First district championship for
boys since 2001
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
By a 48-point margin, Chase County’s Longhorns took the boys’ C-11 district championship last Thursday, and with it came eight state qualifiers in eight events.
The Longhorns captured the gold in three events, taking first in the 110 meter high hurdles and 300 meter int. hurdles, both by Kevin German, in addition to a championship race by the 1600 meter relay team of Dan Sullivan, Kale Gockley, David Almanza and German.
Second place finishes, which also qualified them for state, came from Justus Wallin in both the shot and discus, Kelton Fisher in high hurdles, Shay Eidson in triple jump and Holden Dreiling in the 1600.
In addition to his relay, Sullivan was also an individual qualifier in the 800 with a second place finish.
Not since 2001 has Chase County boys’ team claimed a district championship.
But, first place team finishes have been the norm this season, as the Longhorns won five of six meets.
One of those was also the SPVA Conference championship, which the Longhorns last won in 2007.
Head Coach Carl Zuege was still beaming Monday, four days later.
He said he knew the championship was theirs after a 15-20 minute span in the afternoon.
“Fifty-four points happened for us in that span, and that put us over the top,” Zuege said.
After Wallin and Justin German took second and third in the shot, Eidson was announced as a second place finisher in triple jump.
Travis Luhrs scored six points in the high jump for third, just missing state qualification, then German and Fisher went one-two in the hurdles. And, Jake Lueth took third in the pole vault, all happening in 15-20 minutes.
One of the nice surprises at the meet was Eidson’s second place triple jump. The CCS junior jumped a foot further than his previous best, bypassing the third place mark by half an inch to make the state cut.
“You talk about the little things in track and that was one of them,” Zuege smiled.
German and Fisher had the top two times in the high hurdles coming into districts, but Zuege said that’s not ever a guarantee, especially in the hurdles.
“All it takes is a clip on one of them, so I was really happy how their times held up and they got themselves to state,” Zuege said.
Fisher also ran a personal best in the 300 meter hurdles, just missing state with a third place finish.
Those at the shot put pit last Thursday saw a great battle between Chase County’s Wallin and Vinny Ross of Perkins County.
With just their last throws left in the finals, Wallin took over first place when he threw 1’4” further than his previous best, earning himself an automatic state qualification with a 50’4 3/4” throw.
Not to be outdone, Ross stepped up and threw the shot 50’11 1/4”, also an automatic qualifying mark, but took the district championship, as well.
The 1600 meter relay team held the lead throughout the race winning by a comfortable 2.3 seconds at the finish, and has the ninth best time coming into state.
Zuege said the coaches are making some adjustments and changes with the team “so the guys will be ready.” There is just one senior on this year’s team, as well, so this week’s performance should be something on which to build, he said.
Junior Trey Milner is traveling to the state meet with the team as the relay’s alternate runner.
Sullivan was just four-tenths of a second off the first place time in the 800, but was well ahead of third place, running close to his personal best.
Of course, there were some disappointments, Zuege noted.
One was the 3200 meter relay team, which led the whole race until late in the last leg when Bridgeport’s Cody Franklin ran a 1:58 split to take over the lead and pull out the win.
Only the first place relay teams qualify.
Zuege said the Longhorn 3200 relay team came into districts with the fastest time by 20 seconds, but noted there are lessons to be learned.
“It’s never, ever easy and if you are not killing yourself all the way in these races, you are not going to qualify,” he said.
Chase County’s team took a second off their personal best, but needed to shave about 10 seconds, Zuege said.
One positive, though, is all of last week’s relay members—Dreiling, Indy Smith, Luhrs and Sullivan—will be back next year, he said.
Dreiling’s third in the 3200 kept him from qualifying, but he experienced some discomfort in a leg after running the 3200 meter relay.
“But, he came back strong to get second in the 1600,” Zuege said, with Indy Smith running a strong third in the 1600.
Lueth’s third in the pole vault came after he jumped four inches further than his previous best at 11’10”. That tied the second place jump, but Lueth had one more miss, so took third.
“He’s just a sophomore, too,” Zuege said, adding that Lueth continued to improve as the season progressed and was just peaking last week.
