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Track team will compete at Wichita
best one
Great Bends state track qualifiers are front row, Paloma Sandoval, Karen Razo, Annie Mills, Baleigh Fry; second row, Eric Vazquez. Mason YellowWolf, Kerby Depenbusch, Connor Griffith, Jesus Sanchez, Evan Hammond; back row, Jaclynn Schroeder, Kate Warren, McKenna Esfeld, LaCora Bryant.


WICHITA — Great Bend’s Kerby Depenbusch and LaCora Bryant thrived in the high intensity atmosphere of the Class 5A state track meet at Wichita State University last year. Depenbusch placed seventh, 1,600 (4:27.98) and sixth, 3,200 (9:45.78). Bryant finished sixth, 100 (12.82) and eighth, 200 (26.64).
Depenbusch will compete with the eighth-best 3,200 (9:49.62) at 7:20 p.m. Friday and with the third-fastest 1,600 (4:26.46) at 2:05 p.m. Saturday. He placed first in the 1,600 and 3,200 at regionals last week.
“My goal is to win, but I want to run in the 9:30s,” Depenbusch said. “I’m hoping the two-mile (3,200) goes at a slower pace, so I can kick it in. I can outkick most of the guys. At WAC, I ran a 62-second final lap.”
Depenbusch is looking forward to the 3,200-meter relay, where the Panthers posted the seventh-best regional time.
“It will be very tough competition in the relay,” he said.
Bryant is ranked third with season bests (12.10, 100) and fifth (25.73, 200) after winning both events at regionals last week. Newton’s Kalli Anderson (11.93) and Savannah Simmons (12.05) are top competitors. Bryant will start at 5:15 p.m. Friday and her early walkup call starts Saturday at 5:30 a.m.
‘‘State is way harder because the best runners in the state are there,, Bryant said. “I want to run PRs and run hard. I want to get out of the blocks and keep my head down. I need to keep pushing.”
Great Bend coach Lyles Lashley challenged his team at the Wichita Pre-State Challenge and at the Kansas Relays.
“State experience helps and competing at the KU Relays helps,” Lashley said. “It’s easy to get nervous when you see thousands of people watching.
The girls discus starts at 1:15 p.m. Friday. Discus specialist Kate Warren (136-10) has placed sixth (123-6) and fourth (116-8) in 5A. Balko, Okla. transfer Annie Mills (5-0) captured the Oklahoma Class A high jump (5-2) title last year. The girls high jump starts at 3 p.m. Friday.
Other regional runners-up were Baleigh Fry, 800 (2:23.3); Eric Vazquez, 800 (2:01.14); and the Panthers’ 3,200 girls’ relay (10:10.51) with Baleigh Fry, Karen Razo, McKenna Esfeld and Paloma Sandoval competing.
Other qualifiers are Karen Razo, 3,200, (12:02.3); Jaclynn Schroeder, high jump, (5-0); the girls’ 1,600 relay, (4:15.11) with Bryant, Mills, Esfeld and Fry competing; and the 3,200 boys’ relay, (8:11.01) with Depenbusch, Connor Griffith, Mason YellowWolf and Vazquez competing. The girls' 1,600-relay competes Friday. All other events are scheduled Saturday.
“You want everyone to compete their best and reach the finals if they are in prelims,” said Lashley. “They’ve all set realistic goals for their events. We want to get as high as you can on the award podium. LaCora Bryant will see sprints that are loaded with quality runners. Kerby Depenbusch has a chance to do some really nice things Friday and Saturday.”

GREAT BEND 5A RANKINGS (season best)
High jump—10—Annie Mills, 5-0; 10—Jaclynn Schroeder, 5-0
Discus—2—Kate Warren, 136-10
100—4—LaCora Bryant, 12.10
200—5—Bryant, 25.73
800—7—Baleigh Fry, 2:23.3
3,200—8—Karen Razo, 12:02.3
1,600 relay—12—Great Bend, 4:15.11 (LaCora Bryant, Annie Mills, McKenna Esfeld, Baleigh Fry)
3,200 relay—6—Great Bend, 10:10.51 (Baleigh Fry, Karen Razo, McKenna Esfeld, Paloma Sandoval)

GREAT BEND 5A RANKINGS (season best)
800—9—Eric Vazquez, 2:01.14
1,600—3—Kerby Depenbusch, 4:26.46
3,200—5—Depenbusch, 9:49.62
3,200 relay—7—Great Bend, 8:11.01 (Kerby Depenbusch, Connor Griffith, Mason YellowWolf, Eric Vazquez)