Trinity’s Neal and Hutchinson’s Schwartz win gold in athletics meet

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WICHITA — The Hutchinson area had two gold medalists at the 2022 Kansas High School Track and Field Meet in Wichita.

Hutchinson’s Sarah Schwartz and Trinity Catholic’s Ben Neal heard the loudest announcements as they stood on the podium and won gold medals in their respective events at the state high school track meet Kansas in 2022 at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

Neal placed first in the Class 2A boys’ 110-metre hurdles with a time of 15.48 seconds.

“To continue such a good season and finish it being on top, it was amazing,” said Neal. “I just know I’ve been at it for so long. I’ve always loved doing the hurdles. All the support from everyone around me and all that and everyone expecting me to be successful well definitely went there.”

Schwartz landed the winning jump in the 6A women’s long jump with a mark of 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches. Both athletes were also league and regional champions in both events.

“I was really happy for all that hard work and for it to pay off,” Schwartz said. “That was the motivation. It was my senior year (too), so I just needed to make a statement.”

Belle Plaine's Julian Ramirez, left, Trinity Catholic's Ben Neal and Inman's Eli Brunk compete in the 110-meter Class 2A hurdles preliminary race during state track and field competition on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

Neal was the best runner in 110 hurdles in 2A and was the favorite to win the race, doing so and improving his time in the final compared to his preliminary time. What Neal appreciated the most about the season was the support and backing he received from his team.

“There’s really nothing like it, having all your friends, your priest there and everyone supporting you and the coaches,” Neal said. “The coaches were great. There’s nothing like everyone supporting you after a big win.”

Schwartz talked about his jumps his freshman year being 15 feet. She said her jumping coach Marcus Moeder helped her excel and improve her jumps. It also helped move past his third-place finish last season, which was a 17-foot-7 mark.

“He definitely helped me get to where I am today,” Schwartz said. “He played an important role in that.”

She also praised Hutchinson track and field coach Tina Johnson, who was honored with a Longevity Coaching Award this year, for pushing her to be the best she can be.

“She’s a really good coach,” Schwartz said. “She takes care of the athletes off the track. She really cares about us. She’s a really good coach in that regard. She also works really hard for us and shows us where we need to be.”

Hutchinson-Trinity Catholic's Ben Neal (right) hugs teammate Jonah Godina (left) after Neal won the Class 2A Boys' 110 Meter Hurdles on Saturday May 28, 2022 at the Athletics Meet 2022 Kansas State High School at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

Last season, Neal was one place away from qualifying for the 2A 110 hurdles final. He ran a preliminary 16.5 seconds to place ninth. He said he was grateful to have achieved gold in his final year of athletics at Trinity.

“To be one of the two (county gold medalists) is something special,” Neal said. “It feels good.”

Billy Watson is the sports reporter for The Hutchinson News and has been in Kansas since March 2021. To pitch story ideas, you can email [email protected] or direct message on Twitter @hutchsports Where @billywatson4l.



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