Local athletes crowned as state champions at State Track Meet
OMAHA, Neb. (KSNB) - For both classes A and B, it was ‘Championship Thursday’ at the State Track & Field Championships in Omaha.
After winning the Class B Boys Shot Put Championship Wednesday, Aurora’s Gage Griffith was back at it in the boys discus, and the Wyoming track commit has another state title to his name. He edged out 2nd place by just a foot with a throw of 168′11″. The throw also allowed the Husky to repeat as state champ in the event.
”It means a lot,” Griffith said. “A lot of time, a lot of praying and a lot of work put into those goals, so it feels good. I’m proud to go out on top. Now it’s just on to college and doing the same thing there.”
In the Class A Girls Shot Put, Kearney High’s Avery Franzen brought home a medal by finishing third in the event with a throw of 40′6.5″. She and teammate Haidyn Skeen represented the Bearcats in the throws in Omaha.
Another local champion came out of the Class B Boys Long Jump as McCook’s Adam Dugger got some redemption for coming up just short on a tie-breaker in the triple jump. In the long jump, however, Dugger made sure there wasn’t a tie with a new personal record jump of 23′5.75″, which was good enough to win gold.
”It kind of gave me extra motivation to get out here and jump even farther than I have,” Dugger said about losing out on the triple jump. “It’s great, especially the atmosphere, man, the atmosphere gets me going. It feels great to represent the city and southwest Nebraska. It gets a lot of disrespect, so it’s good to represent.”
To the Class B Girls Triple Jump we go, where it was littered with top local finishers. Lexington’s Mia Rowe finished second overall with a jump of 36′4.25″ and just behind her was Kearney Catholic’s Rosalynn Roggasch who recorded a jump of 36′1.75″. Staying in Class B, Kearney Catholic’s Margaret Haarberg ended the day on the podium for high jump, finishing in a tie for 7th after she cleared the bar at 5′1″.
We also saw a top finisher come from the Class A Boys Pole Vault, as Kearney High’s Zach Watson tied for fourth place after clearing 14′. He tied Lincoln Southeast’s Grahm Petersen at the mark.
On the track, four more local champions were crowned. First, in the Class B Boys 800-Meter Run, St. Paul’s Conner Wells came into the day looking to defend his 2021 championship in the event, and it took some grit, but the Wildcat did go back-to-back. Jack Wade of Omaha Skutt gave him a run for his money, but Wells withstands the push and wins the gold medal with a time of 1:56.01. He said the feeling of another state title was surreal.
”I can’t believe I did it again,” Wells told Local4 after the win. “I knew it was going to be tough this year, tougher than last year. It was way tougher than last year I feel like. The first lap I knew I was moving pretty fast. I’ve raced Cole Murray before and I knew and he gets in and likes to turn the corner pretty fast. On that back stretch I just tried to maintain my speed there. Been working on finishing drills in practice, so those finishing drills in practice really paid off on that last 200.”
One of the big headlines of the day came from the Class B Girls 400-Meter Relay as Grand Island Northwest rode a strong start all the way to the finish line. Samantha Roby was the anchor leg for the Vikings and she finished off not only a first place time, but Northwest also broke the old state record in the event, with a final time of 48.12 seconds.
”Oh my gosh, (I’m) on top of the world,” Roby said right after the race. “That was the coolest thing. That’s what we were trying to get the whole time. We wanted to get a faster time than we did in districts and we just went out and did it and had so much fun. We’ve tried so hard and worked these handoffs so many times and just trusting each other and it felt really good.”
In the Class B Boys 1600-Meter Run, Lexington flexed its bright future as sophomore distance sensation Ian Salazar-Molina won the gold with a time of 4:26.77. This title came after he won the gold in the 3200-Meter Run Wednesday.
”It feels amazing knowing I can represent Lexington well, knowing that I’m bringing a good name to Lexington,” Salazar-Molina said. “It feels amazing, and it’s an awesome experience. I know there’s people there to push me and I’m there to push some people too.”
Finally, in the Class B Girls 1600-Meter Run, York’s Kassidy Stuckey entered the field as the favorite, and she delivered. The sophomore won the state championship with a final time of 5:14.96.
”It’s an awesome feeling that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Stuckey said. “A lot of people don’t get to feel that, but it’s so awesome just to be able to race any time, so I’m just thankful for that.”
No local teams brought home a team championship in either Class A or B, as Fremont and Lincoln Southwest took the Class A boys and girls titles respectively, while Sidney and Elkhorn North snagged the Class B boys and girls titles respectively.
For Part 2 of our Day 2 state coverage, check out the video below!
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