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Panthers post impressive day at regional; 24 headed to state
Panthers send 24 to state. - photo by file photo

Complete team results (PDF)

LIBERAL— A total of 24 student-athletes will represent Great Bend High School at next weekend’s state track and field championships in Wichita. Following a cloudy and rain-driven Friday at regional, 14 boys and 10 girls will make the trip to Cessna Stadium to participate in the nation’s largest high school outdoor track and field meet.

“It was a brutal day with cold and windy weather,” said coach Todd Kaiser. “But our kids worked through it and came out with 24 of them heading to Wichita next week so, rain or shine, we’re thrilled.”

In order to qualify for the state meet, competitors must place in the top four in their respective events at regional.

On the boys side, Jayce Brack had another impressive day winning the shot put and discus with throws of 52.2 ft. and 172.4 ft. Zane Pierce also qualified in the shot put with a fourth place finish and a throw of 46.4 ft.

The Panthers’ Jeffery Muiruri qualified in two in the hurdle events. Muiruri finished third in both the 110 meter high and 300 intermediate hurdles in times of 15.14 and 40.85 respectively. In the 400 meter run, Ty Yager ran a third place qualifying time of 52.01 while Kerby Depenbusch won bronze in 10:23.50 in the 3200 meter.  

Great Bend qualified in all three of the relays as Eric Vasquez, Mason YellowWolf, Quinton Elliot and Isaiah Davis placed fourth in the 4x800 with a time of 8:46.39. Cal Marshall, Trey Hurd, Yager and Andrew Morss took the bronze in the 4x100 meter in 44.33. Muiruri, Marshall, Antonio Carrasco and Yager finished third in the 4x400 in 3:31.16.

“We had a couple of surprises with Jeffery making it in both hurdle races which is great for him because he has made so much improvement in the hurdles throughout the season,” Kaiser said.

“In the 1600, we knew going into the regional that it was going to be a tough race,” the coach said. “Kerby had an outside shot of possibly getting the fourth place qualifying spot.  He gave it his all but just missed placing fifth.  He was still able to qualify in the 3200 which is his stronger race.  He’s been steady for us all season in the distance races and I’m happy that he’s going the have the opportunity to compete in the 3200 at the state meet.”

“In the 400m, we made the decision to run Ty,” Kaiser continued. “We knew the 300 hurdles were loaded but we also looked at the 400 in our regional and felt that Ty could possibly have a chance at making it to state in the 400. So we took a chance and entered him and it all worked out and he qualified with his fourth place finish.”

“Going in regional we thought Zane had a chance in the shot put,” said Kaiser. “He’s had an ankle that has been bothering him the latter part of the season so I’m happy he was able to make it to the state meet.”

In the girls division, Kate Warren won the discus throw at 120.6 ft. Warren also qualified in the shot put with a toss of 34.4 ft. good for fourth place. Camryn Dunekack was the top jumper in the high jump with a vertical of 5.2 ft. Shelby Tracy qualified for state in the long jump with a fourth place leap of 16.2 ft.

In running events, Kaylan Lagerman finished as the top runner in the 800 meter race in a time of 2:26.30. LaCora Bryant won silver in the 200 meter dash clocking in at 26.98. Dunekack placed fourth in the 400 meter run in 1:01.60.

The Panther girls qualified in two of the three relay events with Mariah Stein, Baleigh Fry, Macy Moyers and Kaylan Lagerman placing second in the 4x800 in 10:23.78. Dunekack, Fry, Moyers and Lagerman then finished in fourth place in a time of 4:18.54 in the 4x400.

“LaCora would have more than likely made it in the 100 but she had an unfortunate situation with a false start,” said Kaiser. “It was a learning experience for he but she still was able to come back and qualify for the state meet in the 200.”

“Overall, we got everybody and each relay qualified that we thought would make it to the state meet,” Kaiser said. “All season long our kids have been working extremely hard. We have to put in another good week of practice to get ourselves prepared to perform to the best of our ability in the largest high school track meet in the United States.  It’s going to be a great experience.  The opportunities are there. We just have to go after them now.”

Next week’s state meet runs from Friday, May 29 through Saturday, May 30 at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium.