Making himself at home
Soon-to-be Shocker Annis wins state gold in 4A long jump.
By KEVIN THOMPSON
WICHITA — Cessna Stadium, home of the state high school track meet, will soon be the next home for Ulysses jumper Tate Annis.
On Friday, he gave himself a house warming gift by winning the 4A state long jump gold medal.
And Moscow's Rigo Bustillos lived up to his top billing as the state's top 1A shot putter, as he, too, won gold.
Their performances highlighted opening day for the area 4A-1A boys, while a number of area athletes were medal winners and finals qualifiers.
Annis, who will run track for Wichita State next year, won with a first jump of 23-2, a quarter inch shy of his personal best, which he set on the second jump in the prelims.
"I've been struggling to get over that 22-10 (the school record he set in Lakin three weeks ago), and came out here today just relaxed and loose," Annis said.
In the prelims, Annis scratched on his first jump but said he still felt good off the boards. He adjusted on the next jump and went 23-2.75.
He knew he'd hit a good jump then but didn't realize how good until his mark was posted.
Last year, he finished a disappointing sixth, so this year he said he was stronger and more mentally prepared.
"After I saw that 23, I knew I was on," he said.
Moments later, he qualified in the 200 meters in 22.57, the fastest time of the day in 4A.
Bustillos came into the state meet with the best throw in 1A, and he didn't disappoint in his return trip to state, winning with a 48-3.
"I wasn't as nervous as I was last year," the senior said. "I felt like throwing today."
Bustillos said his competition, especially three Lacrosse throwers who finished second, fourth and fifth, inspired him.
Though not his best throw, he said it was great to win.
He stayed loose, got some good warmups and practices, and shot for a personal record.
While he didn't get the PR, he got the gold by just more than a foot.
Bustillos hit the winning throw on his first throw.
Lakin's Robert Aparicio, affected by the early morning swirling winds, placed second in the 3A pole vault, jumping 13-0, a foot below his regional qualifying personal best mark.
Tyler Proffitt of Hillsboro won the event at 14-0.
Aparicio said 14-6 was his target height, but the wind had other plans.
"The wind was swirling in this stadium," he said. "It affected my steps. I wanted first, but second is OK for now."
Last year, he placed eighth with the same height. As a junior, he was hoping for higher. A year of experience made him ready to vault among the state's best.
"I wasn't nervous, like last year," he said. "Judging by my vaults in practice (this week), I could have got 14-6."
Lakin coach Jeff Fuss said the swirling winds were different from the stronger, more directional winds they are used to in western Kansas.
"It was really hard to get a beat on what our steps were, and all the kids were struggling," he said. "But Robert's strong mentally. He didn't let it bother him. He fought through it. He hung tough, and the other kids didn't."
The Holcomb boys had a good day in qualifying.
Tyler LaSalle qualified in the 400 meters and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
He also placed sixth in the long jump at 20-11.75.
Heath Tucker qualified for the finals in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, as well as the 4x400 relay.
Michael Banderas, while he did not qualify for the 400 finals, ran legs on both qualifying relay teams, along with Aaron Hernandez.
LaSalle ran a 50.48 in the 400, the third fastest qualifying time. Tanner McNutt of Humboldt ran the fastest at 49.24.
"I felt a little tired, but I ran it just like always do ¬-- hard" he said. "Good thing I had a fast heat. I qualified with a fast enough time, so I'm happy."
The Longhorns ran a 44.44 in the 4x100 relay, the third fastest time in prelims.
"Our handoffs could have gone a little better, but everything was pretty smooth," Hernandez said. "(Saturday) we're going to be chasing Phillipsburg. They had the fastest time (43.14). We'll chase them and see what happens."
The two-time defending champions in the 4x400, Holcomb ran a prelim best 3:26.85, the fastest for this group.
LaSalle, Banderas and Tucker were all part of last year's title team, and this year they added Hernandez as the second leg.
LaSalle handed off to Hernandez in first, who got passed on his second curve. But Banderas got the lead back on his first turn and got the Longhorns a 2-second lead that Tucker maintained.
"We were just trying to qualify. We weren't thinking about making anything special happen, but we told each other we were going to get after it and that's what happened," Banderas said.
The second-to-first strategy is what last year's group did, too, he added.
"It's just to put me in a position where I can make something and put us in a position where the anchor can make something special happen, too," he said.
A title repeat today looks promising, Banderas said.
"We're ready to go and compete again," he said.
Tucker ran a 38.97 in the 300 hurdles, the second fastest time behind Hutchinson Trinity's Cordell Goering's 38.86, but it was disappointing from a strategic standpoint.
"I was trying to get the inside, so I would get to run off of him, so now I guess I'll just have to out-run him (Saturday)," he said.
Tucker said he hit "quite a few" of the hurdles and had to stride out with his steps.
"It felt good, but I should have run a little faster," he said.
He already had run a relay and hurdle prelim (a third-best 15.45 in the 110-meter hurdles), and he finished with the 4x400 relay. He will run all four today, but he will have more time between each.
"Thank goodness. The extra time is going to be key," he said, still breathing hard after the longer hurdle race.
Quinn Kendrick of Stanton County placed fifth in the long jump at 20-5, then ran across the field to compete in the pole vault, where he placed second, battling rival Kyle Dupree of Syracuse, who finished third.
Kendrick came in at 13-6 on his first jump, then cleared 14-0 on his third attempt before missing at 14-6.
Dupree, who finished seventh in the long jump, left that venue after his second attempt to make his first attempt at 12-6 on the pole vault, which he cleared on his first try. He also cleared 13 on his first try after his final long jump. But, like Kendrick, Dupree also jumped 14 on his third attempt and missed at 14-6.
"It was better than last year," Kendrick said, after placing fifth then at 13-6. "My last couple of jumps, I drove a little more. I should have had my standards back."
Winning was his goal, he added, and second place wasn't sitting well immediately after.
"But I felt pretty good," he said. "Wind wasn't an issue."
Sublette's 4x100 relay qualified for today's finals, as did Hugoton's Patrick Weaver in the 400. He also looks to defend his 800-meter title this afternoon.