WICHITA — It came down to the final jump.
McPherson High’s Elle Barrett needed a big final jump in the finals of the Class 4A triple jump on Saturday at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium to defend her state championship.
Knowing it was her final attempt, she bounded a personal-record 37-9 1/2 to outlast Jefferson West’s Mariah Murdie, whose best jump was 37-7 1/2.
Barrett has three state championships as she won both the triple and long jump last year. She didn’t defend her long jump title Saturday despite going 17-3 3/4 as Andover Central’s Jewell Bolden was the top triple jumper in all classes by going 18-7. Barrett, though, was second to give her 18 points in the jumping events.
The MHS girls scored a chunk of points on Saturday to take fifth place as a team with 45. Andale was first with 72, while Maize South (61), Baldwin (57) and Paola (55) also finished ahead of the Bullpups.
MHS freshman Emma Ruddle had a spectacular meet by taking second in the 100 hurdles in a school-record 14.39 and was fourth in the 100 in 12.66. She also ran the anchor on the 4 x 100 relay team that was fifth in 50.19, which also included Barrett, Morgan Howard and Rilynn Anderson.
Ruddle was outlasted in the hurdles by Bolden, who had a tremendous 14.27.
More points came from Kenzie Goering, who was third in the triple jump in 36-5 3/4 despite being slowed by a hip flexor injury. She also competed in the long jump, but did not make the finals as she was 14th in 15-6.
Morgan Howard added points in the 100 hurdles as she was fifth in 15.52.
For the MHS boys, the only competitor of the day was Tyson Stites, who was seventh in the 110 hurdles in 15.62.
“I cannot think of a better sports spectacle than the state track meet,” MHS coach Jace Pavlovich said. “Where else can our kids compete in front of 10,000 people? Our kids did not let the pressure get to them.”