Bruning-Davenport/Shickley's Aaron Mick competes in pole vault during the Class D, district 6 meet Friday at Sandy Creek.

FAIRFIELD — When it comes to qualifying for the state meet in Class D, field event athletes must place in the top two at the district meet or reach the qualifying distance or height.

Generally, a district will have a couple additional qualifiers that reached the necessary mark, but on Friday, at the Class D, District 6 meet, spectators at the pole vault got to see an incredible eight athletes reach the qualifying mark and punch their tickets to the state meet.

“It’s real fun because it gives you more competition and you get to see what it’s like at state,” said Bruning-Davenport/Shickley’s Aaron Mick, won the event after clearing a personal best 13 feet, 9 inches. “It always pushes me harder when there’s more competition. I got a PR (Friday) because there were two other kids jumping right there with me. It’s fun to be able to talk to them and get to know them.”


Giltner's Dayne Hinrichs crosses the finish line of the 100-meter dash during the Class D, district 6 meet Friday at Sandy Creek.

Mick out-dueled Harvard’s Noah Okraska for the gold medal. Okraska was a third-place finisher at last year’s state meet, and he too set a personal best on Friday with a height of 13-8.

“I love this event; you get a rush of adrenaline, and it’s like a pole vaulting family. I had some good jumps and, all glory to God, I had a great day,” Okraska said. “I had a new pole I was working on and conditions were great (Friday), so I figured I’d go for a PR and I PR’d two times.”

From the area, Wilcox-Hildreth’s AJ Jenkins (13-2) finished fourth in the event, Holden Ruhnke — of Deshler — (12-8) was fifth, and Harvard’s Ben Okraska placed eight, hitting the qualifying mark on his final attempt at 12-2.

Axtell’s Dustin Klingsporn and McCool Junction’s Tyler Neville and Dana Hobbs also qualified in the event.

Throughout the competition, the competitors were constantly cheering each other on, hoping to pile up as many state qualifiers as possible. Jenkins said, though they are competing against each other, they all want to see one another succeed.


Harvard's Ben Okraska (left) is congratulated by Noah Okraska after qualifying for the state tournament in the pole vault Friday at the Class D, district 6 meet at Sandy Creek.

“We’re a pretty friendly district. We all wanted each other to make it down to state; that’s where we’ll really get competitive,” he said. “We all cheer each other on, and it’s just a good time down here.”

For Mick, he’ll be heading back to Omaha after his second consecutive state appearance. He qualified in the pole vault last season but could not compete due to an injury.

Still, the BDS sophomore is no stranger to the state meet. A member of the Mick family has won a state championship in the pole vault each of the last 10 years. While he hopes he can continue the trend, he knows he just need to focus on performing to his best ability.

“My parents, they always tell me to just do my best, it doesn’t matter what else happens,” he said. “I just try to do my best every time I jump. Whenever I get the chance, I try to listen to my dad (and pole vault coach) as much as I can. He usually figures out what’s wrong and helps me fix it all.”

In the team standings, Kenesaw was the district runner up after tallying 77 1/2 points, second only to Axtell which ran away with the team race at 147 points.

The Blue Devils had eight automatic state qualifying finishes on Friday, led by Wyatt Hansen, who won the 400-meter dash (51.18 seconds) and also clinched a state berth in the the long jump while playing a big role in Kenesaw’s first-place finish in the 400 relay.

Joining Hansen in the relay were John Schuster, Taylor Pulver and Tyson Denkert — all of which also qualified in individual events. Schuster took home the silver medal in the 200 (23.36) while Denkert was second in the long jump (20-0 1/2) and Pulver hit the qualifying mark in the high jump (5-11).

“We started off strong in the field events and we got some kids in on additional qualifying, which is exciting because it means they’re meeting the mark they need to meet at this time,” said Kenesaw head coach Nancy Bittfield.

Schuster also unofficially locked up a wild card spot in the 100. Pulver, Schuster, Denkert, and Hansen all earned a wild card berth in the 1,600 relay.

BDS was fourth as a team with 57 points. Nolan Weber and John Christensen will join Mick in Omaha after finishing first and second, respectively, in the discus, and Christensen also qualified in the shot put with a silver medal.


Kenesaw's Tyson Denkert nears the finish line of the 400-meter relay at the Class D, district 6 meet Friday at Sandy Creek.

Sidney Gruwell ensured he’d be alongside Falcon teammate Jenkins at the state meet, placing second in the 110 hurdles (16.46) and second in the triple jump (42-1 3/4).

Lawrence-Nelson had two athletes earn automatic qualifying bids. Kyle Golay locked up a gold medal in the shot put with a distance of 52 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Teammate Jacob Sharp was second in the high jump, clearing 5-11. The Raiders’ 3,200 relay team — Logan Menke, Lane Heikkinen, Cole Troudt, and Jayden Jorgensen — clinched a wild card spot.

Kyle Phillips and Dayne Hinrichs were the only Hornets to earn automatic state berths. Phillips won the high jump (6-0) and Hinrichs took first in the 100 (11.45). Hinrichs also clinched a spot in the 200, marking the fastest wild card time. Hinrichs teamed up with Trevor Linden, Dakon Wilson and Rody Lyon to earn a wild card berth in the 400 relay.

In addition to Noah Okraska’s pole vault qualification, he also clinched a spot in Omaha with a second-place finish in the 300 hurdles.

