David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

KANSAS-It may be summer break on the calendar, but several Kansas student athletes have continued to carry on the Comets’ winning ways, bringing home a trunk load of trophies and medals from a pair of AAU Summer events.

In the Sooner Games, held at Putnam City, Kansas eighth grader Tracy Pruitt hit the state championship medal stand four times in the track and field events. Pruitt trained four months and along the way came away with hardware from meets at Chelsea, Inola and Warner. His training paid off with a first place medal in the 200 meters, in addition to finishing second in the 100 meters, the 400 meters and the long jump. In addition to running track, Pruitt, who is the son of Kansas High School’s Dianna Arnold, also participates in Comet baseball, football, basketball and power lifting.

Meanwhile at the 2011 AAU Teenage National Power Lifting Competition in Sapulpa the Lady Comets, anchored by their weightlifting phenom, Haley Byrd, dominated the affair, winning both team titles and 11 weight divisions.

Byrd, who is a senior this year, continued her undefeated streak by winning the best bench press award, as well being named the event’s outstanding lifter.

The powerful and petite Lady Comet has been described by lifting experts as ‘World Class,’ prompting Coach Jon Hanna to say, “Since Haley first came onto the scene when she was in eighth grade, she has never been beaten in any local, statewide or national competition.”

Garnering awards for the best bench and squat lift, Taylor Goedecke won her weight division as well, to help propel the Lady Comets to the 16-17 year old team title. Also winning their individual weight categories were McKenzie Armbrister, Kinsay Hayes, Kaylyn Edwards, Kamron Pair, Courtney Sharp, Krysten Dozier and Megan Doty.

But even with next spring’s graduation of Bird, the future of the Lady Comet power lifting team is still bright. Kansas Junior High student Kylee Russell is already making her mark on the power lifting scene as she lead the Lady Comet’s 12-13 year old squad to the team title as well. Russell racked up 781 total pounds at the Sapulpa event and was joined by Lakota Sauceda in winning their respective weight classes.