Monday, April 30th, 2007
By Bruce Monnin
St. Henry boys, St. John's girls claim team crowns
NEW BREMEN - During a year in which poor weather has caused the cancellation or rescheduling of many weekend meets, the Cardinal Invitational got great weather and provided an opportunity for area athletes to prepare for the upcoming conference and tournament meets.
When the meet was over, it was the St. Henry boys retaining their season-long undefeated streak and the Delphos St. John's girls just edging out New Bremen to collect the championship trophy.
On the boy's side, St. Henry handily outdistanced host New Bremen by 36 points. It was another total team effort for the Redskins, as they scored in every single event.
"It was a struggle today," admitted St. Henry coach Michael Eyink. "I think the kids found out that a Saturday meet is different and tougher. I hope it will carry over because we have a lot of Saturday meets coming up."
Eyink agreed that the Redskins' new track has helped the teams.
"Our program has picking up, but since the track came, we've been able to do things we couldn't do before on the old stone track, such as practice relays and have a good high-jump surface. You can see some of those things are starting to make a big difference."
The Redskins only won three events, with Tony Stahl winning the high jump and Ryan Huwer sweeping the 100- and 200-meter sprints, just missing the meet record in the 100-meter dash.
"I did well in the 100, setting my personal record for this year," confirmed Huwer. "We've had poor weather all year. It's getting a little nicer now, so maybe I can get my times further down."
While finishing second, New Bremen also managed to win three events. The 800-meter relay continued its successful run, just missing the meet record. Bryce Bergman took home the victories in both the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
It appeared the fans were destined to enjoy another round of Bergman's continual competition with Parkway's Jacob Fox, but Fox came up injured after the 100 hurdles race with a hamstring injury. It was not all bad news for Fox, however, as he won the long jump earlier in the day and this week he committed to running track in college at Ohio Northern.
Marion Local finished in fourth place in the team standings and it compiled wins in five different events. Dustin Heitkamp was victorious in the pole vault, while Dale Bruns and Greg Gehret contributed to the other four wins, both participating in the 3200 and 1600 relays, with Gehret also winning and setting a meet record in the 400 dash while Bruns was the champion of the 800 run.
Gehret was definitely looking to the future as he described his dominating victory in the 400 dash. "My times were pretty good, but hopefully they keep getting better going into districts and regionals," stated Gehret. "There is definitely room for improvement. You have to give some of that credit to coach Schmackers, who practices and trains us pretty hard."
Bruns had been specifically challenged by his coaches to win the 800 run Saturday. His strategy was to "run the first lap to be in first place, then the second lap is a bonus."
When it was noted that in the relays he and his teammates all seemed to gain a little on their competition, Bruns also credited the coaching staff. "We really get on people to finish strong, the last 20 meters especially."
On the girls' side, Delphos St. John's used wins in four events to edge host New Bremen by just 5.5 points. St. Henry finished fifth on the day, followed by Marion Local in sixth and Parkway in ninth.
New Bremen's strength was in their relays, winning the 3200 and the 1600 while finishing second in the 800. Going into the last event of the day (the 1600 relay) they knew they needed to beat Fort Loramie to earn a second-place finish for the team.
"We knew we had to beat Fort Loramie, but we were actually going for the meet record," stated senior Amber Niekamp, a member of all three relay teams. "I really love it here at our home track, but anywhere you want to win."
Niekamp also thought the Cardinal girls' team is ahead of where it was last year at this time and that the relays are about the same or a little ahead of last year. If Niekamp is right, that's good news for New Bremen fans as both the 1600 and 3200 relay teams finished fifth at the state track meet last year.
St. Henry's strength was in the sprints, where the duo of Catie Evers and Carmen Moorman scored 49 of the team's 75 points. Evers won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes (setting a new meet record in the 400 meters) while Moorman gained valuable points for the Redskins finishing fourth in the 100, second in the 200 and third in the 400.
Marion Local's strength on the day came from the field events, where Kathy Dirksen was the shot put champ while Heidi Schemmel triumphed in the discus.
Marian Bevington turned in a good day for Parkway, winning the long jump and the 100-meter hurdles while also placing second in the 300-meter hurdles and finishing sixth in the 100-meter dash. Bevington's performance earned 31 of Parkway's 32 points.
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