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The Chanute Blue Comets were the guest of honor at the KSHSAA Class 4A Regional Track and Field Championships at the Chanute Community Sports Complex on Friday. The boys notched back-to-back team titles, while the girls shocked the meet with a third place team finish.
The Chanute boys claimed the program’s fourth regional championship, and its first back-to-back titles. The Blue Comets scored 122 points to edge out Paola (104) and Coffeyville (98). The title was led by six gold medal finishes and five personal-best finishes.
“That’s really exciting,” Kmiec said with a laugh.
The boys were led by a strong performance from Josept Lazzo-Barahona. The junior claimed an individual gold in the 400-meter (50.77), led the 4x400-meter and 4x800-meter relays to golds and boosted the 4x100-meter relay to a third place finish.
Senior Rawley Chard was on the slate for four events for the first time this season after returning from injury. Chard and Lazzo-Barahona joined forces in the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays, before Chard claimed an individual gold in the 100-meter.
Chard will be unable to defend his state championship in the 200-meter having finished fifth in the finals.
“There’s not a single chance I could be disappointed in Rawley Chard, 100 percent,” Kmiec said. “He’s battled through so much these last two years, and he’s gonna continue to battle. I’m excited to see what he does next week at state.”
Junior Mike Stanley put together a three-qualification day of his own, finishing third in the pole vault and 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles.
“It’s still setting in. I put in the work throughout the season and my mom has been teaching me and she’s been helping me a lot,” Stanley said, referencing Angie Stanley, the former girls 300-meter hurdles record holder at Chanute High School. “I also want to thank my coaches, I seriously couldn’t do it without them. The competition of my teammates (is also important).”
Stanley suffered an ankle injury at the Wichita State Shocker Pre-State event back in April, and has been fighting to catch up with workouts since.
“My season didn’t start great, I was weeks behind in workouts,” Stanley said. “I’m just glad I’ve propelled back up.”
Junior Kaiden Seamster bested nemesis Marion Ryan of Parsons in the high jump, claiming gold with a pair of clean jumps. Seamster also qualified for state with a third place finish in the triple jump.
“Kaiden has done a good job all year of competing. I think he has some lofty expectations for what he wants to do next week, and today was just a stepping stone for that,” Kmiec said.
Probably the gutsiest performance of the night was by freshman Jaron Powers in the 3200-meter run. Powers was in the bottom-half of the pack for the first mile, and sat in fifth place with two laps to go.
“My coach was yelling that I could do it the whole way, so I was trying my hardest,” Powers said. “My teammates cheering me on really gave me a lot of encouragement and made me shoot for it.”
Powers kicked things into overdrive, gapping the fifth place finisher from Coffeyville in the final 800 meters. The young distance runner continued on with the kick to make his state qualification a definite statement in the final 400 meters. Powers finished a full 15 seconds ahead of Drake Leeds from Coffeyville.
“It was awesome. It’s kinda hard to explain, I didn’t see myself going all the way. I knew I could do it, but I knew it would take a lot of work,” Powers said. “I’m just happy I made it to state, especially in my freshman year.”
Seniors Dagen Dean and Eric Erbe, junior Jordan Duncan, sophomores Eliott Stephenson and Eli Uhner and freshman Tyler Rowden also qualified for the state meet in various events.
The Chanute girls scored 91 team points to finish in third place behind the champion Labette County Grizzlies (102) and the Paola Panthers (95). The Blue Comets qualified for the state meet in 12 events and set nine personal-bests.
“I think we definitely performed above expectations. I knew we could do better — and I knew we would do better — and I think we came out and showed that today,” Kmiec said. “We had several individuals that weren’t ‘picked’ to qualify for state, and did. It’s really truly inspiring as a coach to see their hard work pay off.”
The girls were led by a 40-point, four-gold performance from Kynleigh Chard. The junior won gold in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash and helped the 4x400-meter relay to a first place finish.
“I’m super proud of Kynleigh. She’s an ultimate competitor and she’s been working her tail off,” Kmiec said. “For her to be a four-time regional champ today is amazing.”
Sophomore Macie Moore gutted out a runner-up finish in the 3200-meter run. Moore finished eighth in the state race as a freshman.
“I didn’t wanna disappoint my teammates and coaches. If I did it last year, I know I can do it again,” Moore said on what drove her during the two-mile race. “I just want to keep getting better. I don’t wanna get any slower and I want to improve as I go.”
Seniors Lena Aguilar, Abbigale Burtnett and Abby Stephenson, junior Camrie Ranabargar, sophomores Jakiya Brown, Layla Harbin and Violet Stich and freshman Maddie Kepley also qualified for the state meet in various events.
The Blue Comets are now in full preparation for the KSHSAA All Class State Track and Field Championships, hosted at Wichita State University May 26-27. First action for Chanute is in the girls 100-meter hurdles preliminaries at 2:10 pm on Friday. First action on Saturday is set for 8 am, the girls 100-meter preliminaries. Gates open an hour before the first event on both days.
