OMAHA — Thayer Central boys track and field coach Bryan Solomon knew repeating as Class C state champions wasn't going to be easy.
The Titans went into the final running event at the state track and field meet in Omaha on Saturday, the 1,600-meter relay, trailing Nebraska Christian by two points. Thayer Central's relay team, comprised of Trev Mumm, Jamie Lange, Caleb Goedeken and Jared Marsh, knew what it had to do.
"I told them after the 200, 'Here's the scenario: We're down two points. You have to find Nebraska Christian — two spots ahead of them we tie, any more than that we should be state champions,' " Solomon said. "We just went out and competed extremely well."
Nebraska Christian placed eighth, adding one point to its team total. Thayer Central finished the race fourth, tallying five points and clinching the state championship.
"It means a lot. These boys have worked hard all year long," Solomon said. "Last year, we went out and, honestly, we dominated, scoring 70 points. This year, we knew we had to score anywhere we could get points. It came down to that last race."
One athlete that had a big part in the Titans' success was Simon Wiedel. After placing third in the triple jump Friday, the sophomore earned three more medals Saturday.
Wiedel started the day by repeating as champion of the 100-meter dash. Wiedel and Freeman's Derek Zimmerman appeared to have crossed the finish line at the same time. Immediately after the race, all eyes were on the video board at the stadium, awaiting the results. Wiedel won with a time of 11.02 seconds — 0.01 seconds faster than Zimmerman.
"To race against Derek, you cannot ask for a better kid. We're on the same track (summer) program, and we push each other throughout the year," Wiedel said. "You couldn't ask for a better kid to compete against. He's so humble. He said before he went, 'If it's going to happen, we're going 1-2, and I was glad we could do that."
Wiedel went on to place second in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 4 3/4 inches. He was also third in the 200 (22.30). Wiedel said by the end of the day fatigue started to settle in. After the 200, Thayer Central was down by two points in the team standings, and Wiedel felt responsible.
"I knew having the late session… just put a toll on my body. I felt it a lot in the 100. Honestly, I was thinking, 'Don't get last,' because I felt really slow," he said. "I got third, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a difference. I just feel bad that I couldn't do more for the team. But that's just the way it works out."
Wiedel accounted for 30 of Thayer Central's 41 points.
"He had an incredible day… He had a very long day," Solomon said. "He was disappointed. For a while, he felt like he let the team down. He wanted to repeat, because he was the returning state champion in that 200. He was down a little bit, but he went up to that mile relay and said, 'I need you guys. We need you to pick us up.'
"I talked to him and said I was extremely proud of him and that there was nothing else he could do. He laid it all on the line."
Thayer Central's Cameron Asche finished seventh in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.88 seconds.
After the 200, Wiedel said he had a lot of faith in the 1,600 relay team, and it came through when the Titans needed it most.
"They were ones that we knew it would probably come down to that (race)," Solomon said. "Throughout the day I talked to them and they hung out as a team. They had a camp and they were hanging out all together, and then they came down, warmed up and laid it all on the line."
Wiedel said this season he's missed having former Titan Greg Dightman as a teammate. The two athletes competed in most of the same events last season, pushing each other to get better. Wiedel said he plans to continue improving next season.
"I promise you I'm going to work hard in the summer. Look at me, I'm this scrawny little guy against these guys who are huge," Wiedel said. "I'm going to build strength, work through the summer with the track club on form and everything. I think next year will be a big year. I wanted the 100 record this year and it didn't come, but I know I have it in me. I know I do."
Sutton's Tyler Bailey placed third in the 300 hurdles (41.33). He said it wasn't his best race, but he was glad to earn a medal.
"Obviously, when two kids fall you don't wish that on anybody, but it was nice to get me a higher place. Down here it's a whole new story. It doesn't matter what the times were before, everybody's going to run faster," Bailey said. "It's pretty good. I wish I could have run a little faster, but I'm happy with it. Third place is not bad."
The Mustangs finished 15th as a team with 24 points. Eight of those points came from the second-place 1,600 relay team. Bailey, Nicholas Hohensee, Noah Johnson and Cole Wiseman made up the team. Sutton was in the first heat of the race, but their time beat all of the teams in the second heat to take home silver.
"I guess it goes to prove it doesn't really matter what you do at districts, you have to bring it at state no matter what," Johnson said. "If you're doing your best time at state, you're doing something right. It feels pretty good to know we got second."
Sutton also finished eighth in the 400 relay (45.06). The team featured Bailey, Johnson, Wiseman and Garrett Leach.
St. Cecilia's Mason Furman put the finishing touches on his career with a fifth-place finish in the discus (150-8).
"I (threw a personal best) at 168-7 (earlier in the season). That was basically the highlight of my year," Furman said. "To be able to go to state and medal and have fun while doing it I think was just the best thing ever. It won't necessarily take me anywhere, but it's memories. I'm pretty happy."
Blue Hill's Jacob Lovejoy earned a medal, placing eighth in the 100 with a time of 11.47 seconds.