With cool temperatures, gusting winds and a near-constant mist/drizzle, weather was far from ideal for the B-4 District track & field meet at Pawnee Park in Columbus May 9.
However, for those athletes who qualified for the 2013 Nebraska State High School Track & Field Championships, conditions were just fine.
Nine Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals bucked the weather and staunch competition Thursday to punch their tickets to Burke Stadium in Omaha.
The Cardinals scored a district championship in one event, as the girls’ 4×800 meter relay team of junior Jade Gottier, freshmen Ashlynn Baker and Hannah Schmitz and sophomore Catherine Weeder blitzed its previous season and Albion News area-best time by more than 25 seconds.
Boone Central/Newman Grove was not a factor in the battle for team titles in the tough Class B field. The Lady Cardinals finished fifth in team standings and the BC/NG boys were seventh.
Pestel proud of efforts
Still, Card Coach Kris Pestel was pleased with the efforts of her athletes against such quality competition. Several events had such loaded fields that multiple additional state qualifiers emerged from the district along with the top three placewinners.
“This was a very competitive district. We are very proud of how hard our kids competed,” Pestel praised. “There were several extra qualifiers from our district. In both girls’ hurdle races, all six medalists qualified for the state meet, and in the high jump five girls qualified.
“Our district will be very well-represented, and with our qualifiers we are looking forward to state.
“As a coach, you always want more kids to get the opportunity to participate in the state meet, but we have a solid core of athletes going.”
Relay leads Card qualifiers
The highlight of the day came early for Boone Central/Newman Grove as the 4×800 relay team led off track events with its scintillating performance. The Cardinals jockeyed with Scotus and Norfolk Catholic teams during the first 1600 meters run by Gottier and Baker, handed Weeder a slight lead after the third leg by Schmitz, then celebrated as Weeder held off a determined late charge by Scotus standout Morgan Benesch in the final 200 meters. BC/NG’s 10:01.20 clocking was among the eight fastest in all Class B districts.
Weeder had earlier secured a state berth in the high jump as an additional qualifier, clearing the minimum qualifying height with a season-best leap of 5’2. She wrapped up the meet by joining 4×400 relay teammates Gottier, Dana Pelster and Sheldon Beierman to finish third in 4:13.63, also good enough to garner state qualification by time.
Beierman continued her outstanding freshman campaign in the hurdles, qualifying for state in both events. She placed second to state leader Katie Atkins of Pierce in the 100 highs with a time of 15.74 and was third in the 300 lows in 48.35.
Sophomore Olivia Slizoski had a strong day in the hurdle events and was among those securing additional qualifier times. Slizoski placed fourth in the 100 meter highs in a season-best 15.99 and was fifth in the 300 lows with a 49.01 clocking.
Senior Nick Paulson also faced one of the state hurdle leaders in Balir’s Colin Mertlik and earned a state meet trip with a runner-up finish in the 110 meter highs with a time of 15.4.
Senior Blake Slizoski qualified for the state championships for a fourth consectutive year, placing third in the long jump by sailing a season-best 20’8¾.
Oh So Close!
As always, there were also some Cardinal heartbreaks Thursday.
Senior Calvin Koziol, seeking a final return trip to Omaha, ran a strong 4:50.95 in the 1600 meters, but fell one position short of qualifying. Sophomore Matt Brugger also came up one place shy, finishing fourth in the 800 meter run (2:08.69). Junior Derek Gentrup placed fourth in the high jump, clearing a season-best 6’2 – one inch short of the automatic qualifying height. Sophomore Andrew Rasmussen ran a season and News area best 10:44.29 in the 3200 meters, but finished sixth.
Further results in Print & Online editions of Albion News