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Storm undaunted by larger schools


While a winter-like storm raged outside, the Creek Valley Storm track and field team was warm and comfortable inside as it competed at the Nelson Physical Activities Building in Chadron on Saturday.

Despite facing 14 other schools, most much larger, the Storm were more than willing to test their competitive spirit at the Chadron State College High School Invite on Saturday.

In addition to Cody-Kilgore and Morrill, Creek Valley was one of just three Nebraska Class D schools in attendance. There were also five Class B schools, two class C teams and five more from Wyoming and South Dakota. Nevetheless, Creek Valley had a number of strong performances to build on as they finished ahead of its peers in several events.

On the girls side, Summer Mueller, a vetern of the state championships in pole vault, was the top Class D finisher in that event on Saturday and third overall. Her vault of 8-08 was equal to that of the overall second place finisher from Bayard (Megan Stuart), but a tie breaker left her in third.

“I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped for, but I suppose it was OK for the first meet of the year,” said Mueller. “I’ve been getting closer to 10 feet in practice so I thought I could get a little closer to that.”

Mueller’s best in the pole vault is 9-6, which she accomplished last year. She said one of her goals is to better that mark in her senior season. Besides the pole vault, she also qualified for state in the 1600 meters in 2013. Despite that success, she will not be competing in the mile and will instead focus on hurdles.

In the 55-meter hurdles, Mueller (10.0) was again the top Class D finisher as she completed the run just ahead of two Cody-Kilgore athletes. Overall, Mueller’s time put her in 11th.

A sign of the Storm’s future was evident in freshman Natalie Christopherson’s finish. She ran the event in 10.7 for 4th in Class D and 15th overall.

“Anytime I don’t win an event I’m not happy about it,” Mueller said. “But for the first time competing in hurdles I guess it was OK. I have plenty of room to improve, though.”

In addition to Mueller’s strong performances, the Creek Valley girls also finished as the top Class D school in several other events. Hannah Blackwelder (28-05) and Hannah Schievelbein (28-0) were not bested by any of their peers in the shot put. Schievelbein’s best event, however, is the discus which was not part of the indoor event. She qualified for state in that discipline in 2013.

In other field events Jerry Straber (4-06) and Stefanie Mitchell (4-04) were the best two Class D high jumpers. In the long jump, however, Morrill proved very strong, placing three jumpers in the top four. Straber (13-05), her younger sister Jessie (13-04) and Mitchell (12-02) nevertheless had a solid opening meet.

In the triple jump Chandra Smith joined the Straber sisters in the top-10 overall just behind LeAnne Sherrod of Morrill for Class D supremacy. Jerry Straber jumped 28-10, Jessie Straber 28-02 and Smith 28-00.

In the boys competition Keegan Michel had a strong performance in the 55-meter dash despite missing the overall finals. He was, however, the top Class D finisher in a time of 7.20. In the 400 meters Michel finished in 10th overall and third among Class D participants in 59.20 and second in the high jump (5-08). In the 3200 meters, Nash Leef (12;54.0) was 12th overall and 3rd among Class D.

The Storm did well in several field events also. In the shot put, Mason Low proved a strong contender as he finished well ahead of anyone else from Class D. His throw of 40-07 had him in 8th overall nearly three feet ahead of Matt Hessler of Morrill.

The Class D triple jumpers were led by Colin Brott (32-10) with freshman Josh Schievelbein in 3rd (29-06). For Schievelbein it was his first taste of varsity track competition.

“I wanted to hit 30 feet on the triple jump and I was a little short of that,” said Schievelbein. “It’s a lot tougher competing against all these big schools, but a really good experience for me. This meet should help me to get ready for facing Class D.”

The Creek Valley boys entered only one relay event (4x160) and were second among the Class D group. Brott, Sean Richardson, Michel and Shayne Kimbrough completed the course in 1:34.10.

The girls only participated in the 4x160 event also. The team of Mueller, Jerry and Jessie Straber and Smith were 7th overall and best among Class D with a time of 1:41.90.


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