Edmonds’ bid for third crown falls short in Wichita
If only WaKeeney had a few more students enrolled this year.
Because of lower enrollment, the Golden Eagles dropped from Class 3A to 2A.
That meant WaKeeney junior Erin Locke would race against a strong incumbent in the state 800 meters.
McLouth's Courtney Edmonds was the two-time defending state champion, but the senior's final attempt at gold wasn't as sweet.
Edmonds led after the race's first lap, but Locke went to work during the second lap and built a substantial lead. The gap shortened in about the final 250 meters and Edmonds went into her final kick with 150 meters left, but so did Locke.
The junior, who placed sixth a year before in 3A, knocked Edmonds from her perch. Locke turned in a time of 2 minutes, 19.71 seconds, while Edmonds was second with a 2:21.11 time.
"That's a humbling experience in front of that many people," Edmonds said. "I definitely didn't have as much as the other girls."
A year ago, Edmonds took first in the 800 and third in the 1,600. This season, Locke won the 800 and finished as runner-up in the 1,600.
Edmonds hoped to compete in the 400 at state as well, but was disqualified at regionals on her home track a week before. Edmonds, who runs the event from the standing position instead of out of the blocks, waited for the starter to shoot his gun. She thought the starter's delay before sounding the gun was longer, and as she leaned forward, she couldn't keep her balance and fell forward.
For the senior who will run track at Kansas in college, the trip to Wichita was bittersweet.
"I'm definitely going to miss the third banner on the wall," Edmonds said, referring to a final state 800 banner in the McLouth High gymnasium.
Fellow Bulldog Matt Scarlett didn't win his event, but considering his competition, he wasn't disappointed.
The junior took third in the 3,200 behind Delaware Valley League foe Eric Wellman and Meade's Theron Stoltzfus. Wellman, who is from Horton, finished in 10:13.36, a good distance ahead of Stoltzfus at 10:22.16 and Scarlett at 10:35.86.
"I've ran against him in almost every meet, so I've never gotten a chance to win," Scarlett said with a chuckle.
Next year, that won't be a problem.
The Chargers will lose Wellman to graduation, but Scarlett will return for his senior campaign next spring.
The girls 4x400 relay also competed at state, but the team missed the finals by one place.
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