By CONOR NICHOLL
Longtime Golden Plains coach Travis Smith knew the Bulldogs had a couple of obstacles during the regular season. Like many Kansas squads, GP faced challenging weather, including at the April 29 Quinter meet. The Quinter Invitational is one of Kansas’ larger small-school meets.
Plus, sophomore Emma Weiner missed more than two weeks with injury. Weiner famously captured the 1A state cross country championship last fall. Weiner found out later she’d competed on a broken leg.
In track, Weiner had developed a hip issue in her other leg, though Smith expected her to be a full participant in league regionals. Two days before the Western Kansas Liberty League meet, Smith had called the season successful, though knew improvement was necessary.
The girls finished fifth at the Hill City meet on April 14, and fourth at Ness City on April 25. Plus, GP girls took second at the St. Francis meet on April 26.
“Just need to get better times and distances here soon,” Smith said.
On Thursday, the Bulldogs delivered an historically dominant win in the Western Kansas Liberty League championship. GP rolled with 150 points, Wheatland-Grinnell was second at 76, while Logan was third with 73 points.
The Golden Plains boys took third. GP set a high number of personal records. Overall, Golden Plains claimed 11 league titles, ten on the girls’ side. Ethan Weiner won the boys’ 3,200 in 11:14.18.
GP was highly pleased with the performance.
At 2021 WKLL, Golden Plains girls won in a much closer contest. The Bulldogs delivered 172 points, 20 ahead of Wheatland-Grinnell. Logan was third with 49. COVID cancelled 2020 track.
In 2019, Golden Plains girls finished second at league with 125 points, five behind Wheatland-Grinnell. In 2018, GP was second with 99 points, 35 behind Northern Valley. In 2017, GP was fourth at league with 92 points. W-G won with 119.
In 2016, Northern Valley won with 129 points. Golden Plains was third at 81. In ’15, GP took fourth as W-G won 71 points ahead of the field. In ’14, GP was second with 95 points, 22 behind W-G. All archives from athletic.net.
This year, freshman Mariah Barnett finished third in the 100 dash at 14.65 seconds. Junior Sidney Taylor took fourth in the 400 at 1:10.35.
GP finished 1-2-4 in the 800 with Taylor at 2:44.05, freshman Anette Hernandez at 2:54.43 and senior Rayna Taylor with 3:07.02.
Golden Plains went 1-2-4 in the 1,600 with Weiner at 5:52.41, Hernandez at 6:14.22 and Rayna Taylor at 6:54.68.
Weiner collected the 3,200 title at 12:27.39.
Weiner posted 5:37 at Ness City on April 25 and went 5:45 at Hill City on April 14 before she had missed some time.
Rath was second in the 100 hurdles with 17.39 and won the 300 hurdles with 50.44.
GP won the 1,600 relay with 4:45.74, and the 3,200 with 11:43.09. The 1,600 relay featured Hernandez, Miller, Brantley and Sidney Taylor. The 3,200 had Rayna Taylor, Hernandez, Ava Brantley and senior Kassie Miller.
Rath captured the long jump (16-1) and triple jump (35-0.5) crowns.
Miller won the discus with 105-1 and was second in the shot put at 34-1.25. Last year, Miller threw 102-4 in the discus at league.
Notably, Rath, Miller and Barnett had significantly better marks than at the Quinter meet. Then, Rath long jumped 15-9. Miller posted 98-10 in the discus. Barnett ean 15.21 seconds in the 100.
Miller was the top player for Golden Plains’ Class 1A, Division II state runner-up basketball team this winter, recently earned a spot on the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association all-star game. The contest is June 18 at Kansas Wesleyan. She and Central Plains’ Kassidy Nixon were the lone selections from Class 1A, Division II.
In the WKLL middle school meet, Golden Plains faced weather and delays. Diego Perez won all four of his events in the 400, 1,600, long jump and triple jump. Dylan Wark captured the 800 with 2:13.63.