McPherson track returns to competition

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
McPherson freshman Jayla McCloud and Newton senior Alexis Valle-Ponds finish 1-2 in the 100-meter dash in the Newton Invitational. The two also finished 1-2 in the 200-meter dash.
McPherson senior Hayden Wallace competes in the shot put at the Newton Invitational. McPherson competes Thursday at the Andale Invitational.
McPherson senior Brycen Labertew wins the 110-meter high hurdles at the Newton Invitational. The Bullpup boys finished third in the team standings, while the girls were second.
Buhler junior Wesley Miller takes third in the shot put in the Newton Invitational. The Buhler boys were second in the team standings.

NORTH NEWTON — The McPherson High School girls’ track team built a two-point lead going into the final event of the Newton Invitational Monday at Thresher Stadium on the Bethel College campus.

The problem was, McPherson was open in the final event — the 4x400-meter relay. Newton placed second in the event to edge McPherson 158-152 for the team title. Buhler was third at 137, followed by Wichita North at 32 and Bishop Carroll at 28.

In the boys’ competition, Newton won at 211, followed by Buhler at 177, McPherson at 96, Wichita North at 20 and Bishop Carroll at three.

“We have a 4x4 team, but honestly, we’re not worried about team goals right now,” McPherson coach Jace Pavlovich said. “We’re working on individual form in practice and getting ready to compete. I felt like both the boys and girls did that tonight. Hopefully Thursday at Andale, we’ll have our 4x4 ready to run.”

The meet was the first for the Bullpups since the state meet of 2019. Last season was canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s almost like starting over again,” Pavlovich said. “We’re teaching kids how to get into the blocks and the different skills associated with track and field. It’s kind of refreshing. We’ve got a bunch of young kids. They’re fun to coach.”

Jayla McCloud and Courtney Eickbush were double-winners for McPherson.

McCloud won the 100-meter dash in 13.02 and the 200-meter dash in 27.54.

Eickbush won the 1,600-meter run in 6:08.77, followed by Evie Elder in third in 6:30.61. Eickbush won the 3,200-meter run in 14:02.55, followed by Elder in second in 14:31.48.

Katie Berg won the shot put in 36-9 1/2, followed by Grace Pyle in second in 35-7. Pyle won the javelin in 107-5. Berg was third in the discus in 98-5.

Emily Whorton won the 400-meter run in 1:03.80. Whorton took third in the high jump in 5-0.

Aislyn Soukup won the 100-meter high hurdles in 16.81.

McPherson took second in the 4x100-meter relay in 53.74.

Harper Smith took second in the 300-meter low hurdles in 51.98, followed by Mallory Holmes in third in 53.33.

For the McPherson boys, Brycen Labertew won the 110-meter high hurdles in 17.64.

Javyn Alexander took second in the 400-meter dash in 54.75, followed by Jayce Schriner in third in 55.16.

Aaron Powell was second in the long jump in 20-2 and second in the triple jump in 39-10.

Sam Becker took third in the high jump in 5-6.

Cody Achilles took second in the 3,200-meter run in 11:14.00, and third in the 1,600-meter run in 5:09.59. Braxton Bailey took third in the discus in 124-2.

“Our goals for the year is to just keep breaking personal records,” Pavlovich said. “Individually, if we keep breaking personal records, it’s going to put us in a better position towards the end of the year to make a decent state run.”

McPherson competes Thursday at the Andale Invitational.

Mark Schnabel can be reached at