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And, they’re off

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Photo by Amy Menerey/NLJ McKenzie Rose takes off in attempt to clear the bar in the high jump. The senior cleared 4-0 in her debut of varsity track and field during the Laura Chord Memorial Track Meet on Thursday.
Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

For the first time in three years, Newcastle was able to host the Laura Chord Memorial track meet to open up the outdoor track season on Thursday. With both high school and middle school teams competing, the day was jam-packed with contestants for all of the track and field events, and new head Dogie track coach Matt Conzelman was pleased with how his team got out of the blocks.

“It was fun to be able to host the meet, because we’ve had rough weather to start the season the last few years,” Conzelman said. “I thought that all of our athletes went out and competed and it was cool to see how many kids came out and ran [personal records] over what they did last year. It was great to see where we stand right away.”

Weight events kicked off the day at 9 a.m. while the running events began at 11. With 13 teams in attendance representing schools from 1A to 4A, there was no lack of competition for all athletes at every level.

Dogies came out of the gates with a good showing, competing hard and posting many personal bests on the day.

Returning Dogie athletes who started off their season posting PRs included sophomore Collin McConkey, senior Casey Matthews and sophomore Drew Conzelman in the 100 Meter Dash. In addition to clocking a PR in the first meet of the season, McConkey also was just half a second off the state qualifying time in the 100 with his 11.93-second sixth-place finish.

Though senior Colton Vanderpool Mobley did not beat his previous best in the 100, he ran an 11.95-second race with his seventh-place finish, so is also just half a second away from qualifying in that event.

Vanderpool Mobley and McConkey also competed well in the 200 Meter race, finishing 10th and 11th with times of 24.19 and 24.60, respectively. Junior Aidan Butler posted a PR in the 200 with his 26.10-second finish.

“Collin and Colton looked really good,” Conzelman said. “They are so close in both the 100 and 200 that it really comes down to just little things like reaching for the line and getting off to a quicker start, so I feel really good about them making it back to the state meet again this year.”

Butler also threw two new PRs in the Shot Put and the Discus with a 37-06 toss in the shot and a 103-06 hurl in the disc.

Junior Eli Morrill ran an 18.42 in the 110 Meter Hurdles, which earned him a new PR and a third-place finish in that event. He also leaped 16-02.50 in the Long Jump for a PR there.

Junior Jayden Corley posted personal bests in the Triple Jump and the Shot Put, sophomore Archer Ohnstad ran PRs in the 800 Meter and 1600 Meter races and threw a PR in Discus, senior Thomas Prell posted a PR in the 400 Meter Dash, sophomore Rurick Herrberg ran a personal best in the 300 Meter Hurdles, while sophomore Drew Conzelman jumped a PR in Long Jump.

Granted, as many of the Dogies and Lady Dogies are freshmen or first time track and field participants, all finishes will be personal bests given this was their first shot competing at the varsity level, however, there were a few times achieved that were within striking distance of being state qualifiers.

Freshman Adalyn Olson started her debut season off right with a 12th-place finish in the 100 Meter Dash, a fifth-place finish in the 100 Meter Hurdles and a seventh-place finish in the 300 Meter Hurdles. All of her times put her in the vicinity of state qualifying times, which bodes well for her to punch her ticket to the Big Dance in May.

“Adalyn ran well for her first time running varsity track,” Conzelman said. “After she gets used to the height of the hurdles and gets her footwork down, I think she’s going to get those times pretty easily.”

First time trackster Sam Cunningham is just seven seconds away from qualifying in the mile and less than seven seconds away from punching his ticket in the two mile race.

“Sam really ran well,” said Conzelman. “I was really impressed with his two mile time because he had just come off of running two tough races with the mile and the 4x800 relay.”

It’s looking like this week will finish with warmer temperatures, so Conzelman and crew are gearing up for their second opportunity to shave some time off their races and punch their ticket to the state meet. They will get that chance Thursday and they will also get to see some 3A action as they head to Wheatland for a meet there.

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