Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Track and field, cross country welcomes top 25 newcomers

Sports Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






As the season slowly rolls to a start, these are the newest athletes to keep an eye out for.

Some of these new members, who have been chosen to compete on the cross country team, will have their first chance to compete with WSU starting at 8 a.m. Sept. 9 in Augusta for the J.K. Gold Invitational.

Jared Belardo, Leavenworth

Belardo is a jumps specialist with personal bests in long jump (24-2 1/2) and triple jump (49-7 3/4). Belardo comes to WSU with Kansas 5A state championships in both of those events.

Hayden Bugner, Andale

Bugner is a pole vault specialist with a personal best of 15 feet and he brings a 4A state championship to WSU, as well.

Caden Callaway, Pike Valley

Callaway is a distance runner that also has state championships. His personal best in the 1600-meter run is four minutes and 18 seconds and 9:09 in the 3200-meter run. He was the 1A state champion in the 3200-meter run and a cross-country state champion in 2014, and the runner-up for the 1600 and 3200-meter run in 2015.

Austin Corley, Adrian, Missouri

Corley is a hurdles specialist with personal bests in the 110-meter hurdles (14.37 seconds), the 300-meter hurdles (37.23), and the 200-meter dash (22.12). In the Missouri Class 2 state championships, Corley earned championships in the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles, and the 200-meter dash. He also earned second place in the 100-meter dash.

Nick Dow, Amarillo, Texas

Dow is a sprints specialist with personal bests in the 100-meter dash (10.61) and the 200-meter dash (21.92). In the Texas 6A Regional, he placed fifth in the 100-meter dash.

Kaden Griffin, Wichita

Griffin is a multi-event specialist with a wide array of personal bests; in long jump (23-7), the 100-meter hurdles (14.5), the 300-meter hurdles (38.67) and the 400-meter dash (49.82). Through his many events, he brings a 4A state championship with him to WSU in the 400-meter dash and the 300-meter hurdles. He also placed fourth in the long and triple jump.

Joe Harter, Omaha, Nebraska

Harter is a distance specialist with personal bests in the 1600-meter run (4:19), the 3000-meter run (8:25), the 5000-meter run (14:42) and the 10K (30:45). Harter is a transfer student from the University of Nebraska.

John Hoplin, Grand Forks, North Dakota

Hoplin is a javelin specialist with personal bests that range from 198-7 in high school to 185-0 at the University of North Dakota. However, Hoplin was a redshirt at the University of North Dakota last season.

Zach Kudlinski, Blue Springs, Missouri

Kudlinski is another pole vault specialist for WSU with a personal best of 14-6. Last season, in the Missouri Class 5, Kudlinski placed sixth.

Reno Law, Millard, Nebraska

Millard is a distance specialist with personal bests in the 800-meter run (1:53), the 1600-meter run (4:15) and the 3200-meter (9:21). In the Nebraska Class A state competition, Law earned the championship for the 1600-meter run, and a cross country runner-up state champion in 2014. Last season, in 2015, Law earned the runner-up position for the 800-meter run.

Damien Odle, Greensburg

Odle is a transfer student from Cowley County Community College. His personal best is 213-8 with a JUCO National championship in javelin.

Zach Penrod, Raytown, Missouri

Penrod is a distance specialist with personal bests in the 800-meter run (1:55), the 1600-meter run (4:11), and in the 3200-meter run (9:25). In the Missouri Class 5 competition, Penrod earned second in the 1600-meter run.

A.J. Stephens, Olathe

Stephens is a hurdles specialist with personal bests in the 110-meter hurdles (14.25) and the 300-meter hurdles (39.25). Stephens is a 6A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and a runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles.

Connor Stine, Normal, Illinois

Stine is a distance specialist with a personal best of 1:54 in the 800-meter run. Last season, Stine was an Illinois 2A state champion in the 800-meter run.

Martiesha Caines, Temecula, California

Caines is a transfer from Iowa Central with a wide variety of personal bests. Caines is a multi-event athlete so her competing in the heptathlon is a no-brainer, her personal best being a JUCO championship finish with 4996 points. She also has personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles (13.98), high jump (5-7), and long jump (18-3 3/4). Caines also had a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at the JUCO competition last season.

Natalie Halfman, St. Ansgar, Iowa

Halfman is a sprints specialist with personal bests in multiple events such as the 100-meter dash (12.14), 200-meter dash (24.59), 400-meter dash (54.65) and the 800-meter run (2:14). Last season, Halfman earned honors with 2A state championships in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dashes.

Katie Murray, Rolla

Murray is a multi-event and jumps specialist with personal bests in high jump (5-6) and long jump (17-0). With all of her success, Murray was a back-to-back 1A state champion in high jump in 2014 and 2015.

Morgan Prather, Hamilton, Missouri

Hamilton is a sprints specialist with personal bests in the 200-meter dash (25.17) and the 400-meter dash (57.27). Because Prather specializes in these two events, it earned her a Missouri Class 2 championship in both events last season.

Leah Reichenberger, Andale

Reichenberger is a hurdles specialist with personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles (14.9) and the 300-meter hurdles (44.73). Reichenberger won 4A state championships in both of these events last season.

Claudia Rojo, Naron, Spain

Rojo travels the furthest to join the WSU track and field team. Her specialties and personal bests are multi-events and hurdles including, heptathlon with 4807 points, 100-meter hurdles (14.59) and the 400-meter hurdles (60.61). Rojo also won the Spanish championships in the 400-meter hurdles in 2013 and 2014.

Lauren Rowland, Andale

Rowland is a jumps specialist with a 5-5 personal best in high jump. Rowland earned a fourth place finish in 2015 and third place in 2014 during the 4A state tournament.

Rebekah Topham, Griswold, Iowa

Topham may be the biggest newcomer for WSU this season. Topham is a distance specialist with personal bests in the 800-meter run (2:10), 1500-meter run (4:28) and the 3000-meter run (9:56). During the 1A state tournament, Topham won the 1500 and 3000-meter championships in 2015. And along with two state championships, Topham also has 11 state track and field titles next to four cross country titles.

Shania VanNoster, Independence

VanNoster is a multi-event and jumps specialist with a personal best of 5-7 in high jump. Last season, VanNoster was a 4A state champion in high jump, the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay.

Deidra Walker, Wichita

Walker is a distance specialist with personal bests in the 1600-meter run (5:16) and the 3200-meter run (11:22). Last season, Walker was a sixth place finisher at the 6A state competition along with a state runner-up for cross country.

Suzie Wright, Douglass

Wright is also a distance specialist in the 1600-meter run (5:24) and the 3200-meter run (11:44). In 2015, Wright finished fifth in the 3A state competition for the 1600-meter run and sixth for the 3200-meter run.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.