The majesty of the Kansas state track & field meet at Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State came across loud and clear watching the last few hours of competition Saturday on Cox Kansas 22.
What a joy to watch standout athletes like, for example, Lawrence Free State junior Alexa Harmon-Thomas (daughter of late NFL Hall of Famer and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas), who earned three gold medals (100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump) and a silver (high jump) in Class 6A.
Crawford County had two state track champions this past weekend: Northeast sophomore Kaylee Bogina won the 2A 3,200-meter run on Friday and Girard freshman Drew Davied won the 4A high jump on Saturday.
Both events were early in the day, jumpstarting their respective days.
Davied matched his personal best and school record mark of 6 feet, 8 inches to win the title.
The other state champion high jumpers elevated no higher than Davied — Grady Derryberry of Madison 6-6 in 1A, Josh Burdine of Solomon 6-7 in 2A, Nick Camper of Caney Valley 6-6 in 3A, Adam Deterding of Hays 6-8 in 5A and Kai Shean of Olathe North 6-8 in 6A. Davied was the only underclassman in this bunch and Derryberry, Burdine, Deterding and Shean are seniors.
Davied is not the first state champion high jumper from Girard — Bill Garrett won three state titles and set the school record at 6-8, which also once served as the state record, and Morgan High won three state titles before she enjoyed a collegiate career at Kansas State.
Other past area high jumpers of recent renown include Fort Scott’s Kyle Lancaster (another stellar career at Kansas State) and Colgan’s Greg Clawson.
By the way, how many freshmen won individual state track titles in 2013?
Davied was the only male and one of a mere six — Brandi Jo Roepke of Valley Heights (1A — 100, 200, 400), Santana Reeves of South Barber (1A — 1600, 3200), Claire Theis of Kingman (3A — 400), Cameron Gueldner of Olathe Northwest (6A — 3200) and Breanna Eckels of Wichita Southeast (6A — triple jump).
Bogina won her first state title and joined her older brother Austin as state champion; Austin Bogina won a state title in cross country in 2010. Kaylee Bogina finished sixth in the 1,600 on Saturday.
Her older cousin J.T. Richardson finished second in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump over the weekend.
Her mother, Tracey, coaches track & field at Fort Scott High and Tracey (Keith) Bogina collected multiple state medals in the 1,600 and the 3,200 for Fort Scott in the 1980s. Northeast head coach and aunt Piper (Keith) Richardson medaled at state in the 400 for the Tigers.
With data collected from the KSHSAA Yearbook, Northeast won individual state titles from Robert Skeen in the 3A boys 800 in 1980 (1:58.0, then a new record) and Kellie Hopkins (found three different spellings for her first name — Kellie, Kelley and Kelli — but Kellie was the one used for the Honor Roll) in the 3A girls long jump in 1981.
Page 2 of 2 - Hopkins enjoyed a two-year run at state: first in the long jump (17-6 1/2) and seconds in the 100, 200 and 400 in 1981, then second in the long jump, 100, 200 and 400 in 1982. She helped Northeast finish third in 1981 (36 points) and fifth in 1982 (30).
Kennie Baker medaled three years in the girls discus: sixth in 1999, fifth in 2001 and fifth in 2002.
Back to Kaylee Bogina.
Among state title times in the 3,200, Bogina had the fifth-best winning time — behind Katren Rienbolt of Fort Scott (11:25.13), Jordan Puvogel, Hiawatha (11:22.59), Cameron Gueldner of Olathe Northwest (11:17.63) and Kaelyn Balch of Bishop Carroll (10:56.70). Bogina would have placed first in 1A, third in 3A, second in 4A, fifth in 5A and sixth in 6A based on her 11:32.70 time.
Rienbolt won state titles in the 1,600, the 3,200 and cross country in the fall.