The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 22, 2013

Riverton's Dunbar won't be limited at state track

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

RIVERTON, Kan. — MacKenzie Dunbar says she is the type of person who doesn’t like to limit her experiences.

So after qualifying for state in the mile and 800 as a freshman, sophomore and junior — and adding a qualification in the 400 last year — Dunbar decided to give sprints a shot, too.

It has worked out well for her.

Dunbar, a Riverton senior, will compete in four events this weekend at the Class 3A level at the Kansas state track and field meet at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium.

She won the 400, 800 and 1600 and took third in the 200 at last week’s regional meet.

“I’m the kind of person who wants to try everything,” she said Tuesday after a workout at Riverton High School. “I knew at the end of last year I wanted to try sprints. The 100, I wasn’t too good at. But the 200, I felt like I could make it so I stuck with it.”

Dunbar, who has signed to play basketball at Neosho County Community College, took third in the state in the 800 and fifth in the 1600 last season.

The goal this year, she said, is placing in all four events.

“This is the first year I’ve made it in all four. I just want to go out there and run the best I can,” she said. “I’ve learned that I can’t stress out about it or I won’t do as good as I want. I have to go out there and have fun and make it as fun as I can since this is my last year.”

Other Riverton qualifiers

The Rams will send a group to state on the boys side, led by the 4x800 relay team of junior Ben Root, freshman Trystan Allen, junior Jacob Qualls and senior Blake Burlingame.

The team — the bulk of which is making its third straight trip to state — won the 3A regional with a time of 8 minutes, 40.39 seconds.

“We started out a bit rough but we’ve gradually been getting better,” Root said. “With all of our hard practice, we’ve recently made a big jump in our time.”

Allen qualified in the 3200 while Ryan Schultz advanced in the triple jump after just four weeks of competing in the event

Grant North and Andrew Burlingame each qualified in the high jump.

Henson leads Galena effort

A year after taking eighth in the 100 as a freshman, Jessica Henson is returning to Wichita in multiple events.

The sophomore is back in the 100, where she is seeded ninth with a time of 13 seconds flat, which won the Wellsville regional. She also won the 200 with a time of 27.6 seconds and was third in the long jump with a distance of 15 feet. She  will also compete as part of the 4x100 relay team.

Baxter Springs speedster

Kacey Elias positioned himself nicely to take home some hardware in the 4A sprints.

The senior won the 200 and the 400 at the regional in Iola. His 200 time of 22.42 seconds seeds him third in the state field while his 400 time of 49.97 is second in the state field.

Columbus qualifiers

Erik Jones will Columbus’ effort at state, qualifying in the 100 and 200 with fourth-place regional finishes in each.

He is also part of the 4x100 team — along with Jace McDown, Jordan Morgan and Zackary Roark — that qualified with a third-place regional finish.

Super freshman

Girard rookie Drew Davied qualified in the high jump by clearing 6-6 and wining the Iola regional. That height seeds him third in the state field, behind the 6-8 of Andale’s Garrison LeRock.

Davied, however, has cleared 6-8 this season, winning the CNC league meet with that mark.