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Track and Field

Lauren Eftink leads Notre Dame girls track to win first district title in five years

Notre Dame senior Lauren Eftink won three individual Class 3 District 1 championships (800-meter run, 1600 and 3200) Saturday on her home track. Photo by Nick McNeal

This past Saturday in the Notre Dame track and field program’s final meet at home, the Bulldogs girls team made history by winning its first district championship since 2019.

Notre Dame’s girls team outscored the opposition by 68 points with a final total of 174 to claim the Class 3 District 1 title. The Bulldogs won seven events as future Southeast Missouri State runner senior Lauren Eftink brought home three district gold medals of her own.

“There is no better feeling than winning with the other wonderful girls at my last districts at home,” Eftink said. “The group of girls we have this year is special and it’s been an honor to be teammates with all of them. This team is such a blessing and to win districts with them has made it that much more meaningful!”

The three events Eftink won were all individual ones as she won district championships in the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and 3200-meter run. Lauren posted times of two minutes, 21.66 seconds in the 800, 5:47.88 for the 1600 and 12:00.94 in the 3200.

The only event Eftink didn’t win a district title in was as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team, which second place with a time of 4:17.56. Also on the relay squad with Lauren was junior Lily Carr and sophomores Lily Brotherton and Grayson Maurer.

“Districts have really made me excited for sectionals,” Eftink said. “It’s a blessing to move on and continue racing for another week! I’m pumped to race again and to see what I’m capable of.”

Looking ahead, Eftink recorded the top times in each of her individual races among all the runners she’ll face at the Class 3 Sectional 1 Meet this weekend. Lauren also has the top overall time in the 800 out of any runner in Class 3.

“There is a lot of trial and error throughout the years,” Eftink noted. “Year after year you grow and learn what works for you and how you run best. It’s taken a lot of time and racing, but I’m still learning new things every day!”

Outside of Eftink, Notre Dame’s Grayson Maurer also took first in multiple events as she won the district championship in both triple jump and as a member of the 4×100-meter relay team. Maurer won triple jump with a leap of 34 feet, three inches and helped the 4×100 team record a time of 51.91 with senior Madelyn White, sophomore Emmie Gamel and Carr.

Maurer also qualified for sectionals in the 200-meter dash by taking second place with a time of 26.91.

The final two other district titles came on the field as junior Abigail Spooler won pole vault with a mark of 11-0.75, while senior Emma Duenne claimed district gold in discus with a heave of 119-7. Duenne also qualified for sectionals in shot put as she took second in the event by recording a throw of 34-4.5.

The Bulldogs remaining top-three finishes to qualify for sectionals include Lily Coy in the 1600 (second place; 5:50.97), 4×800-meter relay team of junior Lyla Martin, Coy, sophomore Sydney Essner and freshman Victoria Avila Henao (second place; 10:46.29), sophomore Claire Pfautsch in triple jump (second; 33-3.5), Brotherton in the 400-meter dash (third; 1:03.95), Coy in the 3200 (third; 12:27.4), sophomore Maria Seyer in the 100-meter hurdles (third; 17.11) and the 4×200-meter relay team of White, Carr, Gamel and Seyer (third; 1:52.23).

Notre Dame qualified for sectionals in four more events by taking fourth place: Carr in the 300-meter hurdles (49.68), White in long jump (16-1), sophomore Cierra Landewee in pole vault (6-10.75) and junior Mary Huhman in discus (99-5.25).

“I believe this team has a purpose this year and that’s made a tremendous difference,” Eftink said. “We’ve really focused on our faith and competing for more than ourselves.”

As for the Bulldogs boys team, it took fifth overall on its side of the Class 3 District 1 Meet as it placed in the top four to advance to sectionals in only track events.

Notre Dame senior Jacob Brown produced the only first-place finish as he won the 100-meter dash by crossing the finish line at 11.1. He also qualified for sectionals individually in the 200 at 22.71.

Bulldogs freshman Trenton Powell also placed in the top four twice by taking second in the 110-meter hurdles (15.71) and third in the 300 hurdles (41.83).

Sophomore Jackson Jones and junior Michael Givens placed third (10:40.23) and fourth (10:52.45), respectively, in the 3200 to qualify for sectionals. Notre Dame’s 4×100 (third place; 44.19), 4×800 (third; 8:54.66) and 4×400 (fourth; 3:43.1) relay teams also made sectionals.

The 4×100 team is made up of Brown, Powell and sophomores Dylan Neumann and Tanner Le. Brown, Le and Powell are also on the fourth-place 4×400 squad with junior Aidan Stiegemeyer.

Lastly, the Bulldogs boys 4×800 team that is moving on to sectionals is made up of Givens, Jones, Stiegemeyer and junior Carston Dannenmueller.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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