Pratt High track teams took 8th (girls) and 9th (boys) at last week's CKL meet.

For a number of years now, the Pratt High boys and girls track and field teams have been major forces to reckon with at the Central Kansas League meet, with quite a few consecutive titles to their credit.

This year, not so much. The girls team finished 8th and the boys team 9th. With a young team that also didn’t have as many number as other recent PHS track and field squads, the results were perhaps not unexpected, but it’s still not easy to swallow for a team with the tradition that Pratt High had built up.

“This was a good learning experience for our kids,” said PHS head track and field coach Derek Liggett. “Obviously we want to finish higher than 8th out of 11 teams at our conference meet, but the good news is we have all but 4 kids coming back next year.  I talked to quite a few kids yesterday and they have a better understanding for what they need to do in the next year to be more successful next season.”

“We have a great group of kids to work with,” Liggett added. “While we would like to win the CKL meet every year, you also have to understand some years are about learning and growth and this was one of those years.”

Sian Helfrich led the girls effort with a 3-individual-medal day. Helfrich was 2nd in both the 100m 13.4 and 200m 27.3 and took 3rd in the 300mH 49.22.

Vanessa Leckner placed 5th 65.06 in the 400m.

Helfrich and Leckner along with Aubrey Meyers and Lauren Kolm got 5th in the 4x400 4:31.

In field events, Kaitlyn Rasmussen got Lady Green’s only gold medal of the day in the high jump 5’0. Rasmussen also took 5th in the long jump 14’5.

On the boys side, Brett Winsor tallied in both hurdle races: 110HH 3rd 16.06 and 300mH 5th 42.10.

The Frogs scored in two relays: T5th 4x100 45:38 (Dylan Cox, Caden Blankenship, Kadence Riner, Trent Nickelson); and 5th 4x400 3:39 (Brett Winsor, Dylan Cox, Daniel Sanchez, Trent Nickelson).

In field events, Winsor was 4th in long jump 20’0.25. Dawson Snider took 5th in discus 120’3. Camdon Nickelson T6th in pole vault 10’8. Two Greenbacks placed in javelin: Caden Blankenship 2nd 167’3 and Andres Fernandez 4th 143’9.5.

“Looking forward to next week we are going to take 12-14 kids to regionals at Andale,” Coach Liggett mentioned. “We are really going to focus kids this week on events where they have the best chance to qualify for State.  We talked last night when we got off the bus that at this point in the season we aren't going to get a lot better physically, so if they want something special to happen it is going to be better mental preparation.”

“Our main focus this week is to be for the kids to be truly excited to make something special happen,” Liggett continued.   “I tell them that every year at regionals there are a group of kids with their head down because they weren't ready to rise to the occasion, but there is also a group of kids that seem to explode because they are ready to compete in crunch time.  We just need to make sure that we spend the next 7 days getting mentally prepared to be in the latter group. (We need to) get on the bus for Andale with a purpose and not just hoping something good happens.”

The Andale 4A regional is Thursday with field events at 2 p.m.