Both win 3200M and 1600M for Irish
WICHITA – It was a complete sweep for the Chapman Fighting Irish at the 2019 State Track Meet as both Taylor Briggs and Aaron Modrow sped to gold medals in both of their feature events.
Briggs won the Class 4A girls 3200M at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning after the race was washed out on Friday. Leading from the sound of the gun, Briggs set the pace and was barely challenged in her second time running 3200M at Cessna Stadium. The first time she ran, she captured gold as a freshman with a Chapman school record time of 11:03.78.
Saturday, Briggs, a 16-year-old sophomore, ran 11:10.306 to capture her fourth state championship in track and field in her young career. She also owns two Class 4A State Cross Country championships.
She led early and broke away from the pack to run an opening lap at 1:17.768. By the time she crossed the line for the second time, her closest competitor was nearly eight seconds behind. As the run continued, Briggs widened the lead to eventually win by more than 32 seconds over second place Riley Hiebert of Eudora. The junior from Eudora finished at 11:42.50 while Darian Hudgeons of Paola crossed third at 11:47.94.
Briggs’s lap times were 1:17.767, 1:23.034, 1:24.474, 1:25.885, 1:26.914, 1:27.514, 1:25.239 and 1:19.482 to earn the win.
“I felt pretty good today,” Briggs said. “Kind of wished we ran yesterday but can’t change the weather.”
Ever the perfectionist, Briggs believed she could do better.
“I didn’t do as great as I wanted to,” she said. “I still have to get my times down a little so I can come back next year and improve.”
Later in the day, Briggs completed her meet with an impressive win in 1600M. She completed her sweep of the Class 4A distance races with a CHS record-breaking time of 5:06.18. She had held the previous mark too.
Bishop Miege senior Fallon Russell nipped Abilene’s Sydney Burton at the tape for second place at 5:18.93. Burton ran 5:20.78 for third.
Attitude change helps Modrow
Chapman senior Aaron Modrow completed his high school eligibility with his sweep of the 3200M and 1600M on Saturday also.
Modrow won a tightly contested 3200M race with two young guns from Hayden and Augusta.
Modrow crossed at 9:49.25 just seconds in front of Topeka Hayden freshman Tanner Newkirk at 9:52.80. Augusta freshman Sawyer Schmidt was right on their heels at 9:53.37 placing third.
Modrow’s first lap time of 1:06.154 pushed him to the lead for good as the two younger runners kept at his heels. Modrow finished with a fast 1:08.192 to secure his first state championship in this event.
In 2018, Modrow ran seventh with a time of 9:59.05.
He credits his improved attitude toward running for his success this year.
“I finally got the message that one of my coaches was trying to get me to understand,” he said. “It’s been definitely life changing. She told me I had to stop running these races for everyone else but yourself and for God.”
“I definitely came in here with a good attitude,” he added. “A positive mindset has been the biggest advantage for me. Since the KU Relays I have had really good runs.”
It was tight for Modrow in the 1600M run as well but the determined Chapman runner finished for gold. Modrow completed the mile at 4:34.31 just ahead of Augusta’s Schmidt at 4:35.58. Clearwater junior Cole Bixler-Large was third with Newkirk right there for fourth.
Modrow ran a first lap time of 1:07.132 to get out in front but what was most impressive was the kick he had left in the final 400M as he sprinted a 1:03.533 to get his second gold medal of the meet.
“I have had several races that haven’t been up to par,” he said. “I’ve been able to learn from them and move on. That’s why last year I struggled a lot here at state.”
Modrow was sixth in the 1600M a year ago with a time of 4:31.93.
The happy runner was even happier talking about his future at Southeast Missouri State for track and cross-country.
‘I just signed my letter of intent last weekend after graduation,” the smiling Modrow said.
Contact Ron Preston at email@example.com.