Taylor Menke of Friend and Dusty Axline of Exeter-Milligan each won silver in the Class D pole vault competitions at the Nebraska State Track and Field Championships May 17 and 18 in Omaha.
Menke vaulted 10-0 to finish second in the girls’ event, while Axline cleared 13-8 for second in the boys’ contest and a new school record.
“Dusty did a great job vaulting,” EM Coach Brian Murphy said. “Dusty had 14-0 cleared by several inches, but hit the bar with his arm on the way down. He was thrilled about his performance.”
Friend Coach Mikayla Baumert was happy with Menke’s performance, as well.
“Taylor is a true athlete that competes until the very end,” she said. “She is usually the last one to leave the track at night. She has worked very hard for all of her accomplishments this season.
The Friend 4x800-meter relay team of Menke, Morgan Pfeiffer, Riley Focht and Mariah Hulse finished third in 10:02.97, setting a new school record and breaking their record set at districts, Baumert said.
“The girls that were part of the relay set very high goals for themselves right after districts. They wanted to beat the school record and place high at the state meet. The girls reached both goals, shattering the school record that was previously 10:12.6 seconds,” she said.
Exeter-Milligan’s team of Jennifer Pribyl, Amber Pribyl, Taylor Erdkamp and Alicia Bigelow wasn’t far behind, finishing fourth in 10:04.78. Coach Jackson Krejci said the time was one second off the school record set three years ago.
The 4x400-meter relay team of Jennifer and Amber Pribyl, Maitlyn Thomsen and Bigelow was third in 4:18.69.
The two relays have medaled in seven of their eight chances over the last four years at state, Krejci said. Erdkamp, Jennifer Pribyl and Bigelow have been on both since they were freshmen.
Thomsen jumped 16-5.75 in the long jump to finish fifth. Krejci said her goal was to break her previous school record, which was 16-7. She also ran in the 200-meter dash and, while running one of her better times, did not advance to the finals.
Hulse finished sixth in the triple jump with a career best 34-4 leap and setting a new school record.
“Mariah came out Saturday morning ready to compete. She was upset from her long jump performance the night before,” Baumert said. “I am so proud of her hard work. She comes to practice everyday with a huge smile on her face and a positive attitude. It has been fun to watch her grow throughout the season.”
Amber Pribyl finished in a tie for seventh in the high jump at 5-0.
“We thought if she could clear that, then she might have a chance to place,” Krejci said.
Jennifer Pribyl ran her personal-best time of the year in the 800-meter run, placing seventh in 2:28.
Riley Zahourek of Dorchester finished seventh in the long jump with a jump of 20-2.5.
Haley Girmus competed in the high jump for Friend.
“Haley did a great job in high jump,” Baumert said. “She has worked very hard this year while dealing with a back issue.”
Taylor May was in the boys’ pole vault field and tied his personal best at 12-6. While he went out at the same height as the sixth-place finisher, May had more misses, Murphy said.
Nolan White in the discus had a good throw on his first attempt but he fell out of the front of the circle so the throw was scratched. He put his foot down a little early on his final throw, Murphy said.
“I would say Nolan’s timing was a little off Saturday morning,” he said.
Dalton Zelenka was Exeter-Milligan lone distance runner at the meet.
“Dalton came out too fast on his opening laps which hurt him later in the race. Dalton ran a 1:09 opening lap, where we would have liked him to be around 1:20. The rest of the field was under 1:12 opening lap, so it would have been difficult to stay that far back. However, I think that he still had a good experience running at the state meet,” Murphy said.
Corey Bird also represented Dorchester at the meet in the high jump. He cleared opening height and finished tied for 18th. Zahourek was also in the triple jump field.