Repeat bid falls short for CHS senior sprinter


After winning gold in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes last year, Centennial senior Savannah Horne entered the 2024 state track meet with high hopes.

While she brought home two medals, neither was gold. Horne won bronze in the 100 in the third-best time of her career – 12.33 seconds, which was also faster than her gold medal time last year.

“Unfortunately for her, the all-class gold medalist (Hazel Haarberg of Kearney Catholic) was in her race and set the state meet record (11.73 seconds),” Coach Rob Johansen said. “Similar results happened in the 200m dash. In the prelims, Savannah broke her school record time, now at 25.37, and finished fifth in the race at 25.82.”

The medals were the sixth and seventh Horne has won at the state track meet, Johansen said.

Camden Winkelman also brought home a fifth-place medal in the pole vault, clearing 13-0. He’d hoped to go 14-0, Johansen said.

During the pole vault, which was the morning of May 18, the wind changed direction, leading officials to flip the pole vault so vaulters came from the north end instead of the south, where they started.

“We anticipated that happening and held off attempting 12-0 where he was going to start vaulting,” Johansen said. “It would have been into the wind and risked a miss. We chose to wait until 12-6 when they flipped the direction from north to south, still posing a risk as that was his PR from before districts.”

Winkelman came through, however, and made both 12-6 and 13-0 on his first attempts.

“Camden has come a long way in the final weeks of the season and still has some work at the top end of his vault. It will be fun to see how high he can go next year,” Johansen said.

Grace Schernikau competed in the 3,200-meter run and finished in 12:56.05. The race was contested in the heat of the day, Johansen said, and many runners struggled with that.

“It was a good run for her in the less than ideal temps, but she gained the state meet race experience that will be valuable for her next year,” he said.

Fellow juniors Catelynn Bargen and Paul Fehlhafer competed in the shot put and gained the “big meet experience,” Johansen said.

“I always think that the shot put at state can be the most nerve racking as the spectators are closer to this event than any other and that can get a little uncomfortable for some as they are used to the small meets during the year,” he said.

Bargen finished with a throw of 35-0.25, and Fehlhafer had a mark of 48-1.

“It is always great to make it to state before your senior year to know what to expect so you can come back next year and improve on your marks,” Johansen said. “Both Catelynn and Paul had large improvements from last season and it will be exciting to see how much more they can improve.”