“We’re gonna continue to get better, try to get healthy and just enjoy each other,” Kmiec said. “I just want to enjoy coaching these kids for one more week.”
High Jump: 1st - Kaiden Seamster 6’-1”; 5th - Easton Colborn 5’-7”
Pole Vault: 3rd - Mike Stanley 9’-6”; 4th - Jordan Duncan 9’-0”
Triple Jump: 3rd - Kaiden Seamster 41’-7”; 8th - Landen Bilby 37’-9”*
Discus: 10th - Gus Thuston 116’-9”; 12th - Kash Fitzmaurice 115’-4”; 13th - Canton Fitzmaurice 109’-2”
Javelin: 2nd - Dagen Dean 170’-8:; 5th - Kaiden Seamster 142’-7”; 8th - Kash Fitzmaurice 129’-3”
Shot Put: 8th - Gus Thuston 40’-0”; 13th - Canton Fitzmaurice 36’-3”
100m: (Prelims) 1st - Rawley Chard 10.90; 3rd - Dagen Dean 11.15 (Finals) 1st - Rawley Chard 10.86; 4th - Dagen Dean 11.073
4x100m: 3rd - Dagen Dean, Josept Lazzo-Barahona, Eric Erbe, Rawley Chard 44.19
110m Hurdles: (Prelims) 3rd - Mike Stanley 16.19*; 7th - Jordan Duncan 17.91 (Finals) 4th - Mike Stanley 16.35; 7th - Jordan Duncan 18.23
200m: (Prelims) 3rd - Rawley Chard 22.86; 6th - Dagen Dean 23.59; 7th - Eric Erbe 26.69 (Finals) 4th - Dagen Dean 22.76; 5th - Rawley Chard 22.82
300m Hurdles: 3rd - Mike Stanley 44.30*; 8th - Jordan Duncan 48.28
400m: 1st - Josept Lazzo-Barahona 50.77
4x400m Relay: 1st - Rawley Chard, Eric Erbe, Josept Lazzo-Barahona, Eliott Stephenson 3:29.07
800m: 1st - Eliott Stephenson 2:03.35*; 4th - Eli Uhner 2:06.31
4x800m Relay: 1st - Eliott Stephenson, Tyler Rowden, Eli Uhner, Josept Lazzo-Barahona 8:39.68
1600m: 10th - Trenton Banks 6:01.42
3200m: 4th - Jaron Powers 10:58.95*; 8th - Brock Godinez 11:22.43*
Team Scores: Chanute 122, Paola 104, Coffeyville 98, Ottawa 76, Labette County 32, Iola 28, Independence 24, Fort Scott 9
High Jump: 4th - Isabella Barney 4’-6”*; 8th - Jakiya Brown 4’-6”
Pole Vault: 2nd - Layla Harbin 7’-6”*; 5th - Jarynn Hockett 7’-0”*
Long Jump: 3rd - Camrie Ranabargar 16’-9.5”*
Triple Jump: 8th - Jakiya Brown 30’-3”; 10th - Cha’Kyra Walls 29’-7”
Discus: 2nd - Lena Aguilar 95’-1”; 8th - Kyli Baylor 84’-11”; 12th - Averee Hicks 76’-4”
Javelin: 3rd - Jakiya Brown 106’-8”*; 6th - Averee Hicks 91’-10”; 7th - Lena Aguilar 91’-9”
Shot Put: 12th - Ella Gahagan 27’-11”; 14th - Lena Aguilar 27’-4”; 15th - Averee Hicks 26’-10”
100m: (Prelims) 7th - Abbigale Burtnett 13.10*; 8th - Camrie Ranabargar 13.13 (Finals) 4th - Abbigale Burtnett 12.948*; 7th - Camrie Ranabargar 12.98
4x100m Relay: 1st - Kynleigh Chard, Abbigale Burtnett, Camrie Ranabargar, Abby Stephenson 51.54
100m Hurdles: (Prelims) 1st - Kynleigh Chard 15.86*; 7th - Madison DeCoster 18.17* (Finals) 1st - Kynleigh Chard 15.83*; 8th - Madison DeCoster 18.35*
200m: (Prelims) 2nd - Kynleigh Chard 26.64 (Finals) 1st - Kynleigh Chard 26.54
300m: 1st - Kynleigh Chard 47.94; 7th - Madison DeCoster 54.16
400m: 7th - Andie Sevart 1:09.68*
4x400m Relay: 7th - Camrie Ranabargar, Maddie Kepley, Kynleigh Chard, Abby Stephenson 4:31.28
800m: 7th - Violet Stich 2:44.96
4x800m Relay: 4th - Jarynn Hockett, Abby Stephenson, Violet Stich, Macie Moore 10:58.75
3200m: 2nd - Macie Moore 12:54.85
Team Scores: Labette County 102, Paola 95, Chanute 91, Fort Scott 63, Coffeyville 61, Ottawa 45, Independence 43, Iola 29, Parsons 28
* - denotes personal-best performance
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