At 74, Lewis Mead was the oldest participant in the competition. He raced in the 3,000-meter walk. He said he has been race walking for 15 years and trains three times a week.
Two new meet records for the high school competition were set. Shannon Leinert of Wildwood broke the mile record in 5:11. Jared Huske of Topeka, Kan. broke the 60-meter hurdles record in 7.91 seconds.
Four different high school athletes qualified for the Nike Indoor Championships. Huske, Orlando Slater of Waynesville, Thomas Brown from the Kingdom Track Club and Eric Rogers of Florissant all qualified in the 60-meter dash. Huske also qualified in the 60-meter hurdles.
This year’s estimated 650 participants were more than double the amount that competed last year. Coach Dr. Rick McGuire says there is a reason for that.
“If it’s really nice out or if there is an ice storm, not as many people will come out,” he said. “But if it’s a normal winter day like today, then there will be a big crowd.”
The Topeka Blazers made a 3-hour drive from Kansas to compete in the All-Comers meet. The team was formed last year and has had competitors ranging in age from 2 to 21.
Coach Roman Riley said he entered his team in the event to give his athletes tougher, and older, competition. He hoped this would prepare them for meets later in the year. He said the team was formed to broaden the chances the athletes have at receiving college scholarships by giving them another skill to impress colleges.