The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Stephen McKay
Sports Writer 


Sidney boys win 1st state track title in 45 years


Stephen McKay

Sidney High School seniors, from left, Chance Anglin, Brody McKnight, Jachob Wiedeburg and Hayden Lienemann receive the Class B state championship trophy at Burke Stadium in Omaha on Saturday afternoon.

OMAHA, Neb. – Shortly after gaining three points for the Sidney High School boys' track team in the 200-meter dash finals – the second-to-last event of the 2015 Class B NSAA Track and Field Championships on Saturday – Sidney High School sophomore Alex Linneman shook his head.

"I feel like I could have done better," said Linneman, who finished sixth. "We're down in points. I needed a P.R. We needed that race and the 4x400 too."

Linneman was right. The Raiders needed to take at least 12 points out of the 200 and 4x400-meter relay if they expected to win a state championship. But Linnmean wouldn't learn until later just how critical his three points in the 200 were. That wouldn't become clear until he anchored a team that included Michael Banaszak, Hunter Secrest and Hayden Lienemann in the meet's final event.

Punctuated by a dramatic stretch run in the 1,600-meter relay, Sidney overcame an 11-point deficit over the final two events to wrest the state championship away from archrival Scottsbluff at Burke Stadium in Omaha.

Sidney finished the meet with 42 points, with Scottsbluff earning 40 for second and Crete 37.5 for third. Seward (35) and Columbus Scotus (29) completed the top five among the more than 40 schools represented.

"Oh, no," said the Bearcats' Matthew Barraza as he watched the final event from the west hill. "Sidney just won the state championship."

Though Barraza and his teammates had frustrated the Red Raiders to open the 2015 extravaganza, Scottsbluff could only watch as the Raiders sprinted their way into the Nebraska high school record books. The Bearcats had no qualifiers in either of the final two contests.

For Sidney, it was its first state championship in 45 years and just fourth all time. The other state titles for the Raiders (or Maroons, as they previously were nicknamed) came in 1952, 1969 and 1970.

"We had to win that race to beat Scottsbluff and win state outright," said Raiders head coach John Ganser. "And we had to finish ahead of Crete because they were right there too. Our guys thought they could win that race and win a state championship. So you have to credit all four of those boys.

"It was a team effort. The first two set it up and the final two laid it out on the track. Those were quality runners they stayed ahead of," Ganser added.

Besides earning lifetime status as state champions, the Raiders 4x400-meter relay team was the first event gold medal winner at state for Sidney since 2007. In that year, Paul Hamilton won his third straight high jump title with a leap of seven feet – a school record that still stands.

Though the Raiders had hopes of mining individual gold at state, the 1,600-relay team didn't seem the most likely suspect to end the eight-year drought. Most believed the Raiders' best chance for state gold would come with Jake Heeren in the shot put or Jachob Wiedeburg, Lienemann, Brody McKnight and Logan Uhlir in the 4x800-meter relay.

Though Heeren and the long-distance relay team performed well, they both took home silver. More importantly, however, two second-place finishes added 16 points to the Raiders' column. When Sidney opened its state competition in the 3,200 relay, it was in a head-to-head dual with Scottsbluff.

Though the Raiders opened up a sizable lead, the Bearcats gobbled up the lost ground with a back-loaded lineup and caught Sidney in the shadow of the finish line.

"It was nice to get some gold at the end, but we got a lot of seconds and thirds and fifths, too, and they were all very important in the end," Ganser said.

Though Sidney lost the first battle, it ultimately won the war with points coming from many sources. Heeren threw the shot put more than 55 feet for the second straight week. But his rival from Gothenburg, Tanner Borchardt, foiled him with a career day. Borchardt won the title with a put of 59-6.25 for a personal best and his second state title in a row.

"I felt pretty good but not quite as good as I did at districts," said Heeren, who threw 58-9 at districts and was third at state in 2014. "You have to give Tanner credit. He had a really good day and I had an off day. Hopefully, I can get that gold next year and throw over 60 feet."

Lienemann pocketed six more points for Sidney in the 800 meters when he finished third for his second top-three medal of the meet. He would eventually win a fourth. Though Lienemann crossed ahead of both Scottsbluff runners, the Bearcats left the 800 with nine points. Matthew Richardson picked up five points for fourth and Barraza collected four in fifth.

"That kid [Mathew Grinvalds of Douglas County West] went out pretty fast, so I thought maybe I could catch him on the second lap," Lienemann said. "It was pretty close in the end."

