WESTON, Mo. — Santa Fe senior Ethan Keuhn was all smiles after taking second in the 3,200-meter run on Saturday at the Class 1 Sectional 3 track and field meet. He was also in amazement.
Standing after the race next to the water cooler, Keuhn explained that he didn’t think it was possible for the second-place finisher in a sectional meet to nearly get lapped, but that was what Nodaway Valley sophomore Riley Blay had nearly done to him in the 88-degree heat of Weston on Saturday.
Keuhn hopes to be in the mix for a state medal at next week’s MSHSAA Class 1 State Championships, but Saturday’s performance by Blay left little doubt in Keuhn’s mind who would be on top of that podium.
Blay braved the heat on Saturday as the only runner to compete in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races and he won them all. The races total 14 laps around the track.
He managed a school record in the 1,600-meter run as well with a 4:29.47 to break his brother Tyler Blay’s school record. His time was the fastest of the day in the mile and two mile including the Class 2 competitors.
“My goal was to compete with the Class 2 kids from time to time,” Blay said of the 1,600. “So Charlie Kinslow (of West Platte) went 4:33, so I tried to match that and ended up going 4:29 and PR’ing.”
Blay continues to lead Class 1 in all three events going into Friday and Saturday’s Class 1 Championships in Jefferson City.
“It feels really good,” Blay said. “I know there is going to be tough competition at state in the 800, mile and 2-mile, but I’m up for the challenge. I trust my training and we will see what happens.”
Senior James Herr joined Blay as a sectional champion on Saturday by avenging last week’s second-place finish to Worth County’s Alex Rinehart. Two of the top-4 javelin tossers in Class 1 have developed a friendly rivalry this season.
“It feels pretty nice,” Herr said. “I wouldn’t say it is bragging rights or anything, but it is definitely something to bring up in a conversation.”
Herr was able to post a season best with a 49.6-meter (162-foot-9) toss. The mark moves him from second in Class 1 this season.
“The throw felt good,” Herr said. “Just working on my footwork is the only thing now to improve my throws.”
The third member of the Thunder going to state next week is senior Dawson Fast. Fast was busy on Saturday with four events and managed to qualify in two.
Fast took second in the high jump to return to state in that event. Last season, he was ninth at the state meet — missing a medal by one spot.
“All I know is that I just want to stand on that podium,” Fast said.
Fast will also participate on the track this season after placing second in the 400-meter dash.
Platte Valley qualified for state in three boys events with the 4x800-meter relay team of Ethan Holtman, Jacob Peery, Justin Miller and Micah Wolfe taking fourth at sectionals.
Miller and Wolf also qualified in individual events with Miller taking fourth in the triple jump and Wolf taking fourth in the 3,200-meter run. Miller, a freshman, has split time between baseball and track this spring, but found success in both.
“I think he is just a great athlete,” Platte Valley coach Amy Holtman said. “He has worked on some of that on his own and he is so active in his other sports that he was able to bring that endurance in and add to that 4x8.”