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Good Friday for Clearwater-Orchard’s Long

May 19, 2018

OMAHA — Clearwater-Orchard junior Jacob Long had a pretty good Friday at Burke Stadium here.

Long earned a state championship in the Class D high jump, edging Trevor Pfeifer of Humphrey St. Francis and Lane Edis of Mullen, and then placed second in the triple jump with a season-best leap of 44 feet, 4.5 inches.

In the high jump, all three jumpers cleared 6-4, but Long earned the gold medal after clearing the previous height in fewer attempts. Pfeifer and Edis tied for second.

“I was kind of thinking that they were both going to clear 6-6, and I was going to have to pick it up on my last jump,” Long said. “With them missing, I was kind of surprised.”

Long and Pfeifer had jumped against each other twice this season, with Pfeifer winning both times.

“This morning, I felt like I could get in the top three for sure,” Long said. “On all of our best days, it’d still be really close. Every time I went against Trevor, I lost. This is the first time I’ve beat him this year, so it’s kind of a good feeling for me.”

Clearing 6-4 was nothing new for long, but he wasn’t necessarily prepared for a state championship.

“When I saw it happen, I was kind of shaken,” he said. “I don’t think I can believe it yet.”

Also in the D high jump, Randolph sophomore Keaton Backhaus tied for sixth after clearing 6-0.

Joining Long on the podium in the triple jump were Keaton Eichberger of Plainview and Hector Mendoza of Clarkson/Leigh. Eichberger placed seventh with a mark of 41-6.25, and Mendoza was eighth at 41-5.5.

Boyd County senior Blake Ahlers opened the Class D 3,200 intent on breaking the 10-minute mark, but an early race dust storm changed that. Still, Ahlers defended his state title by winning in 10:16.71, holding off a late charge from Cody-Kilgore’s Ry Cheney.

Cheney was second in 10:19.05 after picking his way through the pack and pulling nearly even with Ahlers entering the final lap.

“I was going to try and break 10, but that didn’t happen,” Ahlers said. “I’m not mad about it, I guess. I don’t know if it was the wind or what, but either way I got the win.”

Having beaten Cheney at districts last week, Ahlers was confident running against him. Still, he was able to benefit from Burke Stadium’s technology to maintain his lead.

“With two laps left, I was gradually trying to pick my pace up. I was watching on the big screen the whole time to see where he was,” Ahlers said. “He was right there.”

Ahlers’ win came moments after Spartan freshman Chase Snyder finished as runner-up in the Class D shot put. Leading throughout, Snyder was beaten when Giltner’s Alexander Goracke threw 50-5.5 on his last attempt in finals.

Snyder had led since throwing 50-0.25 in prelims. Tell Spies of Mullen was third at 50-0.

Still, the 18 points the Ahlers and Snyder combined to score will likely be valuable in Boyd County’s run for a state team title.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to go far,” Ahlers said. “I mean, North Central was rated last in that 4x800 and they came up and blew everyone out of the water. We usually try to compete against them, and they usually end up beating us by quite a few points.”

Also in the Class D shot put, Bloomfield’s Jared Hornback placed eighth with a throw of 47-9.

Jack Evetovich of Wayne also ended his season with a medal, tying for eighth in the Class B high jump with a leap of 6-2.