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‘Cats earn runner-up trophy at own Invite

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HARTINGTON — For the second week in a row, the Hartington-Newcastle Wildcat boys track team earned runner-up honors at a track meet here.

“We really performed well,” HNS boys coach Blair Kalin said. “Sprinters with Peitz, Heitman, and McIntosh are proving to be an early season strength. Lane Heimes has been really strong in the vault. He is getting better all the time. Our hurdlers and throwers are improving.

Kalin praised Coach Brandon Eickhoff for his work with the hurdlers.

“He has had a long string of really good ones and has some developing right now. I like where we sit right now with this young team,” Kalin said.

The boys efforts were led by Kobe Heitman (first, 100 dash, 11.83; second, 200 dash, 24.59; third, long jump, 18- 06.25), Jake Peitz (first, 200 dash, 24.54; first, shot put, 44-02.50; third, 100 dash, 11.92), Mayson McIntosh (first, 300 hurdles, 47.16; fourth, 200 dash, 25.10), the 4x100 relay (second, 47.95), Lane Heimes (first, pole vault, 10-06; second, 300 hurdles, 49.56; second, high jump, 5-08), the 4x800 relay (third, 9:55.89), Aiden Gratzfeld (fourth, pole vault, 10-00), the 4x400 relay (fifth, 4:20.25), Kale Korth (fifth, 110 hurdles, 20.97), Ky Rice (fifth, 300 hurdles, 51.11), Keegan Carl (sixth, 110 hurdles, 21.83) and Bennett Sievers (sixth, high jump, 5-04; sixth, triple jump, 35-01.25).

Peitz said the young team has continued to improve and the year-long expectations in other sports for the younger kids has helped this spring.

“We have some sophomores that are doing pretty good,” Peitz said. “The girls and boys are both pretty young. They are expected to step up now. During football or whatever, they were getting into the groove and it is, ‘this is how you are supposed to do it,’ now.

“It’s how they carry themselves and they now have responsibilities with classwork and stuff to be able to play sports. They are a lot more mature, and you are seeing them get more athletic and doing the workouts. They are getting more comfortable in their bodies.

The girls’ team found a way to hang in there amidst the typical April cold temps.

“Our distance runners Jessica Opfer and Kennedy Gotch helped the Lady Cats score in all three distance races with Jessica finishing fourth in the 1,600 and pushing through a tough day for third place in the 3,200,” Lady Wildcats coach Laura Noecker said. “I’m really happy to see Kennedy running up in the pack. She just needs confidence because she has the running ability to score consistently in the 800.

“Sophomore Daisy Sage looks good in the 400 finishing just out of the medals with eighth place. Daisy is a smooth runner and has great technique around the corners. I believe that with training and more races that this young runner is only going to get better and better.”

The Lady Wildcats were sparked by the performances of:

Zoey Gratzfeld (second, triple jump, 29-04.5), Jessica Opfer (third, 3,200 run, 14:21.74; fourth, 1,600 run, 6:36.57),

the 4x400 relay (third, 5:28.96), Keanna Korth (fourth, 100 hurdles, 19.11; sixth, 300 hurdles, 1:00.53),

the 4x800 relay (fourth, 12:53.26), Emma Wubben (fourth, shot put, 27-05; fifth, discus, 82- 00),

the 4x100 relay (fifth, 59.05), Mani Lange (fifth, pole vault, 6-06; fifth, long jump, 13-11.5),

Kennedy Gotch (sixth, 800 run, 3:02.56), Riley Krause (sixth, high jump, 4-00) and Caroline Nelson (sixth, pole vault, 6-06).

This week the girls put together a 4 x 800-meter relay with a younger group that Noecker likes. That team is composed of Daisy Sage, Abby Anderson, Kennedy Gotch and Zoey Gratzfeld.

“They have a good chemistry together and I think they proved to themselves that they can run at a competitive level,” Noecker said. Noecker also has her eye on some strong field performances. “Our throwers are working so very hard and continue to

“Our throwers are working so very hard and continue to improve in the shot put,” Noecker said. “Our team really puts a lot of emphasis on PR’s if you keep improving your times and distances that is all that we ask.

“Some track meet days are not record-breaking days due to inclement weather. Tuesday was one of them. I was proud of how we came out and performed in adverse weather conditions.”