Hayden’s Newkirk reflects on record setting weekend at state track meet

“It’s such a big achievement that I’ve been looking for for a very long time. It feels really good to finally crack it.”
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - Tanner Newkirk’s expectations were high heading into this weekend’s state track and field meet.

“I knew that I had a chance to do something special,” he said.

The Hayden star kicked off the weekend with the 3200m Friday. He not only set a PR, but also a state meet record while recording the fifth-fastest time in Kansas history (8:58.88).

“I remember the last two steps before I crossed the line - 8:55, 8:56 - and I was like, ‘I got it. Sweet,’” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s processed that I’m sub-nine, because it’s such a big achievement that I’ve been looking for for a very long time. It feels really good to finally crack it.”

His work wasn’t done.

The mile was next.

“When I was running the race, I didn’t feel like I was going 4:12 pace. I thought I was maybe like high 14s, 4:20 pace,” Newkirk said. “But then as I was going down the last 100 meters, I was like, ‘Wow. I’m on a good pace.’”

He crossed in 4 minutes and 12.25 seconds — not quite a PR, but good enough to set the 4A state meet record.

“I’ve ran 4:10-high, but honestly that was fresh and perfect weather for that. So honestly, that 4:12 in the wind and the heat, coming off those races was really solid,” he said.

He’d go on to win one more gold and set another PR with a 1:55.00 finish in the 800m. His third gold wrapped up a history-making weekend that he says hasn’t sunk in just yet.

“I bet it’ll sink in more maybe after I finish my season and I’m able to just rest and take a week off from running and kind of reflect. But it definitely feels amazing.”

Newkirk has committed to run at the University of Kansas. Up next, he’ll race in the HOKA Festival of Miles in St. Louis.

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