Ely Olberding, Kaylee Taylor and Michael Maxon closed out the Fort Calhoun track and field season last May 17 and Thursday during the NSAA Class B State Championships in Omaha.
To start state week, though, the Pioneers had a banquet.
“We had a lot to celebrate this season,” coach Mandy Taylor said. “It seems weird because we only had three people here (at state), but we had 38 athletes get onto our all-time top-10 (lists).”
FCHS also nearly doubled the amount of team points it scored this season compared to last, she noted.
“We're working together more as a team, which is super fun,” the coach explained.
At Omaha Burke Stadium, though, the three Pioneer qualifiers worked independently in their events. Kaylee Taylor earned the best result, clearing 33 feet, 7.75 inches to take 12th in the triple jump. The sophomore's other two jumps were 33-2.5 and 33-3, respectively.
“I love how hard she works and the successes that she's finding,” said coach Taylor, her mother. “Obviously today wasn't her best. She's going to be a little bummed, but I'm still proud.”
Maxon, meanwhile, leapt 18-3.5 in the Class B boys' long jump. The sophomore first-time qualifier was 25th.
Maxon said he prepared for state by eating healthy, getting his mind right and by staying in tip-top shape. He enjoyed Calhoun's traditional prep rally and subsequent parade through his peers prior to state, too.
“I like the school atmosphere,” the Calhoun standout said. “It's really nice seeing all of my friends cheering me on.”
After making his debut at Burke Stadium, Maxon is looking to improve his efforts as a junior and senior.
“I want to try and hit the (long jump) board more,” he said. “Be more consistent.”
Olberding was consistent throughout his four years of high school athletics. The Southeast Community College wrestling recruit won an individual state title in his college sport, earned a team title in cross-country and was a multiple-time state track and field participant. On the first day of the 2023 Class B meet, he earned 17th in the 3,200-meter run, clocking in at 10.25.7.
Coach Taylor said both Olberding and his twin brother Lance will be missed at FCHS as they move onto college sports.
“Those two, they make me emotional, too,” she said. “They're ones where you don't have to ask. They just know and they do. Kind and hard-working. Couldn't ask for two better kids.”