PAOLA — Even when the rain starts moving in, members of the Paola track and field program are out pounding the pavement.

It has been a nice spring for the most part, which has been good for practices, Paola Panther coach Mike Smith said.

Everyone is a year behind, trying to make up ground on a lost season, Smith said.

“Practices have been going well with good weather to get outside and get working on our events,” Smith said. “We have a lot of work to do since the season was cut short last spring. Our athletes missed a whole season of development.”

The Paola track and field program boasts a roster with 100 student-athletes.

Distance runner Darian Hudgeons, a state placer, is back to run the 4x800-meter relay, as well as the 1,600 and 3,200.

Marina Johnson, who signed with Fort Hays, will run the 4x400-meter relay, the 800 and the 4x800-meter relay. She is a state placer.

Hailey Schlup, a returning state placer, is back in the triple and long jump.

McKenzie Kuehl placed at state in the javelin. She is also throwing the discus.

Morgan Clark will be competing for the Lady Panthers in the high jump. Tristin Bright will compete in the sprints and jumps.

Other veterans back for the girls are Kenzie Palmer, shot put; Emersyn Smith, javelin; Kailyn Younger, pole vault; Kylee Slyter, hurdles; Anna Phillips, sprints; and Dakiah Yates, sprints.

Newcomers to watch are Maddie Pitzer, Maggie Kauk, Taryn Marcum, Hazel Downum, Jade Meade, Lauden Wilson and McKayla White.

The Panther boys return eight veterans in the field and on the track.

Bo Robison is back in the javelin. Jake Karr will run the hurdles and throw the discus. Brock Pitzer will run the sprints.

Carter Stanchfield returns to throw the shot put and the discus. Damarius Bassett will throw the shot put. Isaac Brakner is back to compete in the shot put.

Caden Rhamy returns for the throwing events. Isaac Earlywine is back in the pole vault.

Newcomers on the boys side to watch are Tanner Petillo, distance; Cutter Meade, distance; Landon Taylor, hurdles; Andy Linder, sprints; and Chris Loahus Faust, sprints.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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