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Andover

Andover’s trio of track stars: Tayton Klein, McKinlee Walker, Sydney Anderson

By Joanna Chadwick

In his first season as the Andover track coach, Jordon Regehr has been blessed with phenomenal talent that includes senior Tayton Klein, sophomore McKinlee Walker and junior Sydney Anderson.

“I knew coming in that there was talent, and I did a lot of research on all the kids over the last two, three seasons,” said Regehr, who spent the past 12 year as El Dorado’s assistant track coach.

Sophomore McKinlee Walker

14.85 in the 100 hurdles, fourth in the state and second in 5A

Walker finished second in 5A with a time of 15.13 in the 100 hurdles as a freshman in 2021.

“She’s solid, she’s steady, she’s very consistent,” Regehr said. “Obviously she’s a good hurdler, and she does a lot of training after practice.”

Walker is also in the long jump, 400 relay and the 300 hurdles.

“She’s really had a good year,” Regehr said. “She’s scored a lot of points for us in a lot of different events.”

Junior Sydney Anderson

2:22.07 in the 800, seventh in 5A

Anderson finished fourth in 5A in the 800 in 2021.

“She had an unfortunate injury in cross country season that stemmed from last track season, and it kept her out of most of cross country season,” Regehr said. “… She has had an unbelievable track season. Her main event is the 800, but she’s run the mile, too. She could be very good at that, too, if we trained her for that.

“We’ve geared her to the 800 and the 400. I don’t think in her mind she was a typical 400 runner. She ran sub-60 in the 4×4, so she’s had a great year in everything she’s done. She’s a great leader and works hard.”

Senior Tayton Klein

Klein’s 23-10 in the long jump ranks first in the state. His other top marks in the state are a 10.72 in the 100 meters (sixth in 5A), 50.65 400 (ninth in 5A), 15.07 110 hurdles (fifth in 5A) and 39.94 300 hurdles (fourth in 5A). 

Klein, who has signed to compete at KU, won the long jump at 21-8.5 in 2021 and was fifth in the 200 and sixth in the 100.

“The toughest part with Tayton is knowing what to put him in,” Regehr said. “He’d legitimately be good in eight, nine events. He can do it all, which is why he’s going to KU for the decathlon.”

And with his future in mind, Klein’s goal was specific.

“Going into the season my goal was to broaden my specialty of events,” he said. “I wanted to get more experience in a variety of events to prepare for college and the decathlon.

“Last year I didn’t run any hurdles races or anything, but I’ll run both at state this year.”

Klein will do three events at Friday’s regionals: 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump.

“Each event I’m going to do has a prelim and a final, and I think I have a good shot at winning the 300 hurdles, 110 hurdles and the long jump,” Klein said. “I didn’t want to lower those odds by competing in another event. My goal is to come home with three championships.”

Regehr appreciates Klein’s explosiveness.

“His explosiveness is something I haven’t really seen in a high school athlete,” Regehr said. “His speed is really, really good. He works hard. He does extra training outside of our official practice.”

Klein’s hurdling technique was strong heading into the season, so he worked on his steps and making sure he went over the hurdle with the correct leg.

On his first 300 hurdles race, he finished with what was then the state’s top time — in a fascinating fashion. He clipped the final hurdle and fell into a summersault as he dove across the finish line.

“When I was really young, I did gymnastics and in middle school, I did flips,” Klein said. “It was a natural reaction.

“I took a pretty large lead coming into the homestretch. I kind of got distracted looking at the clock. I had never run it before. (The clock) showed a really, really good time that I was going to run. (My focus) went from the race to the time and I tripped and fell.”

Klein attributes his versatility to playing multiple sports — he also played football and basketball. In football he was a receiver, running back, kick returner, kicker, free safety, cornerback.

“A lot of kids in middle school decide ‘this will be my sport from here on out,'” Klein said. “It limits versatility.

“By doing other sports, it helps you be more athletic. You move in different ways. It helped me.”

 

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