American Implement Western Kansas Team of the Week: Max Neeley pacing Dighton track with big pole vault


Dighton senior Max Neeley won the last two 1A state pole vault championships. Neeley has committed to Pittsburg State track and field. He opened the 2023 track season with a 15 foot, 4 inch clearance at the March 28 Cimarron meet.

Neeley is currently ranked third for all classes via longtime Kansas historian Carol Swenson’s first statewide track honor roll that was released Wednesday night. He ranks behind 5A Andover Central’s Bryce Barkdull (16-0.75) and 6A Olathe East’s Andrew Kirby (15-9). No other 1A vaulter has cleared 13-1.

Neeley easily eclipsed the field at Cimarron. No other vaulter went above 12 feet. Neeley also won the high jump at six feet. Both Dighton teams finished fifth in an eight-team meet that featured much bigger schools.

Dighton freshman Lani Speer was second in the 200-meter dash at 29.04 seconds. She also won the 300 meter hurdles in 52.40. Speer was third in the triple jump at 32 feet, 5.5 inches. Dighton seniors Carlie Speer and Jessica Whipple scored in the throws, too.

On the boys’ side, sophomore Jack Jenkinson was second in the 300 hurdles in 46.61. Senior Eli Wilkinson was second in the javelin at 143-1. He was a state qualifier in the javelin last spring. In 2022, Neeley won the 1A pole vault with a 14-6 clearance, a foot higher than anyone else. As a sophomore, Neeley won state with a 13-6 mark.

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