The entire town of O'Neill may be a bit quiet this weekend, with so many competitors and fans heading to Omaha Burke for the State Track and Field Championships.
15 Eagles earned a spot in the year-end meet after a superb performance at the B-4 District meet in Wayne.
Among the 15 qualifiers were nine Lady Eagles. Two of those came in the pole vault, where both Caleigh Miles and Mikayla Marvin hit the 9-05 mark to automatically qualify for the meet. Miles went on to take third while Marvin locked up a spot in history with an O'Neill school record vault of 11-05.
Tori Wendell became the next Eagle to qualify. She took third in the long jump with a mark of 16-09.25. The Eagles then added four more qualifiers when the 4x800 relay team qualified for the second-straight year. The team of Briaunna Parks, Claire Morrow, Lilly Thompson and Payton Birkel took second with a time of 10:17.73.
Samantha Eichelberger punched her ticket with a 49.55 performance in the 300 hurdles, taking second. Birkel added her second state berth shortly after when she took third in the 800 with a time of 2:30.52. Rounding out the Lady Eagles was Aurora Gutshall. The junior took fifth place in the 100 meter hurdles, but her time of 16.45 earned her a spot as a wildcard qualifier.
“Wow. What a day for the Lady Eagle Track and Field team," said coach Micheal Peterson. "It was not long ago that we were just hoping to score any points at this meet. The fact that we scored 53 points and are sending nine kids to State is awesome. I can’t say how proud I am of all of these athletes, but I am especially proud of our 4 x 800 who never really ran at full strength all year. For them to knock off 23 seconds off of their time and go to State is amazing.”
On the boys side, six more Eagles earned spots with their district performances, led by Alex Thramer and Wyatt Liewer. Both competitors qualified in four events. Thramer will take part in the long jump, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and as a member of the 4x400 relay team. He will be joined on the relay team by Liewer, who also qualified in high jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
Nathaniel Jennings will be another leg on the 4x400 relay team and will also take part in the state meet in the 800 meter run. The final member of the 4x400 relay team will be Corbin Dean.
Jason Hahlbeck will make a trip to the state meet as well after taking runner-up in the discus throw. The final Eagle at the state meet is Kolby Dean, who will compete in the pole vault after taking third at districts.
“I am really proud of these athletes and they deserve to represent the Eagles next week in Class B State Track in Omaha, at Burke Stadium. It will be fun to watch them finish their season on a high note,” said coach Cole Hilker.