The North Bend Eagle

 

Black, orange and bronze
Oakland-Craig, Stanton surpass Tiger girls on the track

by Nathan Arneal
Published 5/6/15

Saturday’s East Husker Conference meet was a battle of contrasting strengths. The 16-team field eventually boiled down to three teams competing for the trophies. North Bend flexed its muscle in the field events, while Stanton and Oakland-Craig did their damage on the track.

NBC led all teams with 46 points in the field. The Tigers then scored in only hree of the eight individual running events.

On the other hand, Stanton, who would end up beating out North Bend for runner-up, didn’t score a single point in the field.

Oakland-Craig won its second straight EHC crown with 108 points. Stanton was second with 89 followed by NBC’s 74 points. The third-place finish is North
Bend’s lowest conference finish since 2003.

“It was just a really high level meet here,” Tiger coach Jeff Voss said. “Finishing third considering some of the injuries we have, we can’t be upset with that. We lost to teams that are going to have multiple state champions.”

NBC got nearly half its points from the senior duo of Cassidy Walla and Samantha Dirkschneider. Each won a gold and a silver medal during the day.

“The seniors, (Dirkschneider and Walla), both took advantage of their situation,” Voss said. “Cassidy was a little sore today, but she wins the pole vault and gets second in the hurdles. They performed like seniors who have been with it for a long time. They did their job, and I think the rest of them gave an effort. It’s just a matter of getting used to performing on this kind of stage. For some of the young ones, it’s a learning process.”

Walla cleared 10 feet to tie her own East Husker record and win her fourth straight EHC pole vault title. She is believed to be only the second Tiger girl to win the same conference event four years in a row, joining Cassie Schutt, who dominated the 400 meters from 2008 to 2011. Walla later added a runner-up finish in the 100-meter hurdles in a season’s best time of 16.94 seconds.

Dirkschneider started the day with a bang, breaking her own school record in the discus with a throw of 135-8 in the preliminaries. She was in first place going into the finals but didn’t stay there long.

On her first throws of the finals, Kersten Peters broke her own Scribner-Snyder school record with a toss of 137-8, bumping Dirkschneider to second, where she would finish. The Tiger senior said the record and runner-up finish was
bittersweet.

“I’m happy that I personally did well for myself,” Dirkschneider said. “I’m a little
bummed that my best wasn’t first, but we’re good friends, so I was really happy for (Peters).”

Dirkschneider, the state leader in the shot put, would face no such challenges in her next throwing event. Her put of 43-4 topped Peters, the runner-up, by
six feet, four inches.

“She’s performed the way you think she would at this point in her career,” Voss said of his star thrower. “She’s really stepped up as a senior and taken pride
in what she’s doing and has competed very well.”

The Lux sisters faced stiff competition in the high jump, where all eight medalists
cleared five feet. Freshman Kristin Lux cleared 5-0 for the first time to finish in a threeway tie for third. Allison Lux, a junior, placed sixth, also with a height of 5-0.

“I thought the high jumpers competed well,” Voss said. “There’s been years five foot has won the high jump. We had two go five foot today and they went
third and sixth with that. It was just a really high level meet here.”

While the Tigers still led the meet coming out of the field events, they didn’t get the multiple scorers in as many events as they are used to in most meets. With 16 teams competing in the meet, those lower places were harder to come by.

“Our strength is our depth, and a meet like this takes away your depth,” Voss said. “You aren’t getting the fifth and sixths in the throws. You aren’t getting the fifth or sixths in the jumps. In a normal meet situation, they’d all be scoring, but I knew today it was going to be difficult for them to do that.”

Points on the track were hard to come by for NBC, especially with distance runner Ally Muessel sitting out the meet with leg pain.

In the 100 hurdles, Carol George added a sixth place finish behind Walla’s runner-up placement, making it NBC’s highest scoring race.

Alex Humlicek was running third in 800 entering the final straightaway, but was passed by a runner. She fought back to retake third just before the finish
line, ending with a time of 2:30.94. Humlicek also finished seventh in the 400.

Meanwhile, Oakland-Craig and Stanton were piling up points at a breakneck pace. The Knights and Mustangs combined to claim 10 of the available 11 gold medals in the running events.

“You have to give Stanton credit,” Voss said. “They are awfully good on the track. I didn’t add up the scores (before the meet), but I kind of figured
Stanton could be close, and Oakland, I knew they would win enough points that in this meet we weren’t going to get them. Districts might be another thing. We might be able to get after them there.”

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