Down the stretch they came, with merely the B-4 District championship on the line.
In dramatic fashion, by the slimmest of margins, Boone Central/Newman Grove snared that title, as sophomore Sheldon Beierman rallied the Lady Cardinal 4×400 meter relay team to a runner-up finish, just strides ahead of Blair.
That allowed Boone Central/Newman Grove to overtake the Bears in the point standings after trailing by one point entering the day’s final event. The two-point swing delivered the first district track championship since 1980 for the Cardinal girls’ program.
The 4×400 drama had fans on their feet throughout. Blair held slim leads following each of the first three legs before Scotus sprint standout Laura Miksch zoomed to the lead coming off the final curve. Beierman drafted right behind Miksch, passing Blair’s anchor-leg runner and setting off a celebration by Cardinal athletes, coaches and fans as she lunged across the finish line.
Moments later, the BC/NG boys’ 4×400 team added to the jubilation, battling to its own runner-up finish and qualifying for the state track and field meet by fourteen-one hundredths of a second over Wayne.
The thrilling relays and girls’ team title capped a day that saw the Lady Cardinals win gold in five events, five school records broken, and 15 Cardinals athletes – eight girls, seven boys – qualify to compete in this week’s Nebraska State Track/Field Championships in Omaha.
“What a day!” exclaimed Cardinal Coach Kris Pestel. “We had so many good things happen, it’s hard to know where to start.
“We had so many kids on both the girls and the boys teams give their best efforts, gritting out places and points all over the track and in the field events. We had kids competing not only against other athletes, but also against some nagging injuries. They continued to push through the pain and scratched out places.”
In large part, Beierman again paced the Lady Cards. Before her final heroics in the 4×400, the lanky sophomore claimed gold medals in the 100 meter high hurdles (15.23) and 300 meter hurdles (47.09), setting Boone Central school records in both events.
Baker was also golden for BC/NG, winning the 1600 meter run while taking more than four seconds off her previous best time of the season (5:41.65).
Celine Dunlap broke her own Newman Grove school mark in the pole vault (9’3) while placing third (same height as the winner) and the boys’ 4×400 team of Damian Backus, Joe Brugger, Travis Kennedy and Zac Glidden established a new Boone Central record (3:31.33).
Complete details, results and state track & field meet qualifiers in Print & Online editions of the Albion News.