Jack Getman's three wins lead Truman to Independence City title

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

Marcus Summers was one of the busiest, and happiest, individuals in Eastern Jackson County Friday night.

The Truman boys and girls track and field coach served as the host of the Independence City Championships while serving as the meet's public address announcer and hurdle jockey.

Oh, and he also led his boys team to its first championship in his five years as the Patriots head coach.

Although a bit exhausted – while seniors from Truman, Van Horn, William Chrisman and Fort Osage were honored in a post-match celebration – the smile on Summer's face said it all.

Truman's Jack Getman rounds the track on the way to a win in the 3,200 meters in the Independence City Championships Friday at Truman Stadium. Getman also won the 800 and 1,600 to lead the Patriots to the team title, the first under fifth-year head coach Marcus Summers.

"It was so tough losing the meet last year (to the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down all spring sports and activities) and to come back and win our first boys championship is very special," Summers said. "I am just so happy. I mean this might seem small to some people – a meet with four teams – but it is our city championship and it is the first time we have won it, and I am so thrilled for our team. They worked hard and did a great job!"

Truman finished with a total of 103 points, followed by William Chrisman (83), Fort Osage (56) and Van Horn (46).

One of the hardest-working Patriots was distance standout Jack Getman, who won the 800 meters (2 minutes, 12.08 seconds), 1,600 (5:05.96) and 3,200 (10:49.13).

"What can you say about Jack?" said Summers, still sporting that smile. "I ran the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 in high school and it's hard. You have to be mentally and physically ready, and he really came through.

"He ran three smart races. In fact, as he was running the 3,200, he gave me a smile and a thumbs up! That's Jack – he's just a great runner and a great young man."

Getman was thrilled to be a part of the Patriots’ first city championship win under Summers. And the simple fact that senior standout Josh Nunn missed the meet because of a COVID-19 quarantine showed how every member of the team rallied around their absent teammate.

"This one's for Josh," said Getman, who was smiling and accepting congratulatory handshakes after his third win of the night. "We missed him tonight, but we worked hard to get this win. I can't wait to just go to bed tonight and think to myself, 'Truman won the city championship.' What a great feeling. Coach Summers really had us prepared to win tonight."

Getman totaled 18 points with his three first-place performances.

Truman's Aaron Gietzen, front, leads William Chrisman's Wyatt Leutzinger, left, during the 110 meter hurdles in the Independence City Championships Friday at Truman Stadium. Gietzen won this race and the 300 hurdles to help the Patriots take the team title.

Truman’s 1,600 relay team of Danny Yothfoy, K.J. Jones, Brandon Browning and Patrick Martin sealed the win in the dramatic last event of the night with a win in 3 minutes, 41.42 seconds. It was the first time Browning and Martin had run the relay.

"Those guys really came through," Summers said. "What a great way to end the meet."

Aaron Gietzen won the 110 high hurdles (16.29) and 300 intermediate hurdles (44.31), and Martin won the 200 (22.60).

"We had so many guys get points tonight," Getman said, "and that's what makes this so special. This was a team win because everyone contributed."

Truman's Patrick Martin crosses the finish line to win the 200 meters in the Independence City Championships Friday at Truman Stadium. Martin also anchored the 1,600 relay team to a win in the final event to help the Patriots secure the team title, the first under fifth-year head coach Marcus Summers.

Although his boys team finished second for the first time in his five years as the head track and field coach at William Chrisman, coach Tyler Rathke was pleased with his team's effort.

"Marcus has done a great job at Truman, and he did a great job tonight," Rathke said. "We had some great performances, and it's so wonderful to be back this year after losing the spring season last year. This is a meet we all look forward to."

The meet's top point producer was Chrisman senior Wyatt Leutzinger, who won the 400 (53.06) and pole vault (4.20 meters) and was third in the 110 high hurdles and second in the high jump.

William Chrisman senior Wyatt Leutzinger clears the bat while competing in the pole vault in the Independence City Championships Friday at Truman High School. Leutzinger, who has signed with Wichita State to compete in the decathlon, won the pole vault and the 400 meters, took second in the high jump and third in the 110 hurdles as the Bears finished second.

"Wyatt was all over the place tonight. What a great performance from a great young man," Rathke said of the senior who recently signed with Wichita State to compete in the decathlon. "I am so proud of him. That was just the second time he high-jumped and the third time he ran the hurdles this season. He wanted to do everything he could to get us points so we would have a chance to keep our (winning) streak alive."

Three Van Horn High School seniors, who are known for their football skills, claimed individual gold medals. Arlandes Mitchell won the 100 (11.34 seconds), Sean Mitchell won the triple jump (11.95 meters) and Jason Skivers triumphed in the shot put (13.47 meters).

Arlandes Mitchell is going to Mid-American Nazarene, Sean Mitchell to William Jewell and Skivers to Missouri for football.

"This night is kind of bittersweet," Skivers said. "It's the last time I will be able to compete with my brothers in the city championship and it means my high school track career is winding down. But I am so excited about going to Missouri, I can't wait."

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