Boys team scores

1, Axtell 147; 2, Kenesaw 77 1/2; 3, McCool Junction 62; 4, BDS 57; 5, Wilcox-Hildreth 52; 6, Lawrence-Nelson 46; 7, Giltner 36; 8, Harvard 24; 9, Deshler 11 1/2; 10, Silver Lake 5; 11, Hampton 5; 12, Red Cloud 4

Boys individual results

Pole Vault — 1, Aaron Mick, BDS, 13-9; 2, Noah Okraska, Harvard, 13-8; 3, Dustin Klingsporn, Axtell, 13-2; 4, Aaron Jenkins, Wilcox-Hildreth, 13-2; 5, Holden Ruhnke, Deshler, 12-8; 6, Tyler Neville, McCool Junction, 12-2; 6, Dana Hobbs, McCool Junction, 12-2

High jump — 1, Kyle Phillips, Giltner, 6-0; 2, Jacob Sharp, Lawrence-Nelson, 5-11; 3, Taylor Pulver, Kenesaw, 5-11

Long jump — 1, Creighton Kring, Axtell, 20-7 3/4; 2, Tyson Denkert, Kenesaw, 20-0 1/2; 3, Wyatt Hansen, Kenesaw, 19-10 1/4

Triple jump — 1, Creighton Kring, Axtell, 43-7 3/4; 2, Sidney Gruwell, Wilcox-Hildreth, 42-1 3/4;

Shot put — 1, Kyle Golay, Lawrence-Nelson, 52-05 1/2; 2, John Christensen, BDS, 50-07

Discus — 1, Nolan Weber, BDS, 147-6; 2, John Christensen, BDS, 141-3

100 — 1, Dayne Hinrichs, Giltner, 11.45; 2, Creighton Kring, Axtell, 11.46; 3, John Schuster, Kenesaw, 11.58; 4, Aaron Mick, BDS, 12.05; 5, Tanner Badura, Axtell, 12.20; 6, Alex Ehrman, Silver Lake, 12.30

200 — 1, Creighton Kring, Axtell, 22.90; 2, John Schuster, Kenesaw, 23.36; 3, Dayne Hinrichs, Giltner, 23.44; 4, Bryce Tobiassen, Wilcox-Hildreth, 24.10; 5, Tyson Denkert, Kenesaw, 24.21; 6, Aaron Mick, BDS, 24.42

400 — 1, Wyatt Hansen, Kenesaw, 51.18; 2, Tyler Danburg, Axtell, 51.73; 3, Owen McDonald, McCool Junction, 53.84; 4, Kameron Dickson, BDS, 54.45; 5, August Aamodt, McCool Junction, 54.55; 6, Quinston Larsen, Red Cloud, 56.41

800 — 1, August Aamodt, McCool Junction, 2:07.40; 2, Calvin Johnson, Axtell, 2:07.93; 3, Jayden Jorgensen, Lawrence-Nelson, 2:09.27; 4, Trevor Young, Wilcox-Hildreth, 2:12.80; 5, Thomas Peterson, Axtell, 2:14.86; 6, Aiden Piel, Wilcox-Hildreth, 2:18.23

1,600 — 1, Lincoln Trent, Axtell, 4:47.00; 2, Tyler Neville, McCool Junction, 4:59.13; 3, Zachary Hinrichs, Axtell, 4:59.81; 4, Noah Belz, Kenesaw, 5:01.27, 5, Caleb Gaughen, Harvard, 5:02.97; 6, Oakley Rosno, Silver Lake, 5:10.30

3,200 — 1, Lincoln Trent, Axtell, 10:32.44; 2, Tyler Neville, McCool Junction, 10:39.09; 3, Jaron Bergstrom, Axtell, 10:39.31; 4, Elijah Lopez, Axtell, 10:51.87; 5, Cole Troudt, Lawrence-Nelson, 11:09.84; 6, Jacob Brugger, McCool Junction, 11:45.28

110 hurdles — 1, Lane Bertrand, Axtell, 15.96; 2, Sidney Gruwell, Wilcox-Hildreth, 16.46; 3, Coltin Hansen, Deshler, 17.06; 4, Aaron Skaggs, Axtell, 17.49; 5, Dana Hobbs, McCool Junction, 17.60; 6, Carson McCleary, Red Cloud, 17.63

300 hurdles — 1, Lane Bertrand, Axtell, 40.84; 2, Noah Okraska, Harvard, 41.81; 3, Aaron Jenkins, Wilcox-Hildreth, 43.69; 4, Jacob Sharp, Lawrence-Nelson, 44.17; 5, Coltin Hansen, Deshler, 45.67; 6, Quinn Bertrand, Axtell, 45.73

400 relay — 1, Kenesaw 45.05; 2, Giltner 45.90; 3, Wilcox-Hildreth 46.57; 4, BDS 47.56; 5, Axtell 48.53; 6, Silver Lake 49.69

1,600 relay — 1, Axtell 3:33.52; 2, Kenesaw 3:37.90; 3, McCool Junction 3:38.44; 4, Harvard 3:43.18; 5, Lawrence-Nelson 3:50.70; 6, Wilcox-Hildreth 3:51.16

3,200 relay — 1, Axtell 8:46.53; 2, Lawrence-Nelson 8:51.29; 3, Wilcox-Hildreth 8:57.41; 4, McCool Junction 9:32.54; 5, Giltner 9:34.45; 6, Kenesaw 10:19.26


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