By CONOR NICHOLL
Girard’s 400 relay, which features junior Ainsley Norton, senior Gracie Peterson, senior Ranie Paulin, and sophomore Zoee Montgomery, broke the previous school record of 50.5 by running a 50.41 last Friday at the Shawnee Mission North Relays. The Trojans have made significant strides in the event after they did not qualify in the 400 relay for the 3A state meet last season.
Girard took seventh out of 20 teams at the prestigious relays in the event. The Trojans were by far the smallest schools among the top competitors in the 400 relay. Girard finished behind a litany of 4-6A schools, including champion Blue Valley North (48.13), St. James Academy (49.08), Olathe East (49.27), Olathe West (49.54), Olathe North (49.55), Olathe Northwest (49.96).
That time would have finished third at 3A state last spring. Girard did not qualify for state in the event in 2022. In ’21, the Trojans took eighth in 51.58. Norton was a freshman, and Peterson a senior on that team.
Blue Valley North’s mark is the best time for all classes, per Kansas historian Carol Swenson’s weekly state wide list released Tuesday. Girard is currently third in 3A behind Riverton (49.79) and Eureka (50.26).
Additionally, Gracie Peterson took fifth in the long jump at 17-2.75. She was eighth in the triple jump at 34-7. Norton was 14th in the 300 hurdles in 49.72. She took 12th in the pole vault at 9-6. The 1,600 relay was 16th at 4:17.27. Those were the best Girard finishes at the Relays, generally considered the state’s biggest regular season high school-only meet.
Last year, Stevens was 14th in 3A in 2:32.39. The 1,600 relay was 13th in 4:21.27 with Paulin, Norton and Claire Stevens. The 3,200 relay was 15th. Norton tied for ninth in the pole vault at 9-6.
Girard did not run a 400 relay at the Arma-Northeast meet May 2. The Trojans posted a winning time of 50.64 seconds – well ahead of runner-up Pittsburg’s 52.18 – on April 28. At the April 21 Fredonia meet, Girard did not have a 400 relay or at the April 18 Columbus meet.
Girard posted 50.72 seconds to take second to Riverton’s 49.79, which remains 3A’s best time.