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Distance runner paces Great Bend at state track
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Baleight Fry - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

WICHITA — It wasn’t the double Great Bend’s Kerby Depenbusch wanted, but he’ll take it at the Class 5A state track meet at Wichita State University.
Depenbusch and his Panthers ran season-best times. He placed as 5A state runner-up in the 3,200 (9:33.18) and led the 3,200-meter relay to a Class 5A state runner-up finish (8:07.16). He capped his weekend with a third-place finish in the 1,600 (4:27.56) that was a second slower than his season-best time. Depenbusch placed seventh, 1,600 (4:27.98) and sixth, 3,200 (9:45.78) last year.
He pushed 3,200-meter champion Alex Moen of Andover (9:32.18), who beat Depenbusch by one second with a sprint to the finish. Moen has signed to run track at Wichita State University.
“I ran right with the leaders and took the lead on the last lap,” Depenbusch said. “Moen beat me at the end by one second. I want to maintain my kick at the end. I like to make my move with 500 meters left because it can catch the leaders off guard.”
St. Thomas Aquinas runner Alex Gill won the 1,600 (4:22.94), but Depenbusch was well prepared physically to run his third distance race in two days.
“Coach Lyles Lashley prepares we really well for state because we will follow a tough practice day with another day that’s just about as tough,” Depenbusch said. “Running two tough days prepares you for the state meet.”
He was especially proud of the Panthers’ relay that improved by four seconds. Time splits were Eric Vazquez, 2:01.5; Mason YellowWolf, 2:01.9; Connor Griffith, 2:05.3; and Depenbusch, 1:58.4. The Panthers finished a split-second behind Blue Valley Southwest (8:07.16) when anchor Andrew Lawrence ran a closing 1:54.3.
“We ran a great race and showed we have a team that supports each other,” Depenbusch said. “Everyone ran a great race today.”
Panther LaCora Bryant placed in both sprint events with a fourth in the 200 (25.4) and a sixth in the 100 (12.59). She improved her times from last year when she finished sixth, 100 (12.82) and eighth, 200 (26.64).
Discus specialist Kate Warren placed third (121-3) to go with a fourth and sixth place finish the past two years.
All four boys entries placed in the top eight to earn a spot on the medal stand.
Eric Vazquez improved his 800 by two seconds (1:59.47) and placed sixth after pushing winner Jason Irwin of Wichita Carroll on the first lap.
Great Bend’s boys scored 25 points to place 12th. The Panther girls scored 19.66 points to finish 13th.

GREAT BEND 5A GIRLS
High jump—8—Annie Mills, 5-0; 8—Jaclynn Schroeder, 5-0
Discus—3—Kate Warren, 121-3
100—3Q—LaCora Bryant, 12.18
100—6—Bryant, 12.59
200—4Q—Bryant, 25.55
200—4—Bryant, 25.4
800—7—Baleigh Fry, 2:24.07
3,200—11—Karen Razo, 12:38.78
1,600 relay—12—Great Bend, 4:17.45 (Bryant, Annie Mills, McKenna Esfeld, Fry)
3,200 relay—6—Great Bend, 10:04.08 (Fry, Razo, Esfeld, Paloma Sandoval)

GREAT BEND 5A BOYS
800—6—Eric Vazquez, 1:59.47
1,600—3—Kerby Depenbusch, 4:27.56
3,200—2—Depenbusch, 9:33.18
3,200 relay—2—Great Bend, 8:07.16 (Depenbusch, Connor Griffith, Mason YellowWolf, Vazquez)