Kadin Vrbas ran lights out in the sprints at districts, winning the 100 meter dash here by seven-hundredths of a second over Mitchell’s Kadin Perez. Vrbas also earned silver in the 200 and will run on the 400 meter relay team at state. (Johnson Publications photo)
Scott Wheeler, left, finished just a second behind 800 gold medalist Jack Linders of Bridgeport, but as silver medalist, punched his ticket to state, and will also run in all three relays. (Johnson Publications photo)
At right, Will Kuenne held a comfortable lead in the final lap of the 1600 for the district gold. He also earned gold in the 3200 for a double state qualification. (Johnson Publications photo)
Juan Venegas, running the anchor on the 400 meter relay team, will finish less than half a second behind Mitchell for the silver medal. But, the team made the state cut as one of seven additional qualifiers and will head to Omaha with the sixth fastest time in Class C. (Johnson Publications photo)
Jack Bauerle is a double state qualifier in the weights. Here, he is near to letting the discus fly en route to a gold medal. He also earned silver in the shot. (Johnson Publications photo)
State meet fans will get used to seeing Chase County boys on track
With 10 Longhorns qualifying in 11 events for this week’s state track meet, fans are going to get used to seeing the orange and black Chase County uniforms.
After clinching their second consecutive district championship last Thursday by nearly doubling runner-up Mitchell’s score, Coach Carl Zuege is excited to see what happens at Omaha Burke Stadium.
Chase County will be in all but two of the events on the track including all three relays. In field events, they’ll have three athletes in the shot and discus.
The Longhorns won the C-9 District Meet in Sutherland by 67 points. but Zuege said going into the meet, on paper, it looked like it would be a margin less than 20 points.
What happened? Zuege said it was a lot of outstanding performances by his team.
“That was about as good a track day as I can remember. I don’t think we had anyone not reach a PR,” he said.
“Time after time they stepped up and performed.”
Things got rolling early for Chase County, he said, coming off a good first session of field events.
There, Eli Hinojosa threw a PR of 49’10 1/2” to win the shot put, as teammate Jack Bauerle earned second. Both bettered Bridgeport’s Vasquez who came into the meet with some of the top throws in the state, Zuege said, but settled for third. With Evan Fisher’s fifth, that event alone racked up 20 points.
“It got going early. It seemed the boys and girls both just fed off each other and it carried into the running events,” he said.
“You could just see the team’s confidence keep rising. The other schools could see it too,” he said.
Kadin Vrbas, who will compete in three events at state, had a good start in the 100, winning his heat and then taking first overall, despite coming in with the fifth fastest time.
He was sitting in a similar position in the 200, and took second, earning another individual state qualification.
Will Kuenne had the fourth best time in the 1600, but won that afternoon event after clinching the 3200 gold earlier in the day.
Scott Wheeler, who’ll run in all three relays at state, also secured a spot in the open 800 when he finished second with a PR of 2:00.67.
In the afternoon field events, Trevor Peterson, whose PR had been 11’6”, vaulted 12’8” for sixth in a very strong C-9 pole vault field.
In the triple, Braden Space leaped 40’ 8 1/4” for third, just missing state qualification with that PR effort.
Evan Fisher had a great afternoon. After taking silver in the discus with a PR of 143’1”, he ran a PR in the high hurdle finals for third, but qualified for Omaha as the fastest third across Class C at 15.83.
Jack Bauerle knew early on his first throw in the prelims that he was headed to state. He blasted by the automatic qualifying mark of 145’ 2” with a toss of 153’2” which held on for the gold medal.
Zuege is especially excited about all three relays qualifying for state this year.
Both the 1600 and 3200 relays took the gold to qualify, and Chase County’s 1600 team has the second fastest time of all teams behind Lincoln Lutheran. The 400 relay earned silver, but its 44.56 time got in as the second fastest among the six additional qualifying teams.
“It’s been at least 15, 16 years that we’ve had a 400 meter team at state,” Zuege said.
Chase County’s 400 relay team has the sixth fastest time among all 16 teams competing in Class C.
Boys’ team scoring at district was Chase Co. 143, Mitchell 76, Bridgeport 70, Hershey 59, Sutherland 58, Perkins Co. 37, Bayard 35, Kimball 30, Hemingford 13 and Morrill 6.
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