By William

LINDSBORG – In 2019 the Viking boys and Lady Vikings of Smoky Valley dominated the Central Kansas League meet and both teams finished in the top three of Class 3A at the state meet as well.

In 2020, the pandemic took all that momentum away, but Coach Jay Myers is confident that the Lady Vikings could be lined up for their third league title in a row and maybe a shot at a state title led by Belle Peters who set a state meet record in the pole vault in 2019 while also qualifying and medaling in four other events beyond the pole vault. She returns for her senior season and will be the key to the success of the team.

Here is a breakdown of the upcoming 2021 season for the Viking boys and Lady Viking track/field teams:


In 2019 both the Viking boys and the Lady Vikings took first in the Central Kansas League meet, with the girls doing it for the second season in a row.

At the 2019 state Class 3A meet, the Viking boys finished 2nd and the Lady Vikings finished 3rd.

In 2020, Coach Myers was looking forward to some new competitors on the boys side and a strong returning crew on the Lady Viking team before they all were shut down two weeks into practice due to the pandemic. At the time, the Lady Vikings were looking at possibly getting a third league title in a row while making a run at a state trophy.


According to Coach Myers, “Last year’s cancellation did one thing that I feared would happen, there was some attrition with people who had success in track and field who have now chosen not to continue and there has been more who have not done much to prepare themselves physically for the upcoming season.”

“That being said, we have also picked up some new faces and new talents on both teams and are excited to see how things play out,” continued coach Myers in his pre-season reflections. “So far, our young folks have been working hard in practice.”

Currently, Smoky Valley has 27 Viking boys and 21 Lady Vikings practicing for the 2021 season.

For the 2021 season, Coach Myers took note of the seniors for the Viking boys:

  • Ryan Heline = will run the 800 and 3200 meters. “Ryan has stepped up big time this year and is one of the hardest workers in everything he does.”
  • Tate Brewer = “A sprinter who is showing some promise and working hard.”
  • Stephen Peterson = “Stephen will do the pole vault while running the 400 and 800 meters. He can contribute in so many areas and is strong in all.”
  • Jamison Sattler = “This is Jamison’s first year out for track and he is working hard while showing potential in both the sprints and hurdles with a chance to help with the relays.”
  • Skyler Hopkins = “Is showing great potential in both the shot put and discus throws. He is helping lead a crew of field competitors that could have a couple of surprises in it.”
  • Kort Sjogren = “Kort throws all three field events, the shot put, discus and javelin and like Skyler is helping lead a crew of field competitors that may surprise us during the season.”
  • OVERALL, FOR THE VIKING BOYS in 2021: “On the boys’ team we anticipate having quality depth in the middle and long distances as well as some strength in the 4×400 and 4×800 meter relays. We had been developing some quality in the throws and hope that continues to work out as there is certainly potential in all of them. We were pleased with our younger guys’ attitudes and work habits in the early going last year and thought we might have some potential in the sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers as well. That is true again for the 2021 season so far.”

For the 2021 season, coach Myers acknowledged several of the senior for the Lady Vikings:

  • McKinley Johnson = “McKinley is solid as a 400 and 800 meter runner while being valuable in the relays as well.”
  • Whitley McElroy = “Whitley is off to a great start in practice in the hurdles and sprints.”
  • Ellise Peterson = “Ellise is back from an injury and so far she is doing really good. She has a huge upside in the 1600 meters and relays.”
  • Kajsa Peterson = “Kajsa has always been strong in the 400 and 800 meters, and this season she is also trying some new things that could work out for her.”
  • Ileia Wampler = “She has been so close to just breaking out in the throws and with her attitude, I feel that this could be the year she does just that.”
  • Belle Peters = “Belle is the top-ranked pole vaulter in all classes for the state of Kansas, plus she has the skills to succeed in the hurdles, long jump and the speed to rank near the top in the 100 meters.”
  • OVERALL, FOR THE LADY VIKINGS in 2021: “On the girls’ team, we are just looking at a number of question marks but have some solid overall talent. Last year I felt we honestly had a shot to win the league for a third-year in a row and had a solid chance to win the state title as well. The sophomore girls had a solid season as 8th graders two years ago and we will gain some talent (though only three in numbers) in the freshman class as well to go along with some talent in the upper two grades. Senior Belle Peters returns as the defending state champion and state meet record holder in the pole vault, plus she also medaled at state in the long jump, the high hurdles and the 100 meters in 2019. The big key to the girls’ team will be keeping our young ladies healthy as we have had some issues in the past three years that have negatively affected us. We also anticipate that slots on relays could be interesting to see who comes through. We should have some relay depth at least looking at things on paper. We should be solid in the sprints, hurdles, the 400-800-1600 meters, the jumps and the pole vault. We need depth in the distances and will need some girls pushing each other in all events. The javelin could be a nice surprise event for us as could the shot put and discus as well.”


The following Viking boys have performed at the state meet:

  • Ryan Heline = a senior who runs the 800, 1600 & 3200 meters. Qualified for state in the 1600, 3200 and 4×800 relay. Medaled in the 3200 meters.
  • Stephen Peterson = a senior who qualified for state in the 4×800 meter relay.
  • Garret Huffman = a junior who qualified for state in the 4×800 meter relay.

The follow Lady Vikings have performed at the state meet:

  • Belle Peters = a senior who qualified and medaled in the long jump, pole vault, 100 meter and 100 meter high hurdles. Peters also set a state meet record in the pole vault by going 12’8”.
  • McKinley Johnson = a senior who qualified and was a state medalist in the 4×800 meter relay.
  • Ellise Peterson = a senior who qualified and was a state medalist in 2018 in the 1600 meters and in relays but was injured in 2019.
  • Kajsa Peterson = a senior who was a state qualifier and medalist in the 4×400 meter relay.
  • Aubrey Boldra = a junior who was a state qualifier in the triple jump.
  • Rylee Ebert = a junior who was a state qualifier and medalist in the 4×800 meter relay.
  • Gracie Lamber = a junior who was a state qualifier in the 4×400 meter relay, 4×800 meter relay and the 800 meters. She medaled in the 4×400 relay.
  • Abby Rose = a junior who was a state qualifier in the 4×400 meter relay, 4×800 relay and the 400 meters. She medaled in the 4×400 relay.


Comments from coach Jay Myers:

  • “For several years now, my goal for our kids is to just get better every day by working hard in practice and then see what happens. As a team, I point at three meets a year where we want to really show our stuff.”
  • “Those three meets are the Smoky Valley Invitational, the League Meet and the State Meet.”
  • “We will have some freshman and sophomores on both the boys and girls teams that will contribute to our success. We have seen some of that already in early practices.”

First 3 Scheduled Meets:

Thursday, April 1 = at Republic County

Friday, April 9 = at Marion

Friday, April 16 = Home meet

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