Joe Flanagan, Albion News/Boone County Tribune
(Photos, Nolan Vandenburg, Boone Central Schools)
What a day for Cardinals and Chargers!
Near the end of April each year, athletes in all classes of competition with the best times, distances and heights in the central region of the state are invited to test their talents and mettle in the Central Nebraska Track Championships at Grand Island Northwest High School.
The meet has long been dubbed a “mini state championships preview.”
Boone Central and Riverside athletes proved once again Monday they belonged in such elite company at the 2023 event. The Cards and Chargers not only belonged, they excelled.
Blessed with excellent weather conditions and competition that spurred acheivement, News/Tribune Area standouts brought home numerous medals – including gold – along with personal bests and records.
Yes, quite a day.
“Our kids had a great day in the CNTC … lots of personal bests and a couple of record set,” Boone Central Coach Susan Roberts acknowledged. “Proud of the way all of our kids competed – several in the top six! They took advantage of the opportunity to get better against great competition.”
Cardinal senior Jack Roberts provided one of the day’s highlights.
Roberts and Central City’s Tyson Carroll renewed their friendly rivalry just four days after dueling in the hurdle events in the Dave Gee Invite on the same Northwest track. And, just like the previous competition, Roberts won gold in the 300 meter hurdles while Carroll took top honors in the 110 meter highs.
Roberts not only won Monday, he ran a blistering 38.29 in the 300s, besting Carroll (38.75), setting new meet and stadium records, and breaking his school record set a year ago while winning the All-Class gold medal in the Nebraska State Championships. The time is also the best posted to date this year in all classes. Carroll, who owns the best all-class time in the 110 highs in 2023, claimed gold in that event Monday in 14.36, with Roberts runner-up (14.60).
Barring district disaster, an exhilarating preview of state championships supremacy in mid-May.
Roberts was not Boone’s only record-breaker at Grand Island. Card Claire Primrose placed second in Monday’s triple jump (35’3), re-establishing her own school record for the third time this season.
Boone Central’s 4×400 meter relay team captured the Cards’ other gold medals. Bookended by Thomas and Jack Roberts, who were joined by Ryan Drueppel and Jaden Hagemann, Boone lowered it’s News/Tribune Area best time to 3:30.62.
Rounding out Top 3 performances by Cardinals were Alex Christo, third in the 800 meters (2:04.33); Trent Patzel, second in the shot put (51’10); Jaxon Lipker, runner-up in the high jump (6’4), and Ava Buhlmann, third in the 300 meter hurdles (46.97). The efforts by Christo, Patzel and Buhlmann were also News/Tribune Area bests in 2023. Riverside’s Carson Bloom continued his outstanding 2023 campaign, placing second in the long jump (22’2½) and 100 meter dash (11.07) and anchoring the runner-up Charger 4×100 relay (area best 44.05) that included Andrew Crick, Drew Carraher and Jack Molt. Molt also ran third in the 200 meters (22.70).
Additional Boone Central performances Monday were by Lipker (110 hurdles, 5th, 16.21); Drueppel (800, 4th, 2:04.49); Hagemann (800, 6th, 2:05.52); Zander Jarecki (1600, 8th, area best 4:57.42; 3200, 8th, 11:03.10); Logan Spence (3200, 7th, 10:58.09); Payton Sullivan (shot put, 5th, 36’9¾); Kassidy Beister (1600, 7th, area best 5:59.23); Buhlmann (100 hurdles, 4th, 16.84) and the 4×100 relay team of Ciara Baker, Mara Ranslem, Ashlyn Krohn and Ava Duerksen (5th, area best 50.95).
Riverside’s Grace Mahoney finished 6th in the 300 meter hurdles (48.09), Bloom took 6th in the pole vault (12’6) and Izek Leslie was 7th in the pole vault (12’6).
The sun was not the only thing shining in Grand Island Monday. Cardinals and Chargers made very bright impressions, as well.