With the distance doubled to 1,600 meters, Wiedeburg stepped up with a new P.R. and three more points for Sidney. Wiedeburg raced with the leaders in the early going and dropped back before making a late charge. His time of 4:35.09 was the third-best ever run by a Sidney High runner in the event.

"I've been shooting for a 4:35, so getting that is a nice way to go out," said the recently graduated senior. "I really wanted to go out right away and stay with the leaders early on, but when they went, I wasn't quite ready to go yet. I thought if I went with them that early, I wouldn't have enough to finish. I think I regret that a little now."

Perhaps least heralded in the Raiders path to a state championship is that they qualified all three of their relay teams – and picked up points from all. The speedsters, Chance Anglin, Banaszak, Linneman and Derek Robb, gained four points for a fifth-place time in the 400-meter relay. Though they were initially disqualified in error, the mistake was corrected with Waverly being DQ'd.

When the final event had arrived, Sidney not only trailed Scottsbluff by eight points, it held just a half-point edge over Crete. To make matters more dicey, the Cardinals had a strong team entered in the 1,600 relay.

Coming into Omaha, Sidney had posted the sixth-best time of the season on, while Crete was listed third. Columbus Scotus was more of a mystery as it did not post its times on It was no big surprise then, that the Raiders were seventh best in the preliminaries on Friday.

Banaszak went out first from the inside lane and ran a strong leg to stay with Columbus Scotus and Crete. Lienemann erased a small deficit over his 400 meters before Secrest jumped out fast in the third leg. Secrest left Crete scrambling to catch up and then blew past Columbus Scotus in the stretch. Linneman had a short lead heading into the anchor leg.

"Ganser came up to us before the race and said if we won, we'd beat Scottsbluff and be the state champions," Secrest said. "We weren't sure we could win but we all knew we would try our hardest. I'm still trying to absorb it all, but right now I feel pretty good."

As Linneman maintained a solid lead over the first 300 meters, Crete suddenly surged after him on the final turn. Though Crete pulled to within a half meter or less, Linneman refused to yield and held firm. Down nearly the entire length of the stretch, the two were close enough to touch, but there was no catching Linneman. A late rush by Scotus nipped Crete at the line for second place.

"I knew I couldn't lose this. If we win this race, we win the state title and I wasn't going to let him pass me," Linneman said. "I'm so excited right now. What a great way to end the year."

When the race was finished, this Sidney foursome smashed its previous personal best by nearly three seconds. They were just over a second shy of the school record set last season by Banaszak, Lienemann, Secrest and Lucas Rosenbaum, who graduated in 2014.

"I'm pretty excited about this," Banaszak said. "We've been working at this all season and we finally got it all together and at just the right time."


• RESULTS: Class B boys' results, Page 2A

• SIDNEY GIRLS: Coverage of the girls' team at the state meet, Page 11A

• RESULTS: Class B girls' results, Page 11A

• CLASS D COVERAGE: The Potter-Dix, Leyton and Creek Valley girls' teams competed in the state meet, Page 12A

• CLASS D COVERAGE: The Potter-Dix, Leyton and Creek Valley boys' teams competed in the state meet, Page 13A

• GOLDEN RELAY: Potter-Dix's boys' 4x800 relay team brought home gold, Page 14A

• 45 YEARS LATER: Jim Holechek remembers being a part of the last track state championship team in 1970, Page 15A

• A LOOK THROUGH PHOTOS: Recapping the weekend's state meet in photos, Page 16A


At Burke Stadium, Omaha


1. Sidney, 42; 2. Scottsbluff, 40; 3. Crete, 37.5; 4. Seward, 35; 5. Columbus Scotus, 29; 6. Holdrege, 28; 7. Mitchell, 26; 8. McCook, 22.5; 9. Mount Michael Benedictine, 22; 9. Boys Town, 22; 11. York, 21; 11. Beatrice, 21; 11. Ogallala, 21; 14. Plattsmouth, 20.5; 15. Cozad, 20; 16. Northwest, 18; 16. Gothenburg, 18; 16. Elkhorn, 18; 19. Omaha Concordia, 16.5; 20. Syracuse, 16; 20. Nebraska City, 16; 22. Douglas County West, 14; 22. Fort Calhoun, 14; 24. Waverly, 13.5; 24. Adams Central, 13.5; 26. Milford, 11; 27. Norris, 10; 27. Blair, 10; 29. Alliance, 9; 29. Omaha Gross Catholic, 9; 31. Lexington, 8.5; 32. Kearney Catholic, 8; 33. Ashland-Greenwood, 6; 34. Wahoo, 5; 34. Chadron, 5; 36. O'Neill, 4; 36. Gretna, 4; 38. West Point-Beemer, 2.5; 39. Falls City, 2; 40. David City, 1; 40. Pierce, 1; 40. Aurora, 1.

