Gering 4x400 team takes gold at Class B State Track: Scottsbluff’s Barraza takes 1,600-meter crown, leading Bearcat boys’ 4th-place team finish
     2014-05-29      By Philip Eckerberg   
Courtesy photo - 4x400 meter relay, from left, Gering’s Ryan Schwartzkopf, Aaron Pierce, Caleb Geary and Dillon DeMott, ran a 3:23.08 in their state appearance last week.  
OMAHA — The Gering, Scottsbluff and Mitchell track teams wrapped up the 2014 track and field season with some shining performances in the Class B State Championships at Burke Stadium in Omaha on Friday and Saturday.

The area’s leading team was the Scottsbluff boys, coming in fourth place with 35 points. Gering boys were ninth and Mitchell was 26th. The highest scoring girls’ team was Scottsbluff in 10th with 25 points. The Mitchell girls were 17th and the Gering girls were 34th.

The big news for local athletes was the first-place finish by the Gering 4x400-meter relay team. The all-senior quartet of Ryan Schwartzkopf, Caleb Geary, Dillon DeMott and Aaron Pierce lived up to expectations and won the gold.

The foursome was the leading Class B team going into state, and the Bulldogs’ performance did not disappoint. However, things remained exciting with Sidney taking an early lead on the fourth leg of the relay.

Gering anchorman Schwartzkopf made quick work of it, seemingly flying around the track to win over Sidney by 1.09 seconds.

“The 4x400 relay team of Dillon DeMott, Caleb Geary, Aaron Pierce and Ryan Schwartzkopf completed an undefeated season by capturing the state title,” Gering coach Randy Plummer said. “Their time of 3:23.08 was slightly off their season best, but good enough to bring home the first gold medal in the 4 x 400 in school history. DeMott led off with a 49.3 split, his best of the year.

“In addition to the winning relay members, credit goes to Austin Dolberg and Joey Godinez, who kept the pressure on those four to continue to improve, and to Coach Roger Schmidt, our sprint/middle distance coach.”

Earlier on Saturday, Schwartzkopf and DeMott also picked up third and fifth, respectively, in the individual 400 dash.

Scottsbluff junior Matthew Barraza also brought home some gold as he won the 1,600-meter run. Mitchell senior Levi Avila placed fifth in the same event and Bearcat junior Shane Burkey was eighth.

The Scottsbluff 4x800 relay team of Burkey, Barraza, sophomore Collin Maag and senior Ben Willis-Teff earned the bronze medals for third place.

While there were no gold medals on the girls’ side in Class B, county girls made themselves known.

Scottsbluff sophomore Chesney Walker took second in the 100-meter high hurdles and eighth in the 300 low hurdles. Bearcat junior Taylor Muncie took fourth in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, and Mitchell Celeste Cardona took fifth in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Mitchell senior Taylor Peters was fifth in the 800 run, with Gering freshman Rebekah Rawlings taking sixth.

The Mitchell girls’ 4x800 relay team of Cardona, freshmen Madison Watson and Devin Beaver, and Peters snagged fourth place.

Scottsbluff senior SteaVen Becker took sixth in both the shot put and discus.

“We had an exceptional state track meet on both the boys’ and girls’ sides, considering that four boys and three girls scored our points,” Scottsbluff track coach Jim Barker said. “The girls each scored in two events, Becker in both throwing events, Muncie scored in her two distance events, and Walker scored in both hurdle events. All three had a great state meet.

“On the boys’ side in the 4x800 relay, those four boys scored all of our points for us. Barraza won the 1,600, got a third in the 800 and fourth in the 3,200. Burkey was sixth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600.Willis-Teff ran his relay leg and was fifth in the 800. Maag was on our relay team but did not qualify in individual events.

“We had four guys score 35 points and that is kind of the way it was; unfortunately, no one else was able to contribute. Those guys can look back in the years to come and say the four of us got fourth in the state track meet. I don’t think we could have done much better.”

Earlier for Gering on Saturday, Schwartzkopf finished third (49.63 seconds) and DeMott 5th (50.16) in the open 400 dash, and Geary finished eighth in the 300 intermediate hurdles (41.71) to give the Gering boys 21 points, good enough for ninth place in Class B.

The Bulldog girls’ best showing was the sixth-place finish from Rawlings in the 800 at 2:19.70, her best of the season.

Gering’s 4x800 team of Rawlings, sophomores Jerilyn Laws and Lauren Shaul, and junior Julia Ybarra finished 11th at 10:06.25, and Bulldog freshman Keltie Imus finished tied for15th in the high jump at 4-10.

