After times and marks were all accounted for at four Class A district meets across Nebraska on Tuesday, Columbus High earned a total of 16 qualifications to the state meet among 18 athletes. The Discoverers earned medals in 20 events in Kearney but four did not quite make the cut as additional qualifiers.
The Columbus boys will send 11 to Omaha in 11 events while the girls have four individual qualifiers and one relay for five with seven athletes.
CHS scored 52 points and was fourth among eight in the boys district standings. The girls totaled 29.50 and were seventh. Kearney won the boys trophy at 138 points. Fremont was nine points better than Omaha Westside on a total of 115 for the girls team title.
"We as a coaching staff were pleased with how our athletes performed. We met some expectations and were surprised by a few," girls coach Julie Kreikemeier said. "The Discoverer girls track team worked hard this season. We are excited to have four of our five returning state qualifiers make it back to the big stage again."
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Caleb Mulder, Alex Ienn, Liam Blaser and Addison Johnson each lead with two events. Mulder is a qualifier in the 200-meter dash and the 400 after taking third in the 200 and second in the 400. He hit the line in the quarter-mile at a new best of 49.84 seconds - .13 better than a week ago at the HAC meet and set a new PR in the 200 prelims at 22.08. He ran 22.23 in the finals.
Ienn missed out on automatically qualifying when he was fifth in the 400. Regardless, his PR time of 51.22 is more than a second better than his best time this season and sends him to Omaha. He'll also run in the 3200 relay.
Blaser hit a PR shot put mark of 49 feet, 9 and 1/2 inches and took bronze. He was sixth in the discus despite landing his best throw at 142-2. That mark was also sixth-best behind the 12 automatic qualifiers and gets him to Omaha.
Johnson's schedule includes her second straight year running the 800 thanks to a mark of 2:27.11 in Kearney. That earned her fourth and the final auto qualifier.
Other boys set to compete in Omaha include Byron Arevalo, Carter Braun, Dylan Crumley, Isaiah Eilers, Santos Gonzalez, Noah Lawrence, Carsen Marking and Jaden McFarland.
Arevalo was sixth in the 200. Braun, Ienn, Lawrence and Eilers make up the two-mile relay. Crumley hit 20 feet, 7.50 inches in long jump and was an additional qualifier. Gonzalez hit 144-8 in disc and was third. Marking made it over 13-6 for the first time this year in pole vault and was third. McFarland was sixth in the 110-hurdle and an additional qualifier.
The other girls include Josie Garrett winning the 100 hurdles in a personal best time of 15.10 seconds, Joselyn Olson the long jump runner-up on a PR mark of 17-8, Erin Smith running a 300 hurdles PR of 49.19 for an additional spot and Hailey Kropatsch, Hannah Kropatsch and Citaly Ramirez with Johnson in the two-mile relay.