The hardest part about state track and field is getting there.
For the McPherson High Bullpups, it’s going to be a difficult task advancing a wave of performers, but they certainly have the talent to do it.
“Looks like it’s going to be a stacked regional,” said MHS coach Jace Pavlovich, whose team competes on Thursday at Andale, a meet that also includes Class 4A titans Buhler and Andover Central.
The action begins at 2 p.m.
Pavlovich would not be surprised if this regional produces a state team champion, not to mention a lot of gold-medal performers at next week's state meet at Wichita.
Here’s a look at some of the Bullpups who have a shot at advancing as the Top 4 finishers in each event move on. Also, Smoky Valley is going to be a factor and its top performers are listed as well.
• GIRLS •
100 — MHS' Emma Ruddle ranks third going in at 12.51. Kasidee Eck of Andale leads the way at a blazing 12.0. Smoky Valley’s Amanda Behanna is fourth at 12.6.
400 — MHS’ Emma Malm is No. 3 at 1:02.9. Wellington’s Taylor McGlothlin has a 58.91 for the top time.
800 — Smoky Valley’s Ellise Peterson is No. 5 at 2:29.93.
1600 — Peterson is the one to beat here. She has the best time of 5:26.95.
100 hurdles — Ruddle is No. 1 at 14.49 and the Bullpups' Avery Howard is No. 3 (15.43).
300 hurdles — Smoky’s Kerington Haxton has a 47.6 to her credit for third, but Andale’s Amy Smarsh is at 45.07.
4 x 100 relay — MHS and Smoky Valley are 2-3, but Andale is going to be tough to catch. MHS runners are Elle Barrett, Kenzie Goering, Jordan Bailey and Ruddle. Smoky has Haxton, Belle Peters, Addie Heitschmidt and Behanna.
4 x 400 relay — Smoky should be tough here with Peters, Peterson, Heitschmidt and Haxton as that group is second.
Pole vault — Smoky’s Peters is one of the state’s best and has a 12-10 to rank among the best in Kansas.
Long jump — MHS’ Barrett has a state title to her credit and is a foot better than anybody in the field.
Triple jump — Barrett (38-11 3/4) is seeking her third state title. MHS also has Goering and Autumn Allen as this has been a powerhouse event for the Bullpups.
• BOYS •
100 — Smoky’s Timmy Lambert is the best in the regional at a blazing 10.6. MHS’ Brandon Yowell ran 10.88 last week.
200 — Lambert again. He has a meet-best 22.58 to his credit while Yowell goes in fifth at 23.01.
110 hurdles — The Bullpups’ Tyson Stites is one of the best in the class with a regional-best 14.67.
300 hurdles — Lambert is a star. He’s No. 1 going in at 38.38, a stunning time.
4 x 100 relay — Yowell, Talyn Huff, Kollin Goering and Jace Kinnamon have been among the best in 4A, but Kinnamon is doubtful due to a pulled hamstring.
Long jump — Aaron Powell of the Bullpups is No. 3 going in at 21-4.
Triple jump — MHS’ Devin Cape ranks No. 2 going in at 43-5 1/2, but is 2 feet behind Buhler’s potential state champion Brandon Webb.
Javelin — McPherson's Cody Stufflebean is a potential noise-maker, as he’s third at 181-4, though nobody figures to catch Buhler’s Braden Rose (191-4).