Category Archives: track & field

Anatomy of a Twitter Meltdown


Emporia State track and field coach Steve Blocker tried to explain to me how, at 32 years old, he felt old.

Donald Weast, the Assistant AD ¬†for the Hornets in charge of media relations, told me about how he spent a good chunk of his day trying to decipher a 20-year-old’s Twitter posts.

Andrew Etheridge, ESU’s All-American hurdler and a Wichita Northwest product, told me it was all a misunderstanding.

Read More »

Friends track caps record-breaking year with trip to nationals


Here’s my preview of the Friends University men’s and women’s track and field teams trip to the NAIA Championships at Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Ind.

The gist is that the Falcons went a perfect 6-for-6 in KCAC titles this season in men’s and women’s cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field and have a pair of long-distance runners who have real shots at winning national titles – an incredible feat if you know anything about how the KCAC has scrapped the last couple of years to put its athletes in a spot where they could be competitive on this level. Senior Javier Ceja is the No. 1 ranked men’s marathon runner in the country and junior Jordan Arnold finished second in the nation in the women’s indoor 5,000 and has only lost to one NAIA runner all year.

Friends track coach Brad Peterson, only in his third year, has put together a real juggernaut, but it will be a few years before a team from the KCAC can compete on the national level. To understand it a little better: The Friends men are bringing seven male and six female athletes to the national meet. The schools that win usually have about 25-30 at the meet – something that could definitely happen for a KCAC team in the near future.



Friends trying to complete KCAC’s first triple crown


Here’s my feature that ran on Friends University track-and-field star Quentin Benning that ran in today’s Eagle and at Benning is one of the best all-around throwers in the nation and also a two-time All-KCAC fullback for the Falcons. (MORE)

Read More »

Sunflower Slate Q&A: ESU hurdler Andrew Etheridge


I had the opportunity to speak with Emporia State hurdler Andrew Etheridge on Tuesday evening – Etheridge, a true freshman, won the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday in Turlock, Calif., with a time of 14.02 seconds, just 1/1oth of a second faster than the runner-up as the Hornets finished fourth as a team, their best finish in school history. Etheridge, who is 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, also plays safety for the Hornets and is a Wichita Northwest grad.

Sunflower Slate: So what’s life been like since Saturday? Lots of pats on the back, I’m sure.

Andrew Etheridge: It’s been quite a few days and kind of crazy but well worth it.

SS: So you go out to California as the 17th seed … honestly, did you think you could win a national title?

AE: I have a lot of confidence in myself so I’m not going to say I thought I was going to lose … but I definitely didn’t think that I’d ran the type of race that I was capable of all year. And once I made it through the prelims and into the finals I narrowed my focus and kept re-watching my race from the prelims and critiquing what I was doing wrong.

SS: And you won. But not by much. Did you know you were the champ right away?

AE: I knew coming off the last hurdle that it was going to come down to that last sprint and I knew that I’d leaned pretty hard at the end … but I didn’t know that I’d won until my name came up on the board.

SS: Did you just go crazy or what?

AE: Well, yeah, I kind of threw my hands up and then I just hit the ground. I looked up in the stands and I could see my teammates yelling for me.

SS: Who did you call first to tell that you’d won?

AE: Well it was streaming online so my family and my girlfriend and a lot of my friends actually watched, so by the time I got back to my phone it had just completely blown up.

SS: I saw on Twitter that Chris Harper and a lot of other people were giving you shout-outs. Are you on there?

AE: I’m on there as @hurdleboy28 … I could see all the mentions and stuff and that was pretty cool.

SS: How did you celebrate when you got home?

AE: My mom threw me a barbeque yesterday. I’m headed back to Emporia tomorrow to start training for football.

SS: That’s not much of a break.

AE: (Laughing) No, it’s not. But I missed spring football so I’ve got some catching up to do. Right at the end of track season I could kind of feel myself getting back into that football mindset. Coach Higgins (ed. note – ESU football coach Garin Higgins) actually called to congratulate me after I won.

SS: Good luck with football, and congratulations.

AE: Thanks very much.

I’m out. TA

Highland’s Jillian Linnebur, small towns & why it works for me



Populations of towns Jillian Linnebur has/will live in, circa 2008-2012

Colwich, Kansas: 1,229

Highland, Kansas: 976

Sterling, Kansas: 2,642

This isn’t meant to be a long item — just a heads up on somebody doing a good job. Jillian Linnebur is a small-town girl — she’s from Colwich and went to Andale High School — and she was a good enough runner coming out of high school to get a look from a junior college, Highland, where she qualified for the NJCAA national indoor meet two years in a row in the the 600, the 1000 and the distance medley relay and added the 1600-relay this season. Now, she’s trying to do the same for the Scotties during the outdoor season. And I think it’s cool. It’s cool she graduated from AHS and then tore it up in the Jayhawk. It’s cool she’s committed to run at Sterling College next year and will surely tear it up in the KCAC. It’s cool that a Kansas kid will get a degree from two Kansas schools and hopefully stay in Kansas after she gets her degree in Elementary Ed. I spend so much time on this blog and in print and on the radio with these long diatribes about how great the Jayhawk Conference is for Kansas kids that it’s just … nice to single somebody out every once in awhile that didn’t score 30 points or hit a home run or lead the league in rushing.

Stop and smell the roses, you know?

Out. TA.


I grew up in the suburbs. That’s another story entirely.

Roll Call: J-e-t-s! Jets! Jets! Jets!

There’s a couple of reasons why we’re Jaray Mathews fans over hear at Sunflower Slate. For one, if you just look up, you’ll see Mathews is part of our banner. And as far as I know, he’s the only player still active that’s part of our banner. Which means that even though we haven’t quite turned two years old yet, we’ve got some history. So there’s that. And then there’s the main reason: The Man goes hard. To prove my point, let’s take a look at what JM did last week in leading Newman into sole possession of first place in the Heartland Conference. In a win over Dallas Baptist he dropped 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists. In a win over Arkansas Fort-Smith he went for 18 points, 12 rbounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. That’s called filling up the stat sheet.

And that’s why he’s the Heartland player of the week and the jump-off for The Return of Roll Call.

And away we go …

Read More »