Mustangs gallop to Marv Smith Invitational crown

Iola High's track and field athletes put up several high marks at the Marv Smith Invitational Tuesday at Riverside Park in Iola. The squad is back in action Tuesday at Osawatomie.



April 28, 2021 - 10:20 AM

Iola High’s Jesse Taylor carries the baton as part of the Mustangs’ 4x800-meter relay team earlier this season. The squad qualified Friday for the upcoming State Track Meet in Wichita. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Dana Daugharthy could think of no better location for the Iola High boys track team to pick up the first-ever meet championship than at home, at the Marv Smith Invitational.

“Ever since Marv passed the head coaching baton to me in 2013, our boys have never won a varsity track meet,” Daugharthy said. “It did not matter how big or how small the meet was. We just never had the talent to be able to succeed as a team. We had plenty of good pieces along the way,” but never enough in terms of quantity to qualify for a team title.

That changed on Tuesday, with Iola’s home extravaganza.

The Mustang athletes claimed six individual gold medals on the way to winning the team event, outscoring runner-up Anderson County, 146.5 to 127.5.

“It was a beautiful sight to see,” Coach Daugharthy said.

Brett Willis continued his sterling season with wins in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as winning the long jump and taking fourth in the triple jump.

“What I really enjoy about Brett is that when I asked him how he did, he was upset at his performance,” Daugharthy said. “That’s because he is looking not at what place he gets, but instead at his individual performance. He wants to set a personal record in every event, every single meet. That is the mind of a competitor, and perfect example of what a Mustang should be.”

Jack Adams cruised to the 800-meter run victory, and likely would have challenged for the 1600-meter crown, but Daugharthy said he forgot to enter the speedy senior into the event.

“It’s a shame, because I really wanted to see him race against the Anderson County kid who won the event.”

Anderson County’s Riley Hedges ran a blistering 4 minutes, 50.7 seconds to win by 4 seconds over second-place finisher, Iola’s Jesse Taylor.

Evan Casner, meanwhile, led all-comers in the 110-meter hurdles, while placing fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

“We are pleased with the progress Evan has made, and the optimistic part is that he still has a lot of room to grow.”

Henrik Sieh won the pole vault, clearing the bar at 8 feet, his best mark since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, Jack Adams teamed with Taylor, Riley Jay and Eli Adams ran away with the 4×800-meter relay gold, beating all-comers by a full 35 seconds.

Jay, meanwhile, took second in the 800-meter run and third in the 1600.

Kobe Lord set a personal record in the 200-meter dash to take second. He also finished fourth in the long jump, despite battling lingering injuries.

Kaster Trabuc took silver in the 3200-meter run, as did Iola’s 4×100-meter relay team of Tyler Crane, Lord, Casner and Japheth Rutoh). 

With Willis’s heavy workload, Daugharthy inserted Rutoh in his place for the 4×100.

“We did not know how they would do without Brett,” Daugharthy said. “As it turns out, it worked very well. Japheth did a nice job of filling in and running very smoothly.