew I had to give it my all and go and finish it. I was competing against a great runner. I focused on myself and ran my own race. It puts you in a great mindset when the weather was beautiful." 

Rupe also won the 3,200 (11:24.70) with Nicholson (11:43.99) finishing runner-up.

Nicholson credits her remarkable improvement to discipline and hard work.

"I've done everything better. I've improved myself and gotten stronger mentally and physically," Nicholson said. "I worked with a lot of weights and started running faster. I started eating better and that's helped too."

High jumper Spray (5-4), edged teammate Luna (5-4), who has cleared a state-best height of 5-7. Cassie Ellegood (5-0) also qualified for state.

Gold medalist Macy Nachtigal (132-4) and Kyndall Blessing (121-0) qualified in the javelin.

Champion Beckham (2:21.86) and runner-up Sienna Smith (2:26.22) ran season-best times in the 800 meters. 

The Panthers' Peterson placed fourth (17.94)in the 100-meter hurdles.

Kaden Esfeld enjoyed a near-perfect day by qualifying in the 800 (1:59.65), 1,600 (4:26.87) and 3.200 (9:54.14). The 1,600 meters featured a dazzling finish with four runners within two seconds.

"I want to finish as high up as I can next week," Esfeld said.

Mathew Moeder (159-2) placed third in the javelin. Great Bend's Ramiro Rocho, Alex Galindo, Braylon Moore, and Pedro Enriquez (8:48.83) earned a fourth-place 3,200-meter relay finish.


PANTHER GIRLS *season best

100m hurdles—16—Peterson, 17.94

300m hurdles—2—Premer, *46.21; 4—Spray, *46.21

800m—9—Beckham, *2:21.86; 11—Smith, *2:26.22

1,600m—4—Nicholson, *5:13.11 (school record)

3,200m—6—Nicholson, 11:43.99

400m relay—9—Great Bend, *50.36 (Premer, Gomez, Spray, Luna)

1,600m relay—5—Great Bend, *4:05.47 (Spray, Beckham, Gomez, Premer)

3,200m relay—5—Great Bend, *10:05.08 (Beckham, Ellegood, Smith, Premer)

High jump—1—Spray, 5-4; 1—Luna, 5-4; 6—Ellegood, 5-2

Javelin—4—Macy Nachtigal, 132-4; 8—Blessing, 121-9



800m—10—Esfeld, 1:59.65

1,600m—7—Esfeld, 4:26.87

3,200m—11—Esfeld, 9:54.14

3,200m relay—16—Great Bend, 8:48.83 (Rocho, Enriguez, Moore, Galindo)

Javelin—7—Moeder, 159-2


TEAM SCORES—1—Great Bend 118; 2—Hutchinson 72; 3—Salina Central 69; 4—Maize 68; 5—Salina South 55; 6—Goddard Eisenhower 53; 7—Hays High 51; 8—Maize South 40; 9—Goddard 32 

PANTHER GIRLS *season best

100m hurdles—4—Haley Peterson, 17.94

300m hurdles—2—Premer, *46.21; 3—Spray, *46.21; 6—Peterson, 50.68

800m—1—Beckham, *2:21.86; 3—Smith, *2:26.22; 6—Welcher, *2:32.73

1,600m—2—Nicholson, *5:13.11 (school record)

3,200m—2—Nicholson, 11:43.99; 5—Boone, *12:02.09

400m relay—4—Great Bend, *50.36 (Premer, Gomez, Spray, Luna)

1,600m relay—2—Great Bend, *4:05.47 (Spray, Beckham, Gomez, Premer)

3,200m relay—2—Great Bend, *10:05.08 (Beckham, Ellegood, Smith, Premer)

High jump—1—Spray, 5-4; 2—Luna, 5-4; 4—Ellegood, 5-2

Triple jump—6—Harbaugh, 32-61/2

Javelin—1—Macy Nachtigal, 132-4; 4—Blessing, 121-9

Pole vault—5—Kuhlman, 9-0


TEAM SCORES—1—Hays High 119; 2—Maize 102; 3—Goddard Eisenhower 76.5; 4—Hutchinson 74; 5—Maize South 56; 6—Goddard 52; 7—Great Bend 36.5; 8—Salina Central 23; 9—Salina South 15


800m—1—Esfeld, 1:59.65

1,600m—3—Esfeld, 4:26.87

3,200m—1—Esfeld, 9:54.14

3,200m relay—4—Great Bend, 8:48.83 (Rocho, Enriguez, Moore, Galindo)

Javelin—3—Moeder, 159-2