HARTINGTON — A typical blustery day in Northeast Nebraska couldn’t deter host Cedar Catholic from once again putting on the Trojan Invitational – especially after being canceled a year ago in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The host Trojans ended up seeing the boys capture the team title, while the girls battled to a third-place finish.
Trojans head coach Chad Cattau said his team did a good job of handling the challenges Mother Nature gave them.
“We have talked to our kids several times this spring about the fact that we can’t control the weather, so we need to make sure we are mentally tough when the conditions aren’t ideal,” Cattau said. “We have no idea what we will have to run in for weather in the next couple of weeks, so we need to be prepared for anything.
Cattau said he feels it is very important the athletes get used to competing in less than ideal weather conditions.
“We even took them out in the rain a week ago, just to have one workout in inclement weather as a preparation for what may lie ahead,” he said.
The Cedar boys secured their win behind the efforts of Carson Arens (first, high jump, 5-08; fourth, triple jump, 36-08; 4x400 relay, first, 3:48.95, the 4x800 relay, first, 9:05.99), Alex Kuehn (first, 400 run, 55.21; fifth, long jump, 17-02.25),
Owen Heimes (first, long jump, 18- 10.25), the 4x100 relay (first, 47.26), the 4x400 relay (first, 3:48.95), the 4x800 relay (first, 9:05.99), Carson Noecker (first, 3,200 run, 9:52.43; first, 1,600 run, 4:40.85; second, 800 run, 2:11.62), Jaxson Bernecker (second, discus, 118-09), Dagen Joachimensen (third, 800 run, 2:17.29; third, 1,600 run, 5:29.41), James Fischer (third, shot put, 38-10; third, discus, 117-06),
Blake Arens, (second, pole vault,10-0; 4x100 relay, first, 47.26) Calvin Christensen (fourth, 400 run, 58.85; fifth, triple jump, 36-04.5), Parker Albers (fourth, 800 run, 2:18.29), Lukas Wortmann (fifth, 3,200 run, 12:45.09; sixth, 1,600 run, 5:40.14), Easton Becker (fifth, pole vault, 9-00; sixth, 200 run, 25.45) and Owen Dendinger (fifth, discus, 108-10).
The top-three finishers for the Lady Trojans were:
Laney Kathol (first, 400 run, 1:01.85; first, high jump, 5-00),
Sophia Reifenrath (first, 100 dash, 13.51), the 4x400 relay (first, 4:35.3), the 4x800 relay (first, 11:03.28),
Sara Burbach (second, 1,600 run, 6:24.73; second, 3,200 run, 14:13.07), the 4x100 relay (second, 56.77),
Meredith McGregor (second, shot put, 31-03.5),
Faith Christensen (third, 100 dash, 13.65; third, 200 dash, 28.29),
Mackenzie Arens (third, 800 run, 2:54.22; third, 1,600 run, 6:32.63),
Grace Reifenrath (fifth, 200 dash, 29.42; fifth, 400 run, 1:10.03),
Grace Wortmann (fifth, 300 hurdles, 1:00.45) and Jordyn Steffen (sixth, long jump, 13-05.8).
“I was really excited to see all five of our boys throwers made the finals of the discus, and Meredith threw a personal best in the shot,” Cattau said. “Our throwers have made a lot of early progress this year and they are extremely young so I am really excited to see what they can do in the next few weeks for us.
“It was a tough day to show a lot of improvement in most areas because of the cross wind we faced so, as a coach, I was really watching how hard our kids competed throughout the day, and I thought we did very well in that aspect. Hopefully we can get some calm days ahead so all these kids have a real chance to prove how good they can really be.”
Like many programs, Cattau is just navigating through a lack of experience on the roster after missing the sport for almost two years due to the 2020 cancellation of the campaign.
“The biggest issue at this point with COVID is just the lack of experience from your sophomore class,” Cattau said. “This is their first year of competing at the high school level, so it was an adjustment, but I think they have really caught on and bought into what we need from them. Everyone lost a year of experience last season obviously, which hurt their own growth, but kids are really starting to get back into the swing of things as we move forward with the season.”
Despite that, Cattau has had a lot of things to take in and has found a lot to celebrate so far.
“I have been very impressed thus far with what Carson Arens has been able to do for us,” Cattau said. “He has really shown to be one of our more valuable members of the team. He has high jumped 6-feet during the season, and he runs a leg of the 3,200 relay and the 1,600 relay. We have also used him in a few of the open races to try and utilize his talents for us. If he continues to work hard, I really think he has a chance to score some points at the state meet.”
Carson Arens admits that so far things are going quite well for him and the team.
“We have been improving week to week and that’s all you can pretty much ask for,” he said. “Our coaches push us every day in practice and they help us to do our events to the fullest. Being a multi-sport athlete helps with that too – with the different movements you do in sports, that can contribute to how you move on the track and your form.
“I have been doing pretty good. My favorite event is high jump – I have only gotten second one time – so I am doing pretty decent I guess.”
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