Team of the Week: South Loup Bobcats
South Loup winning its first state championship in any sport since Arnold and Callaway decided to co–op in 2007 when the Bobcats captured the Class D title.
How they reached the next level is a truly remarkable effort on many levels.
South Loup had been close on several occasions of winning a Class D event.
"Down the stretch they come, it's South Loup and Allen. Dockweiler and Twohig, and Twohig to the line for Allen High School," belts Rich Broderson over the PA system at Burke Stadium.
The Bobcats had yet to win an event at the 2017 Nebraska State Track and Field Championships. As they were about to embark on the final race, an extremely slim chance existed they could still win. Not only the 4x400 M relay, but maybe even a team trophy.
"We didn't say anything about it," said head coach Rick Peterson. "We thought we had lost some opportunities that cost us probably the team championship."
Everything had to fall into place. South Loup was trailing Exeter-Milligan by 8 points. 10 is given to the winner of an event at Nebraska high school track meets. 8 points for second, 6 for third, 5 for fourth, 4 for fifth, 3 for sixth, 2 for seventh, and 1 for eighth.
BDS was ahead of the Bobcats in the standings by 4 points and in lane three. Falls City Sacred Heart, who was tied with South Loup, could also cause some problems. Fullerton had the 800 M champion on its relay team and was stationed in lane one with a 7-point advantage on South Loup. In all, seven teams had a shot to win Class D.
"We knew it was possible, but they couldn't score much or they would beat us," lamented Peterson.
Odds were stacked against the Bobcats even before making their three hand-offs, having to endure a tremendous amount of adversity to even be in contention.
"There's been a lot of resolute kids there, it's really been exciting.
"We lost our vaulter the night before. He broke his hip just running down the runway," Peterson said.
"For this group of juniors, especially, I mean we've had so much hype and we haven't really done anything," says sophomore Kalen Dockweiler. "Coming back from both injuries, that's good too." Dockweiler has endured an ACL surgery to each of his knees.
"The anchor on the last race (Landon Furne) broke both bones in his leg in football and had to have them plated so he didn't have his speed back until this year," Peterson added.
Furne's speed held up when it was needed most, propelling the Bobcats to the win. With it, South Loup broke a tie with Falls City while jumping four other teams for the double victory and being proclaimed the kings of Class D for 2017.