North Bend Eagle



Five boys set for state meet

by Nathan Arneal
published 5/14/08

North Bend Central boys track coach Fred Lambley was proud of the way the Tigers competed at Thursday’s district meet.

His team was in the championship hunt late into the day and ended up qualifying five athletes in seven events for this weekend’s state track meet in Omaha.

When Colby Dolezal won the 300-meter hurdles, the 10 points he earned put the Tigers in first place with four events left. However, NBC failed to score in the next three events, the 200, 1600 and 400m relay, and ended the day in third place with 72 points. East Butler took the championship with 89.

Dolezal was one of two Tiger boys to make state in two events. Earlier in the day he also claimed gold in the 110m high hurdles.

NBC’s other double qualifier was Drew Hines. For a while, the Tiger junior was on pins and needles waiting to find out if he would be making a return trip to state in the pole vault.

Hines was one of four vaulters to clear 12-6. Only one, Aquinas’s Justin Fiala, cleared 13-0, giving him first place and one of the two state berths. The other three had to wait for the meet official to examine the results and break the tie.

Rick Watson gives the thumbs up
After checking the officical's tally sheet, NBC vault coach Rick Watson signals to Drew Hines' (left) parents that he had qualified for state.

“I think (Hines) was worried,” Lambley said. “You can tell when he’s worried because he walks back and forth and usually has his head down looking at the grass. When you made it (to state) before, I’m sure there’s a subconscious pressure to get back.”

Kyle Ridder of Malcolm was eliminated from contention because of misses at earlier heights and ended up in fourth place. Hines and Malcolm’s Ryan Meyer, however, finished in a tie for second, meaning both will be making the trip to state.

Later in the day Hines also qualified in the 400 meters with a second-place finish.

There was no drama in Ethan Bauer qualifying for state. He was the first Tiger to lock up a trip to Omaha when he triple jumped 43 feet, 5.5 inches, which bettered the automatic qualifying standard of 42-11. His jump held up for first place by more than two feet. That measurement also seeds him second at the state meet, only three inches away from the best jump in districts statewide.

One of the pleasant surprises of the day came from freshman Jesse Lacey in the 3200 meters. Lambley said Lacey ran the middle laps of his race better than he has all year long, enabling him to finish second and punch a ticket to state.

“Realistically, I just wanted him to get in at fifth or sixth place, looking at the times coming in,” Lambley said. “Boy, he just ran strong. I give him credit. That was a very nice performance for a freshman.”

Lacey lowered his personal-best time by 21 seconds in running a time of 10:47.2.

“It caught me off guard,” Lambley said, “but I was tackled to death.”

Lacey said it didn’t dawn on him that he had a chance to go to state until the final laps of the race.

“I was completely clueless,” Lacey said. “Honestly, I didn’t think I’d do this well.”

North Bend’s final state qualification came from senior Alex Hines in the 800 meters. Hines went out strong early, and was shoulder-to-shoulder with the race leader at the halfway point. Meet entries showed a tight pack of runners would be fighting for the top two places and the state berths that went with them. Hines entered the home stretch in second, but he didn’t think he’d be going to state until he was a few strides from the finish line.

“I heard everyone screaming with 100 (meters) left, so I thought there was somebody coming,” Hines said. “I just kept on running as hard as I could. Kind of towards the end, that’s when I really realized it.”

Lambley said Hines has improved his finishing kick over the past couple weeks and that’s what helped him get to state.

“He’s such a good worker,” Lambley said about Hines. “If every kid was like that, what a dream to work with.”

Alex Hines said the hard work was worth it, even though he paid the price to place second at districts.

“I’ve never felt worse after running,” he said. “I threw up for the first time ever.”

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