Blair track and field coach Bryan Soukup upped his volume and called out across the Ralston High School football field to assistant Jennifer Fangmeier on Saturday afternoon.
“Did you hear the time?” he asked, his voice carrying.
The Bears' 400-meter relay team had just bested a collection of Class A schools in 49.94 seconds, a time Soukup knew and was excited to inform Fangmeier of. The effort — which was 0.03 off of the school record — was one of several solid marks set by BHS during the Gary Dubbs Ralston Relays meet.
“Coach Fangmeier does a fabulous job with our sprinters and the (400 relay), and it helps to have experienced veterans like Grace Galbraith and Abby Osborn in the foursome,” Soukup said.
The two seniors, who've been key cogs of the relay since their state appearance as freshmen, combined with Reese Beemer and Erika Roehrs for the event win — one of three for the Bears.
“I was really impressed today with how well our athletes encouraged each other throughout the day,” Soukup said. “We stress all the time that we are one team, both boys and girls combined. I think you saw that today.”
Unique relay races, including grade-specific and hurdle events, are completed during the annual Ralston event. Field event totals are even tabulated to determine overall team winners there, too.
Blair' second relay victory of the day came in the freshman 800 sprint medley. Peyton Shaffer, Audie Keeling, Greta Galbraith and Reece Ewoldt combined to win and set a new meet record. They clocked in at 1:58.95, besting the 2:00.14 mark set by Lincoln North Star in 2015.
“They ran great,” Soukup said.
The Bears didn't win the team title in the shot put, but Hailey Baker did earn top individual honors. The senior Wayne State College recruit took first place with a throw of 39 feet, 9.5 inches. The mark is the second-best on BHS' top-10 chart.
In addition to the event wins, Grace Galbraith was second in the pole vault and Baker was third in the discus. Multiple relay teams earned second- and third-place finishes as well.
“This is such a fun group to coach,” Soukup said. “We had athletes step up today, compete and even surprise the coaching staff.”
Blair was third in the girls' team standings behind Fremont and Norfolk, while the boys were fifth overall.