Pratt’s Nate Southard and Paul Harris earned another year of state seasoning and returned home with medals from the 2008 KSHSAA 4A state track and field championships at Wichita State Friday and Saturday.


Pratt’s Nate Southard and Paul Harris earned another year of state seasoning and returned home with medals from the 2008 KSHSAA 4A state track and field championships at Wichita State Friday and Saturday.
Southard placed second behind Concordia’s Dustin Schmitz in the 200M and 400M at the Colby Regional.
“I thought I had a pretty good chance of beating him,” said Southard entering the 400M state finals. “I just had to work on my form the last 50 yards or so by staying relaxed.”
At Colby, Schmitz edged the Greenback by .23 of a second.
Prior to Saturday’s finals, Southard had the second-best prelim time (50.28), and Schmitz the third (50.11). Jordan Riffel, of DeSoto, came out of prelims the fastest man (50.07).
The Greenback junior led the 400M final with 50 meters to go.
Schmitz made a move.
“I could see him out of the corner of my eye,” said Southard.
Schmitz, a junior, nudged ahead with under 25 meters left.
Did Southard tighten up when he saw Schmitz edge ahead?
“A little,” he replied.
Schmitz won in 49.70, .24 of a second ahead of Southard (49.94). Riffel was third (50.20).
Before the finals, Schmitz and Southard had the lone sub-50 second regional times.
A Southard-Schmitz reunion loomed in the 200, but they had company.
Ethan Ungles, of Andale, who terrorized 2007 opponents on the football field, had already won the state 100M crown and was a member of the Indians’ 4x100M champions.
At regionals, Schmitz defeated Southard by .10 seconds (22.50-22.60).
In Friday’s prelims in Wichita, Southard’s 23.28 was the sixth-best time. Ungles was third (22.80) and Schmitz fourth (22.80). Logan Cares, of Parsons ruled with a 22.68. He was followed by DeSoto’s Andre Linzy (23.09).
Southard saw his strength and having run one race on the afternoon advantages entering the finals.
His starts have affected his times during the regular season. The impact was felt once again.
“I had trouble with my block and they all got out really fast,” said Southard.
He has made up for slow starts with explosiveness down the stretch.
“That is usually my strong point, that is where I thought I would get them,” said Southard.
His explosiveness was neutralized by their leads.
 “They were flying ahead of me. I just tried to keep up,” he said. “I think a good start would have helped me tremendously.”
Ungles added a third title, winning in 22.64. Southard checked in fourth (23.14) and Schmitz sixth (23.38).
Southard was the only underclassmen in the top 4.
Harris took sixth in the 1600M (4:32.69). At 2007 states, his 4:46.09 gave him 11th.
“I was happy with where I placed,” said Harris after Saturday’s final. “I just wanted to place in this event.”
Colby regional champion, James Wilson, of Abilene, won the 1600M in 4:25.40, shaving just under six seconds off his regional time (4:31.38).
“Everybody went out real slowly actually and ran negative splits on the 800,” said Harris. “That is one of my better finishers as far as the 800.”
Did the junior feel good going into the 800M finals - his second of the day?
“I’ll think about that in three hours,” he said.
He was imprisoned by a pack of runners most of the 800.
There was separation the final 100 meters, but Harris could not draw the frontrunners in, finishing 13th (2:04.76).
Dillon Cowing, of Clay Center won the race (1:58.12). Tonganoxie‘s Jeremy Carlisle was second (1:58.60). Cowing and Carlisle had the best regional times.
The Greenbacks’ 4x100M relay team arrived in Wichita with the 14th-best seed time and defending state champions.
The lone holdover from the 2008 champions was Southard. Bryce Krehbiel was the team’s alternate.
In the prelims, Will Shoup, Krehbiel, Harris, and Southard needed a top 8 finish to advance. It didn’t happen. They finished in 3:37.35, the 14th-best time. At the Colby regional, they ran a 3:32.90.
Baldwin grabbed the state title (3:25.52).
Andale, the 2008 4A football champions, added the track and field team title. They were co-champions with Andover (50 points). Paola placed third (44). Pratt sat 17th (14).
The title was Andale’s second of the weekend. The Indians’ softball team won the 4A championship.