Class B state track and field results

Team scores


Boys – 1. Cozad 69; 4. Scottsbluff 35; 9. Gering 21; 26. Mitchell 9.

Girls – 1. Grand Island Northwest 52; 10. Scottsbluff 25; 17. Mitchell 17; 34. Gering 3.

Boys’ county results + winner:

400 Meters – 1. Mark Jarecki, Columbus Lakeview, 48.16; 3. Ryan Schwartzkopf, Gering, 49.63; 5. Dillon DeMott, Gering, 50.16.

800 Meters – 1. Derek Templeman, Gretna, 1:55.84; 3. Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 1:57.28; 4. Levi Avila, Mitchell, 1:57.82; 5. Ben Willis-Teff, Scottsbluff, 1:58.78.

1,600 Meters – 1. Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 4:26.17; 5. Levi Avila, Mitchell, 4:32.97; 8. Shane Burkey, Scottsbluff, 4:35.69.

3,200 Meters – 1. Nicholas Larsen, Omaha Gross Catholic, 9:35.96; 4. Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 10:02.76; 6. Shane Burkey, Scottsbluff, 10:08.41; 10. Brendan Taedter, Scottsbluff, 10:13.61; 20. Steven Juarez, Gering, 10:30.94.

300 Meter Int. Hurdles – 1. Trevor Kamerzell, Alliance, 38.38; 8. Caleb Geary, Gering, 41.71.

4x400 Relay – 1. Gering, 3:23.08 (Ryan Schwartzkopf, Caleb Geary, Dillon DeMott, Aaron Pierce).

4x800 Relay – 1. York, 8:02.82 (Caleb Magner, Dalton Obermier, Cade Zumpfe, Ty Danielsonn); 3. Scottsbluff, 8:06.85 (Shane Burkey, Matthew Barraza, Collin Maag, Ben Willis-Teff); 9. Mitchell, 8:26.79 (Erward Grentz, Levi Avila, Tate Harvey, Chase Watson).

Shot Put – 1. Tanner Borchardt, Gothenburg, 57-9.5; 10. Andrew Aratani, Scottsbluff, 50-0.5.

Triple Jump – 1. Isaac Wallace, Ralston, 44-0.5; 16. Brian Johnston, Scottsbluff, 40-1.5.

Girls’ county results + winner

800 Meters – 1. Molly Sughroue, McCook, 2:12.53; 5. Taylor Peters, Mitchell, 2:19.65; 6. Rebekah Rawlings, Gering, 2:19.70.

1,600 Meters – 1. Erin Lee, York, 5:12.53; 4. Taylor Muncie, Scottsbluff, 5:16.97; 5. Celeste Cardona, Mitchell, 5:17.05; 12. Shayleigh James, Scottsbluff, 5:30.35.

3,200 Meters – 1. Erin Lee, York, 11:14.41; 4. Taylor Muncie, Scottsbluff, 11:32.92; 5. Celeste Cardona, Mitchell, 11:37.28.

100 Meter High Hurdles – 1. Julianna Burr, Holdrege, 14.81; 2. Chesney Walker, Scottsbluff, 14.98.

300 Meter Low Hurdles – 1. Julianna Burr, Holdrege, 44.31; 8. Chesney Walker, Scottsbluff, 46.50.

4x100 Relay – 1. GI Northwest, 49.11; 14. Scottsbluff, 51.65 (Whitney Kuxhausen, Chesney Walker, Avery Krentz, Shanell Primes).

4x400 Relay – 1. York, 4:02.95; 9. Mitchell, 4:08.58 (Celeste Cardona, Aspen Reifschneider, Taylor Peters, Madison Watson).

4x800 Relay – 1. Plattsmouth, 9:37.14; 4. Mitchell, 9:52.44 (Celeste Cardona, Madison Watson, Devin Beaver, Taylor Peters); 11. Gering, 10:06.25 (Jerilyn Laws, Lauren Shaul, Julia Ybarra, Rebekah Rawlings).

Shot Put – 1. Torian Sutter, Beatrice, 43-7; 6. SteaVen Becker, Scottsbluff, 40-10.25.

Discus – 1. Jordyn Stearns, York, 137-4; 6. SteaVen Becker, Scottsbluff, 124-5.

High Jump – 1. Ashton Schweers, Wayne, 5-5.; 15. Keltie Imus, Gering, 4-10.

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