When all was said and done in Creek Valley, at this year’s Class D9 District track meet, 15 athletes from either Sioux County or Crawford were headed to State.
Eight of those athletes wore the purple and gold of Sioux County. Of those eight, seven were Warrior girls who helped lead their team to a 77.5 point, second-place, finish in team scoring.
Four of those girls, Grace Skavdahl, Kodie Rempp, Becky Watson, and Kaycee Thompson, were members of a championship-winning 4x800 relay team that completed the race over twenty-seconds faster than second-place finishing group from Hyannis.
Their time of 10 minutes, 52.16 seconds was the group’s season-best performance, over half-a-minute quicker than their previous best, and the 13th best time recorded in Class D this season.
Two Sioux County throwers, Bailey Oetken and Kalen Lotton, will join their teammates in Burke this weekend.
In Creek Valley, Oetken placed second in shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 3.75 inches. Banner County’s MaKenna Dahlgrin, who dominated both throwing events, threw the shot put six-feet farther to earn first place in the event.
Oetken would go on to place third in discus after being out-thrown by teammate Lotton who took second place with a throw of 96 feet, 4.25 inches, a personal-record for the sophomore.
Freshman hurdler Karlee Juhnke is the seventh Sioux County girl headed to State after placing second in the 300 meter hurdles with a personal-record finish of her own. Her time of 51.21 seconds narrowly edged Letyon’s Madelyn Watchorn, and teammate Angela Johnson finished fourth in the event with a time of 55.45 seconds.
The lone Sioux County boys’ runner attending the State meet will be junior Jordan Buhr, who returns to competition in Burke for the second time after qualifying in 100 meter, 200 meter, and long jump.
Buhr hit a sweet-spot this April posting some of the best times of his career in the 100 meters, before slowing slightly at this past weekend’s District meet in Ogallala. Nevertheless, his time of 11.70 seconds was a hundredth-of-a-second faster than Creek Valley’s Garrett Sawyer, earning him his second championship of the day.
The junior’s first win of the day came in the long jump where his 20 foot, 2 inch leap was nearly three-feet farther than second-place finisher Noah Knapp of Creek Valley.
Buhr will compete in a third event this weekend as he also qualified for State in the 200 meters, finishing with a time 24.42 seconds to earn second place in the event.
Not to be outshone during the Class D action in Creek Valley, Crawford will be sending seven of its own athletes to State on the heels of third-place worthy outing for the Rams’ boys.
Despite a nice finish near the top of the team standings for the boys, the Rams were led by freshman Jillian Brennan who took District titles in both the girl’s 1600 and 3200 meter races.
In the 1600, Brennan clocked a time of 6 minutes, 3.04 seconds, leading second-place finisher Alyssa Shaw of Hyannis by just over three seconds. Teammate Cambrea Vogel was third in the event with a time of 6 minutes, 14.22 seconds.
Brennan then continued what’s been a great first season by dominating the 3200 meter race, again defeating Hyannis’ Shaw, this time by nearly 43 seconds, after completing the race in 12 minutes, 51.38 seconds.
Though only just beginning her high school career, the freshman could do well in Burke this coming weekend. Her 12 minutes, 21.51 second personal-record in the 3200 meters, set in April at the Best in the West Classic, was the fourth fastest time recorded in Class D this season.
Fellow girls’ runner Morgan Jones joined Brennan as another impressive Crawford freshman after qualifying for State with a first-place finish in the 400 meters. Her 1 minute, 5.57 second run was her best of the season.
Another Ram who could have a big day at State is senior boys’ high jumper Aaron Alcorn who’ll return to Burke for the fourth, and final, time, with the chance to not only finish atop the podium, but to also match or break a Class D State record.
Twice in his career Alcorn has cleared the 6 feet 8 inch mark, including earlier this season at the Chadron Twilight where he nearly matched the state record of 6 feet, 9.5 inches set by Whit Smith of Waterloo in 2001, were it not for his left heel grazing the bar just enough to send it falling.
Alcorn’s results since the Twilight meet have been a bit inconsistent, but his clearing of 6 feet, 6 inches at Districts in Creek Valley was good enough for first place.
Crawford’s final first-place finisher was senior distance-runner Austin Kennedy who narrowly edged Banner County’s Deven Sullivan to win the 3200 meters. His 10 minute, 50.3 second finish earned him his third straight title in the event.
Kennedy’s personal record time of 10 minutes, 10.97 seconds, posted during the Best in the West Classic, was Class D’s second best time in the event this season.
Kennedy, along with teammates Dennis Vogl, Andy Wendland, and Spencer Jones, also qualified for State in the 4x800 relay after posting an event-winning time of 9 minutes, 1.82 seconds in Creek Valley.
Wendland will also compete in the 400 meters having qualified with a 55.04 second, second-place finish at Districts.
Results can be found elsewhere in this section.