Bison track teams hope for better weather at Broken Bow

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Steve Kodad/McCook Daily Gazette McCook senior Morgan Chitwood works on her discus form during Bison track and field workouts Wednesday, April 7. Chitwood set a new school record in her specialty event at the Leroy Hoehner Invitational April 1 in McCook, when she threw the discus 132 feet, 6 inches. The old Bison record of 129-9 was set in 2003 by Lisa Friehe.

The McCook High School track and field teams will take one of their longest road trips of the regular season when they head out Friday, April 9, for the Broken Bow Invitational.

The Bison teams will be looking for a favorable weather forecast at Broken Bow for the competition that is set to begin at 2:15 p.m. with the boys pole vault. Remaining field events are set to start at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Boys and girls teams from Cozad, Gothenburg, Holdrege and Ord are expected to compete with McCook and the host Indians at Friday's meet.

In the last competition for the Bison teams, the locals were "blown away" by strong winds at the Thursday, April 1 Leroy Hoehner Invitational at the Senior High stadium. Athletes competing at McCook's Hoehner Invite were buffeted by heavy winds most of the day, making for tough tests for most of the 17 events contested.

Friday's forecast in Broken Bow is much more friendly. is calling for highs in the low 60s with mostly sunny skies and just a bit less than the seemingly hurricane-force winds that hit McCook last week.

"The forecast is decent, maybe even a little bit less wind," said McCook girls head coach Steve Clapp. "I think they are down to 15 miles per hour, or 20. That would be a breeze."

The weather wasn't very cooperative for the McCook squads earlier this week as the Bison teams prepared for the Broken Bow meet. The locals faced snow, rain and chilly temperatures Tuesday, with much better conditions for Wednesday's workout, although it was still a bit windy Wednesday afternoon.

"We haven't accomplished quite what we were hoping to," Coach Clapp said of his team's early-week workouts. "We brought the kids out (Tuesday) night in the rain and kind of ran an abbreviated practice, but it was better than running the hallways (inside the school). I think we got quite a bit done. Usually the day before a meet, we call it pre-meet and we kind of back off, and we'll still do that (Thursday),but we'll probably still have quite a bit of specialty stuff that we'll work on, handoffs (for relays), steps (field events), those types of things."

McCook boys head coach Tom Sughroue said his Bison squad weathered the early-week unfavorable conditions very well.

"Monday was a nice day. We got quite a bit done," Sughroue said. "Monday is usually a large load day as far as work amount goes. (Tuesday) was not as productive as we'd like it to be, because you like to do a lot of work on Tuesdays also, but we didn't get a lot of work done because the rain hampered that a little bit. Wednesday we got quite a little bit done, I think. You're kind of tapering back a little bit because you're looking to have a meet in two days. You have to plan a little bit for that."

Weather's effects

The Bison squads have had just two outdoor meets early in the spring season. Many of the marks recorded in the opening meet at North Platte March 28 weren't matched at last week's windy Hoehner Invite. Sughroue said his athletes (and fans) have to take those tough conditions into account.

"The weather conditions were atrocious, you can't really go off of those times, mainly because of that wind," Sughroue said of last week's event. "That's something that those kids really need to take into consideration, and the people that are watching. Coaches across the state that look at those times will figure that out. They'll know that there were some things going on that caused those (slower) times.

"As an athlete, they always look to do their best at any individual event. Regardless of what the weather is, they always think they ought to do better. Keep in consideration, especially the people that go around the track, they need to keep that in their thoughts that the wind is a big factor. As much as it pushes you down one side, it's going to hinder you going around the other side. They can't compare (performances in the wind and better conditions) -- that's like comparing apples and oranges."

Varsity only Friday

Friday's event is varsity only, and each of the six schools can enter a maximum of three athletes in the 14 individual events, and one team in each of the three relay races in both the boys and girls divisions. The short sprints (100-meter dash, 200 meters) and the hurdle races will feature preliminary heats, with the eight fastest times advancing to finals later Friday evening.

Coach Sughroue said he has several athletes on his Bison boys team that can excel while competing in the maximum four events any individual may enter in each meet. But Sughroue said he won't put that big load on any of his Bison performers this early in the season.

Coach Clapp said he plans to use Friday's meet to possibly try some different combinations on the McCook girls relay teams.

"We're still kind of moving some people around," he said. "We may try to put together our 400 and 1,600 relays in different order, maybe with some different people and experiment a little bit."

Coach Clapp said he expects Amanda Einspahr back on the track Friday. Einspahr has missed McCook's opening meets after having her wisdom teeth removed. Einspahr may get a chance to run on the Bison 400 relay.

New school record

One of the top efforts early this spring for the McCook girls came last week from senior Morgan Chitwood, with a new school record in the discus. Chitwood won the Hoehner Invite with a toss of 132 feet, 6 inches, breaking the old McCook girls record of 129-9 recorded by Lisa Friehe in 2003.

Coach Sughroue said he was impressed with Bison junior Cody Goltl's effort in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at last Thursday's meet. Goltl hit a personal-best time of 43.2 seconds despite the blustery wind conditions.

Sughroue said his McCook boys haven't produced any surprises early in the season.

"Some of them are where we expected them to be. A lot of kids are doing what we expected them to do," he said. "There have been some outstanding performances, but nothing that I would say grabs you as a surprise yet."

Two of the top efforts for the McCook boys have come in the jumps. Senior Chance Pearson has went over 21 feet consistently in the long jump, with a personal-best 21 feet, 2 1/2 inches at the Hoehner Invite. Senior Mark Nichols hit a PR of 45 feet, 2 3/4 inches in the triple jump at the North Platte dual meet two weeks ago.

Golfers at Kearney

McCook's golf boys are scheduled to compete Friday, April 9, in the Kearney Invitational at the Meadowlark Hills course. Action is set to begin at 9 a.m.

Coach Rick Haney said Friday's meet will be a good learning experience for his team, as the Bison will get a chance to play on the Kearney course that will host the Class B state meet May 25-26.

The Bison golfers are also hoping for better weather. McCook squared off against North Platte last Tuesday on the Bison home course, Heritage Hills Golf Links. The two teams faced heavy rain and cold temperatures during Tuesday's event.

Friday's forecast in Kearney is calling for temperatures in the mid 60s, mostly sunny skies and no precipitation, but a bit breezy with winds 15-25 mph.

The McCook girls tennis team was scheduled to compete at Ogallala Thursday, April 8.

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