100 Meters

1. Javon Hopkins, Boys Town, 10.861; 2. Stephen Conner, Nebraska City, 10.911; 3. Cooper Rogers, Holdrege, 11.031; 4. Jackson Dickerson, Chadron, 11.071; 5. Jacob Mumby, Mount Michael Benedictine, 11.201; 6. Cale Wagner, Seward, 11.211; 7. Kyle Glandt, Seward, 11.221; 8. Pitmon Foxall, Blair, 11.271.

200 Meters

1. Javon Hopkins, Boys Town, 22.181; 2. Stephen Conner, Nebraska City, 22.281; 3. Cody Mroczek, Columbus Scotus, 22.431; 4. Cooper Rogers, Holdrege, 22.611; 5. Jacob Mumby, Mount Michael Benedictine, 22.671; 6. Alex Linneman, Sidney, 22.701; 7. Kyle Glandt, Seward, 22.721; 8. Jon Murray, Waverly, 22.781.

400 Meters

1. Cody Mroczek, Columbus Scotus, 49.72; 2. Jacob Mumby, Mount Michael Benedictine, 50.55; 3. Cade Zumpfe, York, 50.70; 4. Parker Williams, Norris, 50.78; 5. Mason Grinvalds, Douglas County West, 50.97; 6. Brody Brennan, Alliance, 51.53; 7. Tanner Schwarting, Omaha Concordia, 51.97; 8. Noah Schlange, Platteview, DQ.

800 Meters

1. Mason Grinvalds, Douglas County West, 1:58.96; 2. Beau Larsen, Omaha Gross Catholic, 1:59.25; 3. Hayden Lienemann, Sidney, 1:59.27; 4. Matthew Richardson, Scottsbluff, 2:00.14; 5. Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 2:00.15; 6. Cade Zumpfe, York, 2:00.45; 7. Zachary Jackson, Kearney Catholic, 2:00.87; 8. Tanner Harsin, Syracuse, 2:01.00.

1,600 Meters

1. Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 4:30.01; 2. Austin Yardley, Elkhorn, 4:31.15; 3. Alexander Tietz, Fort Calhoun, 4:32.64; 4. Graham Applegate, Cozad, 4:33.59; 5. Shane Burkey, Scottsbluff, 4:33.99; 6. Jachob Wiedeburg, Sidney, 4:35.09; 7. Evan Wick, Blair, 4:37.52; 8. Jackson Larsen, Omaha Gross Catholic, 4:37.77.

3,200 Meters

1. Austin Yardley, Elkhorn, 9:43.57; 2. Alexander Tietz, Fort Calhoun, 9:45.68; 3. Tylin Masco, Milford, 9:46.44; 4. Jaco Henning, Ogallala, 9:48.996; 5. Shane Burkey, Scottsbluff, 9:49;06; 6. Josh Hergenreder, Scottsbluff, 9:56.05; 7. Grant Johnston, O'Neill, 9:57.38; 8. Evan Wick, Blair, 9:58.94.

110-Meter Hurdles

1. Luke Siedhoff, Crete, 14.09; 2. Drew Gilliland, Mitchell, 14.98; 3. Justin Engberg, Adams Central, 15.08; 4. Conor Young, Cozad, 15.15; 5. Alex Nielsen, Plattsmouth, 15.18; 6. Jonathan Flight, Wahoo, 15.26; 7. Evan Lindblad, Adams Central, 15.32; 8. Colin Wetovick, Cozad, 15.49.

300-Meter Hurdles

1. Cale Wagner, Seward, 38.90; 2. Drew Gilliland, Mitchell, 39.17; 3. Conor Young, Cozad, 39.74; 4. Luke Siedhoff, Crete, 39.98; 5. Evan Lindblad, Adams Central, 40.09; 6. Trenton Zink, Ogallala, 40.11; 7. Jonathan Flight, Wahoo, 41.00; 8. Justin Engberg, Adams Central, 42.28.

