The Boone Central Cardinals concluded an outstanding 2021 high school track and field season, which included girls championships in the Mid-State Conference and B-4 District, at the Nebraska State Track and Field Championships in Omaha Friday and Saturday, May 21-22.
Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teams returned to competition this spring and put a final stamp on a compensatory campaign with the colorful circus of athletic feats at familiar Burke Stadium.
The Cardinals joined those feats of speed, strength, agility and mental acuity, as nine Boone Central athletes brought home 11 state medals.
That included the most coveted medal in Nebraska track and field – the All Class Gold.
Boone Central senior Ryan Kramer, saving his best for last, capped his Cardinal athletic career Saturday with a victory in the Class B 300 meter intermediate hurdles. In winning that race, Kramer claimed the 2021 All Class Gold in that event, lowering his Albion News/Boone County Tribune area and Nebraska state best time to 39.66. That is also a new Boone Central school record and the best 300 meter hurdle time in Albion/Petersburg/Boone Central history. The gold medal is the first Boone Central Class B boys gold medal since 2000, and the first Cardinal All Class gold medal since 1945.
That wasn’t Kramer’s only highlight of the state championships, just his best. The decorated senior also placed fourth in the 110 meter high hurdles, running the race just 20 minutes after helping the Cardinals’ 4×100 meter relay place sixth.
Though weary, Kramer was obviously thrilled with his final performance.
“I knew I could do it. I knew I had the potential to do it so I just believed in myself,” Kramer told reporters. “It’s the best feeling ever. Best thing I could ever ask for.”
Joining Kramer on the 4×100 meter relay were fellow seniors Wyatt Nissen and Seth Wright, and freshman Parker Borer. Their time of 43.94 was just off their season and Albion News/Boone County Tribune area best (43.36). It did take a season and News/Tribune area best clocking of 10:00.88 for the Boone Central quartet of Jordan Stopak, Alicia Weeder, Autumn Simons and Sam Weeder to place fifth in the girls 4×800 meter relay Friday.
Card sophomore Jackson Roberts was Boone Central’s final placewinner, taking seventh in the 300 meter hurdles.
“We competed well and put up some strong performances against another really deep, competitive Class B field,” Boone Central Coach Susan Roberts praised. “We had seven season-best marks, highlighted by Ryan’s all class gold medal.
“Ryan had a great season and made big improvements since his sophomore year. I’m really happy for him to finish his career with such a great performance in all of his events.
“That really goes for all of our seniors. They not only were great leaders for underclassmen in competing and scoring, but also just in the daily grind of practice. Sam, Jordan, Autumn, Wyatt and Seth, along with our seniors who were not state qualifiers, did a great job leading our team. They made a big impact in our program and will be missed.”
The completed season was obviously a success, and Roberts feels the future of Cardinal track and field is bright, as well.
“It was a really fun season. I thought our kids competed really well all season and made some good steady improvements,” the Card mentor said. “There was a big learning curve for the majority of our kids, having missed last season due to COVID. So I’m really happy with where all of our kids ended up and look forward to seeing what kind of improvements we can continue to make with our underclassmen in the future.”
But that can wait. Right now, it’s time to savor the feats and accomplishments of 2021 – medals, team championships, state competition, records, and the ultimate – All Class Gold.