WICHITA — The Humboldt track and field team returned home with a trio of medals from the KSHSAA State Track and Field Championships in Wichita over the weekend.
“I was pretty pleased with the way our kids performed and what we ended up accomplishing,” Humboldt head coach Eric Carlson said. “You can’t be upset if you do your best that you’ve ever done, and somebody else did just a little bit better.”
Although the Cubs managed just three medals, the all-class meet saw a number of personal-bests.
The lone lady Cubs to make the westward trip were seniors Anna Goforth and Kirstyn Murrow in the javelin. Goforth threw 111’-0” for an eighth place finish, while Murrow out-tossed her personal-best by six feet with a throw of 110’-3”.
“I thought if they got a good throw in, at least one of them could medal,” Carlson said. “So we’re really happy for Anna to be able to get a medal.”
Also living up to expectations was senior Drew Wilhite. Although Wilhite failed to make much noise in the high jump, the future Pittsburg State Gorilla took down a sixth place finish in the 400m with a time of 51.58.
“I thought for sure Drew would be a lock for a medal in the 400m, but it was going to be really difficult in the high jump,” Carlson said. “Basically, in order to medal he would’ve needed to be clean all the way through.”
Senior Levi McGowen made waves in the triple jump, bumping himself into a sixth place finish with his final jump.
“Normally with jumpers, you don’t see them get better (as the meet goes on),” Carlson said. “A lot of times, you see them get a little bit worse as they go through the jumps, but Levi did the exact opposite.”
McGowen’s first jump of 41’-2.25” landed him in eighth place after three jumps, enough to jump again in the finals. After the first jump of finals pushed him off of the podium, McGowen tensed up. But, after securing his place in the top-8 with a jump of 42’-5.25”, McGowen unloaded on his final jump to move up the podium steps even further.
“Oh yeah, it for sure took off a little bit of stress,” McGowen said. “I was kinda putting a lot of pressure on myself because I really wanted to succeed. But when I saw that (I had placed), I signaled to my coach like ‘we’re safe.’ And I hit that last one, jumped the PR, and put myself in sixth.”
McGowen now looks ahead to competing at Butler County CC, jumping as a Grizzly.
On a less stellar note, junior Maddox Johnson failed to make the podium in his pair of events. After tossing the javelin nearly 20 feet past his flight-mates during warmups, Johnson failed to land a measured throw inbounds.
“We thought he threw it close to 170, which would have been a huge PR and enough for a medal,” Carlson said. “I think he was just trying so hard to get a good one, that he tried to overthrow it.”
Both Johnson and his coach knew a medal in the shot put would be even tougher. Johnson threw a near-PR of 45’-5.25”, but missed the podium by nearly five feet.
“We knew it was going to be tough, but he finished higher than what he went in ranked at, so that’s always a plus,” Carlson said.
After switching the team’s training focus to sprinting over the last season, Carlson has no plans of changing his mindset, and looks forward to where the team is headed for next year.
“If you look at the 18 events, take out the 800m, 4x800m, mile and two-mile, most of your events have some type of sprint or explosive aspect to them,” Carlson said. “We’ve gotta coach up the younger kids and get them in positions where they can be successful and get them to the state tournament next year.”
Girls Javelin: 8th - Anna Goforth (111’-0”) 10th - Kirstyn Murrow (110’-3”)
Boys 400m: 6th - Drew Wilhite (51.58)
Boys High Jump: 16th - Drew Wilhite (5’-8”)
Boys Triple Jump: 6th - Levi McGowen (42’-6.75”)
Boys Shot Put: 12th - Maddox Johnson (45’-5.25”)
Boys Javelin: DNF - Maddox Johnson (FOUL)