OMAHA - More than 50 area athletes are in action at the Nebraska state track and field championships this weekend in Omaha.
Four from Humphrey St. Francis made the biggest impact thus far on Friday afternoon when Tara Foltz, Jalyssa Halstreiter, Sydney Engel and Allison Weidner of Humphrey St. Francis won the gold medal.
That group of Flyers started the second session of the meet with a win in the very first event, the 3200-meter relay, taking the top spot over Wynot by just under 13 full seconds.
Weidner finished it off thanks in large part to an excellent third leg from Engel. Foltz put the win in motion at leadoff while Halstreiter, just a freshman, ran the second leg in her first-ever state event.
"I think I might have started off a big strong, but that's all right, it's the adrenaline of state track," Weidner said. "I knew I got the baton in first and I've got to keep it, couldn't let my teammates down."
St. Francis came into Friday with the top qualifying time at 10:10.36 then smashed that with 10:07.93.
The Flyers held the lead, or were right around it, for all eight laps. They were in second, more than 20 meters back when Engel's spot in the order came up. By the time she was heading down the front stretch for the handoff, Engel had turned a 20-meter deficit into a 20-meter lead.
Weidner had no trouble doing the rest.
"I knew Tara would do a great job. She hasn't always led off, but she did a great job today, and that really helped us," Weidner said. "I was very impressed with Sydney. I just told her, 'Syd, you've got this. Last race of your senior year.' She definitely gave it her all."
Twin River's Mason Prososki is also in line for a medal after qualifying to the finals in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. Prososki won the third heat of the lows, giving him an automatic bid to Saturday's final round.
His time of 15.36 seconds sets him up as the fourth-fastest for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. Just about three hours later he'll be back on the track for the 300 lows final thanks to a win in the second heat.
His time was second-best overall at 40.51. Jack Drahotta has the top qualifying spot almost a half-second ahead of Prososki.
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"It's not what I expected," Prososki said of his 110 time," but it's only separated by .01 seconds. It's anybody's race in that one. The 300, we had two starts, kind of messed with everybody's head. I had my cousin come over here and give me a pep talk before to clear my head out.
"I felt good about it."
Other Telegram area athletes in action included Cross County freshman Josephine Noble finishing 18th in the 400 with a time of 1:03.09 and teammate Cortlyn Schaefer taking 15th in the 200 in 27.41 seconds.
The Boone Central/Newman Grove girls 3200 relay featuring Jordan Soto-Stopak, Autumn Simons, Lauren Pugh and Samantha Weeder ran 10:24.6 and came up with a seventh-place medal, edging out Pierce, the final medalist, by just under a second.
The St. Francis boys group of Tanner Pfeifer, Austin Leifeld, Justin Leifeld and Landon Kush competed the 3200 relay in 9:05.20 for 11th.
Xavier Blackborn, Timothy Tannehill, Thad Rathjen, and Carter Boden ran the Osceola 3200 boys relay team to 10th in a time of 9:03.4.
The girls Class B 3200 relay that included Boone Central/Newman Grove was restarted five times. The first four were due to a timing issue - the clock failed to start on the gun. The fifth and final restart was caused by some inadvertent contact rounding the first curve.
The girls were eventually taken off the track and given time to rest while the boys Class D portion of the event was run. Later on, hurdles required run offs in three events. More issues forced a delay before those could begin.
Consequently, full results for Friday will not make the Telegram in print.
Some of those include Jarrett Parsons of High Plains and Kyle Sterup of Osceola in the pole vault, Brodryk Ienn of Osceola and Trevor Rasmussen of St. Edward in the 110 hurdles, Logan Russell of High Plains in the 100 and Lauren Hedlund and Wyatt Nissen both of BCNG in the 100 as well.
Be sure to check our website, columbustelegram.com for complete results.
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.