4x100-Meter Relay

1. Mitchell, 43.70; 2. Northwest, 43.76; 3. Crete, 43.88; 4. McCook, 44.00; 5. Sidney (Derek Robb, Michael Banaszak, Chance Anglin, Alex Linneman), 44.01; 6. Holdrege, 44.18; 7. Boys Town, 44.42; 8. Ogallala, 44.54.

4x400-Meter Relay

1. Sidney (Michael Banaszak, Hayden Lienemann, Hunter Secrest, Alex Linneman), 3:25.57; 2. Columbus Scotus, 3:25.67; 3. Crete, 3:25.86; 4. Norris, 3:26.84; 5. Mount Michael Benedictine, 3:27.19; 6. Alliance, 3:28.03; 7. York, 3:28.74; 8. Lexington, 3:28.92.

4x800-Meter Relay

1. Scottsbluff, 8:08.17; 2. Sidney (Hayden Lienemann, Jachob Wiedeburg, Logan Uhlir, Brody McKnight), 8:09.50; 3. Kearney Catholic, 8:13.20; 4. Crete, 8:13.44; 5. Gretna, 8:16.44; 6. Cozad, 8:16.75; 7. Mount Michael, 8:17.97; 8. David City, 8:19.66.

Shot Put

1. Tanner Borchardt, Gothenburg, 59-6.25; 2. Jake Heeren, Sidney, 55-9.25; 3. Cameron Jurgens, Beatrice, 54-7.5; 4. Blake Schroeder, Holdrege, 53-7.25; 5. Garrit Shanle, Columbus Scotus, 51-6.5; 6. Jacob Harms, Crete, 51-1.5; 7. Brett Kitrell, Ashland-Greenwood, 50-4; 8. Keenan Smith, Aurora, 49-8.5.


1. Cameron Jurgens, Beatrice, 176-6; 2. Tanner Borchardt, Gothenburg, 173-1; 3. Cole Beckius, Ogallala, 170-7; 4. Alec Cromer, Beatrice, 166-9; 5. Brett Kitrell, Ashland-Greenwood, 163-6; 6. Blake Schroeder, Holdrege, 154-11; 7. Walker Liewer, O'Neill, 153-9; 8. Garrit Shanle, Columbus Scotus, 153-7.

High Jump

1. Jacob Heitkamp, Syracuse, 6-6; 2. Cale Wagner, Seward, 6-4; 3. Jakob Estrada, Ogallala, 6-4; 4. Jonathan Greene, Omaha Concordia, 6-2; 5. Isaac Zitterkopf, Lexington, 6-2; T6. Juan Zazueta, West Point-Beemer, 6-2; T6. Foster Reckling, Crete, 6-2; T8. Connor Dukes, Plattsmouth, 6-2; T8. Justin Engberg, 6-2.

Pole Vault

Donna Wiedeburg - For The Sun-Telegraph

Members of the Sidney High boys' track and field team take a victory lap with their state championship trophy.

1. Ty Johnson, Northwest, 14-8; 2. Spencer Powell, McCook, 14-8; 3. Preston Rath, Holdrege, 14-8; 4. Drake Burton, Milford, 14-4; 5. Trevor Spath, Waverly, 14-0; 6T. Isaiah Brown, Waverly, 14-0; 6T. Mitchell Reitz, McCook, 14-0; 8. Levi Sudbeck, Pierce, 13-6.

Long Jump

1. Cale Wagner, Seward, 21-11; 2. Connor Dukes, Plattsmouth 21-9.75; 3. Bryce Lyons, McCook, 21-9; 4. Jonathan Greene, Omaha Concordia, 21-6; 5. Pitmon Foxall, Blair, 21-4.5; 6. Klayton Nordeen, Alliance, 21-3.75; 7. Lukas Vopnford, Blair, 21-1.75; 8. Jacob Heitkamp, Syracuse, 21-0.5.

Triple Jump

1. Trent Koehler, York, 44-11.75; 2. Connor Dukes, Plattsmouth, 44-11; 3. Austin Lowell, Waverly, 44-9; 4. Jonathan Greene, Omaha Concordia, 44-7; 5. Jacob Heitkamp, Syracuse, 44-7; 6. Isaac Zitterkopf, Lexington, 44-3; 7. Lee Huettner, Falls City, 44-2; 8. Darius Tiesman-Williams, McCook, 44-1.75.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 05/25/2019 09:58