“Small school luck?” Boys track proves otherwise


Drew Hanson, Lead Editor

“They’re good here, but wouldn’t stack up at a 5A school.” 

“They’re small school talented.” 

“They’d be nobodies at a school like South or Central.” 

These phrases are all too common when describing athletes at Southeast of Saline by doubters both inside and outside school premises. Unfortunately for said doubters, this year’s boys track and field team is making them look wildly wrong. 

Special talent- not “small school luck with no competition” was evident at the Saline County Invitational. The invitational is self explanatory; it pits each of the Saline County schools: Salina South, Salina Central, Sacred Heart, Ell Saline, and Southeast of Saline against each other, making for a high intensity season opener. 

Despite South and Central being much larger, Southeast destroyed the field, putting up eleven first place finishes. Three athletes had multiple first place wins. Sophomore Michael Murray won the long jump (21-04) and the 100 meter dash (10.97). Junior Dylan Sprecker simultaneously broke the school and meet records for the 1600 meter run, finishing in 4:24.33. He also won the 800 with a time of 2:01.10. Junior Chase Poague dominated the hurdles, winning the 110mH (15.74) and the 300mH (43.09). 

Also winning gold was Kanin Elkins in the 400 meter dash (55.99), Grant Stumph in the high jump (6.0), Nakari Morrical-Palmer in the 200 meter dash (24.01), and Dominic Jacskon in the 3200 meter run (10:07.83). 

With three straight cross country state championships, distance depth was to be expected.

 Luke Gleason finished second in both the 1600 and 800 meter runs, and Joel Kejr grabbed second place in the 3200 meter run. Distance was far from the only area depth was impressive, however. The Trojans routed the 100 meter dash field, with Murray, Mccvay, and Poague going 1-2-3 in the event. Grant Stumph was second in the 110mH as well. The 4×400 relay of Gleason, Morrical-Palmer, Elkins, and Sprecker blew the field out of the water, finishing in 3:35.43. That mark is #1 in 3A and #6 all classes, according to Kansas Milesplit.com. In fact, multiple Trojans lead the 3A rankings following season openers. Michael Murray, Dylan Sprecker, Chase Poague, and Dominic Jackson all appear on the 3A leaderboards for their performances. Do take this with a grain of salt, however, as meet conditions and competition causes times to fluctuate. 

The pandemic made this meet the first competition in two years for seniors and juniors, and the first for sophomores. The senior class went from being 16 year old sophomores in their last meet to three of them being division two college track athletes (McVay, Gleason, Jackson). In addition, a 10.97 100 meter high school debut is almost unheard of, but athletic sophomore Michael Murray handily delivered. “Michael is very athletic and our hope is that he can provide us points in the sprints, jumps and relays,” said head coach Wade Caselman.

The boys have set their goals for the season high. “We can win gold at the state meet in the 1600m 3200m 4×800 and 4×400,” said senior Luke Gleason. Head coach Wade Caselman had similar prospects. “Our success this year in the hunt for a state trophy will be a team effort, not just one person,” said Caselman.