Mitchell teams both place seventh in Class C
By Zach Spadt, For the Voice News - May 25, 2017
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Cheri Wirthele,The Voice News
Justin Spencer attempts to clear the bar in the pole vault at the State track Meet. He battled an injury suffered in practice and failed to place.
MITCHELL – It was an incredible year for the Mitchell High School runners this year.
And they went out with a bang at state last weekend helping Mitchell scored 25 points to place seventh.
The boys 400 relay team won it all after dominating their competition for the entire season.
Well, three seasons, actually.
The team this year consisted of Drake Gilliland, Hunter Lemley, Christian Perez and Abe Hernandez. The four runners spent their 2017 campaign consistently winning competitions and winning state was merely the cherry on top.
For Hernandez, the relay wasn’t the only hard-earned hardware in Omaha. The senior also won the 400-meter run.
Herandez said his goal was to simply stick with the competition throughout the event.
It paid off.
“My strategy worked out,” Hernandez said.
Perez also found success in individual events, medaling in the 200-meter dash with a fourth-place effort.
With their senior campaigns over, Perez will go on to run for Chadron State College. Hernandez, however, said that the state meet was probably his last race.
For now at least.
Hernandez called the season ending bittersweet, but he said he is proud of their success over the past years.
Regardless of what happens next, it will be difficult for those following this year’s graduating class to replicate the success. But, it can, and probably will, happen.
Perez and Hernandez both struggled with the cold conditions in Friday’s 100 and 200-meter preliminaries. Perez failed to make the finals in the 100, while Hernandez missed in the 200.
Gilliland came in 10th in the 300-meter hurdles preliminaries and did not make the finals.
The 1,600 relay of Gilliland, Perez, Hernandez and Darryn Walters ended the meet with an 11th-place effort in 3:33.3.
Justin Spencer in the pole vault did not make a height.
The Mitchell High girls track team has experience a great deal of success this year and the State Meet was no different.
In the 1,600-meter relay, the Lady Tigers came agonizingly close to a gold medal finish with Celeste Carona barely coming in at second to Chase County’s Taylin McNair to finish the relay. in 4:04.6 compared to 4:04.5.
Cardona said the meet was emotional.
The senior will continue competing in basketball at Chadron State College, but last weekend marked the end of a successful high school running career.
“To run with them one last time … It’s over now,” Cardona said. “We did the best we can do.”
Cardona was joined by teammates Madison Watson, Jori Peters and Olivia Armstrong.
Cardona also qualified for finals in the 300 meter hurdles, placing fifth.
Peters also earned medals in her individual events. She placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20 and fourth in the 400 in 59.9.
“I feel happy with my performance, but I didn’t run a PR. That was my goal coming in,” Peters said. “I ran hard. It was tough.”
Weather played a role in the meet as well. With rain covering the track for most of the meet, styaing warm as an issue. In some cases, races were delayed by several minutes, adding to competitors’ woes.
Peters will have one more go at her events next year as a senior.
Senior Madi Watson ran the first leg on the 1,600 relay and also came in ninth in s the 1,600 in 5:26.7. Junior Olivia Armstrong ran on both the 400 and 1,600 relays. Freshman Regan Hodsden competed in the 3,200, Natasha Perez ran in the 200 and Devin Beaver was in the long jump, but none of them placed.
Anabelle Gillen also ran on the 400 relay with Perez.
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