Erie’s Aikins eyes state title
WICHITA — A waterlogged first day of the 2019 KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships was ultimately cut short by Mother Nature.
Nearly all of Friday’s field events were pushed back to Saturday because of lightning and torrential rain, as were the majority of running events.
Saturday will now feature timed finals in the track events and a rolling schedule of field and running events. All events are scheduled to start at 8 am.
The meet was delayed from the onset Friday because of early morning storms, with a scheduled 7:45 am start time delayed to 10:45 am Just before 1 pm lightning was spotted in the area and KSHSAA imposed its second delay of the afternoon.
Parsons head coach Rob Barcus, whose team didn’t have a single one of its 14 competitors participate on Friday due to the delays, expressed his frustration at the circumstances.
“They could’ve come up with a better plan before today. But it’s hard to schedule a meet that goes 1A-through-6A. So I understand that,” Barcus said.
More thunderstorms and rain are expected to batter Wichita Saturday.
KSHSAA assistant executive director Mark Lentz told reporters on Friday during the extended delay that the organization’s goal is to get the meet in on Saturday as much as weather allows.
“We will push through and do our best for everyone’s sake to try and get it on Saturday,” Lentz said.
“We’ll probably set a steadfast time of where we don’t want to run past tomorrow night. The thought is no longer than midnight. I know the state track meet has never run into Sunday, but it still has to be an option. It’s a possibility, but we sure hope not. We want our kids to be able to have the opportunity to compete.”
As for the few events that did get completed on Friday, Erie’s Ashlynn Aikins finished second in the 3A girls 100 meter hurdle prelims to qualify for Saturday’s finals with a time of 15.24 seconds. She trailed Cheney’s Layne Needham, who took first with a time of 14.95, by less than a second.
“I’ve been improving my times,” Aikins said. “I’m just focused on having a good time because I really want to win it.”
Aikins, a senior for Erie who’s hurdled at the state meet all four years of her high school career, says only one goal awaits her on Saturday.
“I’m going to do my best and leave it all out on the line,” Aikins said. “It’ll be my last running event in high school. I’m looking forward to it. A state championship would be the best thing.”