It will be the high-flying pole vaulters from Great Bend High School taking to the stage today at Salina District Stadium — site of a Class 5A regional track and field meet.
Field events get under way at 2, followed by track preliminaries at 3:30 and the finals at around 5.
Panthers senior Chris Burley will be vying for a regional crown after finishing in second place a week ago Thursday during the Western Athletic Conference meet in Dodge City.
“He’ll be going in with the best jump going in at 15 feet,” Black said of Burley’s season best, breaking his own school record for the second straight season.
“Burley has been really close at 15-6 a couple times this year,” Black said. “But he got 15 feet pretty early, and he’s kind of got stuck on 14-6 lately and kind of going through some pains with the new pole. He’s trying to get on a bigger pole.”
The Lady Panthers’ Hannah Middleton and Selam Ball enter today’s regional coming off 1-2 finishes at the WAC meet.
“We have two girls’ pole vaulters going in first and second in Hannah Middleton and Selam Ball,” Black said of the duo, both clearing 10 feet with Middleton prevailing because Ball had more misses at the winning height
“They’ve been regulars at 10 feet and are working hard to get to 10-6.”
The top four finishers in each competition qualify for the 5A portion of the Class 6-1A state track and field championships, which is set for Friday and Saturday, May 24-25, at Cessna Stadium on the Wichita State University campus.
Panthers thrower Jayce Brack seems to be getting better each time out
“Jayce Brack has been throwing against the two-time defending state champion (Hays’ Cade Sharp, whose winning distance last year was 54-6) in the shot put about every meet and he’s finished second in about every meet,” Black said. “Jayce has a pretty high ceiling. He keeps getting closer.
Brack had a personal-best heave of 53-10 to place second behind Sharp at the WAC meet.
“He’s been improving every week in the shot put and the discus, and Nick Warren has really been coming on as of late in the discus and the shot. They both have legitimate chances in the discus.
Brack took home third place in the discus (150-7) and Warren placed fourth (139-8) at the WAC meet.
The Panthers’ 4x800-meter relay team enters today ranked No. 5 for top times in the District 5 regional. They (Kole Stiner, Chon Chavez, Cristian Garcia and Ky Heeke) have a season-best time of 8:22.40
“We’ve got to get Chavez healthy,” Black said in reference to Chavez being out in recent meets because of a hamstring injury.