Track takes first, third at Salina despite missing key athletes

Micheal Simmons, Blue M Editor-In-Chief

The Manhattan High track team came home with gold for the boys and bronze for the girls as they competed in one of their bigger meets this season at the Salina Relays on Friday.

The boys still managed to dominate despite missing two of their key athletes, junior Sam Hankins and sophomore Daniel Harkin, due to the Dakota Relays and Regional tennis. The duo are both regular first place finishers, with Hankins competing in javelin and Harkin competing in the 1600 and 3200 meter events.

While Hankins and Harkin are some of the regular top finishers, they are followed by several others, including senior Max Lansdowne.

“[Placing second] was a little bittersweet because on one hand I ran a PR and a really good time, but on the other hand, the kid who beat me is the only guy ranked ahead of me in 6A,” Lansdowne said. “Beating him would’ve been a good statement to make getting so close to the state meet.”

Lansdowne ran the 300 meter hurdles in 39.32 seconds, less than half a second away from beating his competition and taking first. Lansdowne is currently ranked second in the state for 6A and fourth overall. Lansdowne was not the only one coming home with a second place finish as junior Luke Wichman placed second in the 1600 meter with a time of 4:36.04, less than a second from overtaking first place.

While the boys had multiple close finishes ending in second place, senior Emily Keeley wanted first and got just that in both the 800 and 1600 meter event.

“[Placing first] felt good,” Keeley said. “It was a beautiful day to run. I was hoping to run 5:15 in the 1600 so it was fun to reach that goal. I also wanted to PR in the 800 but that didn’t happen, so going into the next meet that’s what I’ll be aiming for. I was super proud of the other girls who really stepped it up on the relay and I was so happy for Maddie [Purdom, senior] who ran a great 3200.”

Keeley received a new personal record in the 1600 with a time of 5:15.50, and the 800 in 2:24.56. Purdom completed the 3200 meter event with a time of 11:53.10 and a first place finish as well.

With the post season just around the corner, the moment to peak is coming quickly for the team. The team’s next meet is Thursday where they will compete for Centennial League.