Bluebirds take runner-up trophy
By DELBERT PETERS
Twenty-five points at the state track meet will usually earn a team a top-10 finish, but the Goessel 4x400-meter relay team wanted more.
They weren't sure they had a chance for second place, but wanted to win and move at least into third place as a team.
South Gray High School was eight points ahead of the Bluebirds before the final event, and if they finished fourth, as they had in the preliminaries, there would be no way for the Bluebirds to catch them.
John Berkholz started the relay holding his own and handing the baton to Grady Stultz.
Stultz, the only senior on the relay team, circled the track and handed off to Weston Hiebert.
Hiebert came in near the front of the pack and gave the baton to Craig Banman who ran a tremendous last lap to give the Bluebirds a victory and 10 points.
The second place team finished 1.89 seconds behind the Bluebirds.
Without the Goessel coaches noticing, South Gray finished in sixth place only earning two points, which meant after 18 events, both teams had identical scores for second place.
The relay team finished the race with a season best time of three minutes, 29.09 seconds.
Banman had a banner meet finishing first in two individual events and in a tie for third in another.
Setting a school record in the pole vault, Banman cleared 13 feet, six inches on his second attempt.
Only one 1A athlete cleared 14 feet and Banman was awarded five points in a tie for third place.
On the warm but windy Friday, Banman held the fastest time in the 200-meter dash preliminaries and also the fastest time in the 300m hurdles prelims.
On Saturday, with a south wind and overcast day, the Bluebird junior earned a first place in the 200 with a comfortable lead in a time of 23.06 seconds.
He also finished first in the hurdles with a time of 40.34 seconds.
Berkholz, Goessel's freshman qualifier, ran a 54.14 in the 400m dash, but finished 13th.
Cameron Stultz qualified for state and missed finals by .05 seconds in the 100m dash, coming in at 11.89.
The second-place team finish matches last year's finish for the boys.
Grady Stultz who graduated this past week, will need to be replaced on next year's team in order to meet the high standard of a plaque from the state track meet.
The girls' team was represented at the state meet with two relays.
Friday, the girls set a season best time of 4:30.00 in the 4x400m relay.
Aspen Frey, Amy Brubaker, Karina Harvey, and Kendra Flaming put together a good combination, but finished 14th place.
With 16 teams on the track for the 4x800m relay, the Goessel girls' team placed 11th and finished the eight-lap race in 10:55.06.
Kristen Hoffman, Kendra Flaming, Karina Harvey, and Aspen Frey all will be back next season.