22 earn their spots

BHS athletes qualify for state track and field


With the 400-meter relay baton in hand, Blair sophomore Ben Holcomb crouched down beyond the finish line and watched the video board on the south end of Memorial Stadium.
Results for the Class B District 4 race scrolled past as the Bear watched with wide eyes. Once he caught what he wanted to see, Holcomb shot up out of his crouch and celebrated the state qualification of four more BHS athletes — himself included.
Overall, coach Bryan Soukup's team qualified 22 for the state meet during Tuesday's competition in Columbus. The girls' lineup finished third in the team standings, while the boys took fourth.
Junior Nolan Slominski said the most pleasant surprise qualification of the meet was the 400 relay's. Holcomb, Zac Keeling, Zach Lindau and Gaven Hammond earned second in 44.67 seconds, which was just 0.01 better than third-place South Sioux City who they'll not have to face next week at Omaha Burke Stadium.
Like Holcomb, Lindau said he was staring down the results board after his Bears stopped the clock.
“I was definitely watching very closely because it was a very close race,” he explained. “Ben came in clutch.”
Eighteen more BHS athletes clinched their state spots Tuesday, including the 800-meter medalist — Slominski. Calin O'Grady, Ted Lueders, Caleb Funk, Ethan Baessler and he were all apart of event wins.
“I would say it was pretty good day,” Slominski said.
O'Grady, Lueders, Funk and he won the 3,200 relay in 8:19.33, while Baessler finished the 100-meter dash in 11.12 seconds.
“Running's fun,” the sprinter said. “I love competing. I just love it all”
Baessler started his track career this spring after playing baseball as a freshman. Friends got him involved, knowing how quick he is.
The Bear set the Class B-leading time in the 100 dash early in the season, but was forced out of action to rest an injury. He was done resting Tuesday, though.
“Oh yeah,” Baessler said when asked if the qualification made up for all of the meets he missed out on. “Yep.”
In addition to the Bears' district gold medalists, Hailey Amandus (800-meter run), Kaitlynn Amandus (3,200 relay), Sophia Baedke (3,200 relay), Makayla Baughman (3,200 relay, 800 run and 1,600 relay), Sam Cemer (pole vault), Allie Czapla (3,200 run), Reece Ewoldt (3,200 relay, 400 dash and 1,600 relay), Dawson Fricke (3,200 run), Greta Galbraith (pole vault and 400 relay), Audie Keeling (400 relay), Brynn Lundgren (400 relay), Erika Roehrs (300 hurdles, 400 relay and 1,600 relay) and Schuyler Roewert (1,600 relay) advanced onto state Tuesday.
“I came to do four events and I qualified for three,” Baughman said. “Disc didn't go the way I wanted, but I'm really proud of my performances today. Really happy for our relays, too. That was big.”
While she was a part of two, Lindau explained what led his 400 relay squad to the NSAA Championships.
“We had that drive and we just wanted it,” he said. “It's my senior year. Would have been my last race if we didn't make it to state.”
Two days of Class B competition starts 9 a.m. next Wednesday at Burke Stadium.

Tuesday at Pawnee Park, Columbus
Team standings: Columbus Lakeview 116, Albion Boone Central 79, Pierce 67, Blair 59, South Sioux City 51.33, O'Neill 35, West Point-Beemer 35, Arlington 33, Wayne 21.33, Schuyler 15.33, Columbus Scotus 15.
Top-6 BHS Finishers
100-meter dash: 1, Ethan Baessler, 11.12 seconds. 6, Zac Keeling, 11.54.
800 run: 1, Nolan Slominski, 2:00.34.
1,600 run: 4, Calin O'Grady, 4:43.18. 6, Dawson Fricke, 4:48.99.
3,200 run: 2, Fricke, 10:27.23.
400 relay: 2, BHS (Keeling, Zach Lindau, Gaven Hammond, Ben Holcomb), 44.67.
1,600 relay: 5, BHS (Toby Ray, Slominski, Ted Lueders, Caleb Funk), 3:38.01.
3,200 relay: 1, BHS (O'Grady, Slominski, Lueders, Funk), 8:19.33.
High jump: 4, Ethan Belsky, 5 feet, 9 inches.
Discus: 6, Braden McGill, 132-9.
Team standings: Pierce 110, Arlington 82, Blair 75, Lakeview 56, South Sioux City 49, Scotus 40, West Point-Beemer 34, O'Neill 33, Wayne 22, Schuyler 14, Boone Central 12.
Top-6 BHS Finishers
400-meter dash: 3, Reece Ewoldt, 1:02.5. 5, Jade Wickwire, 1:03.91.
800 run: 2, Makayla Baughman, 2:24.54. 4, Hailey Amandus, 2:26.74. 6, Ewoldt, 2:31.17.
3,200 run: 2, Allie Czapla, 12:30.68.
400 relay: 3, BHS (Brynn Lundgren, Erika Roehrs, Audie Keeling, Greta Galbraith), 51.55.
1,600 relay: 2, BHS (Baughman, Ewoldt, Schuyler Roewert, Roehrs), 4:10.86.
3,200 relay: 2, BHS (Sophia Baedke, Ewoldt, Kaitlynn Amandus, Baughman), 9:50.06.
100 hurdles: 6, Sam Cemer, 17.45 seconds.
300 hurdles: 2, Roehrs, 47.04. 6, Roewert, 49.51.
Pole vault: 2, Cemer, 9 feet, 10 inches. 3, Galbraith, 9-4.

Blair Track


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