After making history together on June 1, Darion Folsom, Khalil McLain and Marty Bell are going to have the chance to make some more.
The three senior members of a Horlick High School 4x100-meter relay that set a state record at the WIAA Division 1 Track and Field Championships at UW-La Crosse are sticking together for at least two more years. They will now have the opportunity to run together at the collegiate level for Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, Kan.
All three have received athletic scholarships according to Mike Anderson, who was named the Mavericks’ head coach last Nov. 1.
“I think they’re excited about it because they were kind of nervous about the whole college thing,” Horlick coach Josh Slamka said. “They’ve known each other for years and I think it’s nice that they’re going to be staying together.
“I think they should be able to make a pretty big impact on that team right away because I was looking at their roster and it seemed as if they would be some of the fastest kids at the school. That would be cool if they were in college on a similar 4x100 again.”
It all started when Anderson and assistant Kam Blanding were scouring the Internet in search of potential recruits. They were impressed by what they saw with Bell, Folsom and McLain, but did not initially realize they were teammates.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” Anderson said. “We had reached out to all three individually. We found them online, we saw their results and, obviously, when you’re recruiting, you have to go through different avenues to find talent.
“Marty Bell was the first one to respond and we had a great conversation with him. He mentioned, ‘Hey, I’ve got two teammates who are pretty good.’ I don’t think we connected the dots when we were talking to them that they were all teammates.”
Bell, Folsom and McLain joined Mike Weaver — a junior — on 4x100 and 4x200 relays that qualified for state. The 4x200 relay was actually seeded higher, but was disqualified in the preliminaries after it was ruled that a baton change was made out of the handoff zone.
Slamka admits he was hoping the 4x100 relay would simply qualify for the finals going into the meet. But inspired to salvage something after their disqualification, Folsom, McLain, Weaver and Bell not only won, they broke a six-year-old state record.
That record actually came in the preliminaries on May 31 with a time of 41.38 seconds. That broke the previous record of 41.50, set by Green Bay Preble in 2015. Horlick went on to win the state championship with a time of 42.15.
When they run their next meet next January, all will be wearing the same colors once again.
“It’s actually very exciting,” Folsom said. “Marty had told us one of these coaches from Kansas had contacted him. And then a few days later, the same coach contacted me. Then I let him contact Khalil.
“So it looks like we’re all going there now.”
Said Bell: “I’m happy they’re coming. I’ll have somebody I know out there will me.”
Anderson can’t wait to make use of their talents.
“We’re thrilled,” he said. “Wisconsin has such a rich history when it comes to track and field. So to get kids that have a Wisconsin state record, that really says something about what kind of athletes they are.
“And I think at our level and in our conference, they’re going to come in here and absolutely kill it. So I really believe they’re the right fit for our team.”