The team finished with a lot of thirds, which bodes well for next year.
Zuege hopes those third place finishes and near-misses for state will be motivators for his team, who will continue to work hard next year.
“We were a good team this year. But next year, we will be a really good team,” Zuege predicted.
Team scoring in the boys’ division at districts was Chase County 144, Bridgeport 96, Perkins County 90, Dundy County/Stratton 71, Bayard 41, Hemingford 30, Kimball 28 and Morrill 27.
Here are all the district medal winners from Chase County and the firsts in all events.
100 meter dash—1st, Elliot Carlson, PC, 11.0.
200 meter dash—6th, Trey Milner, CC, 25.2. Winning time—Elliot Carlson, PC, 23.1.
400 meter dash—1st, Ethan Skinner, Hem., 52.0.
800 meter run—2nd, Dan Sullivan, CC, 2:08.0; 6th, Hunter Dillan, CC, 2:17.4. Winning time—Caleb Reuter, Kim., 2:07.6.
1600 meter run—2nd, Holden Dreiling, CC, 4:55.1; 3rd, Indy Smith, CC, 4:59.0. Winning time—Cody Franklin, Bridge., 4:45.9.
3200 meter run—3rd, Holden Dreiling, CC, 11:05.5; 4th, Andrew Vaverek, CC, 11:37.6; 5th, Garret Thompson, CC, 11:50.3. Winning time—Cody Franklin, Bridge., 10:43.4.
100 meter hurdles—1st, Kevin German, CC, 16.5; 2nd, Kelton Fisher, CC, 16.9.
300 meter hurdles—1st, Kevin German, CC, 42.4; 3rd, Kelton Fisher, CC, 45.3.
High jump—3rd, Travis Luhrs, CC, 5’8”. Winning mark—Taylor Lackey, Morr., 5’9”.
Pole vault—3rd, Jake Lueth, CC, 11’10; 6th, Destyn Milner, CC, 10’6”. Winning mark—Tyrell Reichert, DC, 12’2”.
Long jump—4th, Shay Eidson, CC, 17’11.75”. Winning mark—Jaime Gonzales, Bridgep., 20’7.25”.
Triple jump—2nd, Shay Eidson, CC, 39’11.50”. Winning mark—Tyrell Reichert, DC, 41’.25”.
Shot put—2nd, Justus Wallin, CC, 50’4.75”; 3rd, Justin German, CC, 45’4.25”. Winning mark—Vinny Ross, PC, 50’11.25”.
Discus—2nd, Justus Wallin, CC, 133’10”; 3rd, Brian Bell, CC, 132’11”; 6th, Justin German, CC, 119’3”. Winning mark—Vinny Ross, PC, 138’3”.
400 meter relay—5th, Chase County, Michael May, David Almanza, Kale Gockley, Trey Milner, 46.5. Winning time—Perkins County, 44.4.
1600 meter relay—1st, Chase County, Dan Sullivan, Kale Gockley, David Almanza, Kevin German, 3:34.6.
3200 meter relay—2nd, Chase County, Holden Dreiling, Indy Smith, Travis Luhrs, Dan Sullivan, 8:47.0. Winning time—Bridgeport, 8:43.6.
Long jump—Sergio Almanza, 17’1”.
800—Hunter Dillan, 2:17.
Triple jump—Shay Eidson, 39’11.5”; Khris Kuhlmann, 36’11”.
300 hurdles—Kelton Fisher, 45.2.
Shot put—Justin German, 45’4”; Justus Wallin, 50’4.75”.
Discus—Justin German, 119’3”.
Pole vault—Jake Lueth, 11’10”; Destyn Milner, 10’6”.
Leaving Thursday for Omaha
The Longhorns will leave today (Thursday) at 8 a.m. for the two-day state meet at Omaha Burke Stadium on Friday and Saturday. An afternoon practice at Boystown is planned.
Chase County is in the early session of events Friday, starting at 9 a.m. CT with the 3200 meter relay finals.
The Longhorns do have several chances for bringing home the hardware, Zuege said.
“Our focus will be to do a great job at state and set personal records,” he said.
The full schedule of the state meet can be found on the NSAA website: www.nsaahome.org