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Track and Field

Notre Dame track and field brings back seven state medalists

The Notre Dame track and field program certainly had a season to remember last spring as the Bulldogs had a total of eight all-state finishes. What’s even better is that every athlete for Notre Dame that earned a spot on the podium last year is returning.

The boys team finished with the most all-state medalists as they placed in the top eight of five events in the Class 3 State Meet. Two Bulldogs came away as all-state in multiple events in seniors Cole Bruenderman (Lindenwood signee) and Greg Dennis as they will lead the boys team for one final season.

Individually, both Bruenderman and Dennis earned two all-state medals. Cole was the state runner-up in triple jump and finished third overall in long jump, while Greg finished second in the 110-meter hurdles and was third in high jump to become a two-time all-state medalist in the event.

These two were also members of Notre Dame’s all-state 4×100-meter relay team, along with fellow senior Davis Dow and junior Jacob Brown. This squad took seventh at state by crossing the finish line at the 43.68 mark. The Bulldogs relay team also won the Class 3 District 1 Championship prior to state.

As a team, the Bulldogs won their second-straight Class 3 District 1 title last spring. Notre Dame finished with a total of six first-place finishes at districts as other athletes like Brown and senior Mason Morris won district titles individually along with Bruenderman and Dennis.

Bruenderman won both the individual district and sectional championships in long jump. Dennis was also a conference, district and sectional champion in high jump, and he also won the district and sectional titles in the 110 hurdles.

Morris took home district gold in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:54.61, while he also finished second in the 3200 (10:42.72). Brown became a district champion in the 200-meter dash, posting a finish of 22.86 seconds and also took second in the 100.

Even though an athlete like Dow didn’t come away with a district title, he still took third in the 300-meter hurdles to earn all-district. Davis actually went on to win the sectional championship in the 300 hurdles following districts and will be a pivotal part to the team competing for a state title this year.

Dow and Morris both qualified for state in their respective events, as Davis took 10th in the 300 hurdles and Mason finished 10th and 11th overall in the 1600 and 3200, respectively.

Another state-qualifying senior returning for Notre Dame will be Zachary Ochs, who placed 15th overall in pole vault at state last season. Ochs took third and fourth, respectively at the district and sectional meets.

As for the girls team, Notre Dame brings back three all-state medalists from last spring including a two-time all-state triple jumper in senior Jenna Givens. Also returning for the Bulldogs will be fellow all-staters juniors Lauren Eftink and Emma Duenne.

Givens took eighth overall in the triple jump at last year’s Class 4 State Meet as the Bulldogs are still having to compete one classification ahead of the boys due to the success factor for private schools enforced by MSHSAA.

Jenna recorded a leap of 34-9.5 after taking fifth place two years ago with a mark of 35-5.25 her sophomore year.

As for Duenne and Eftink, they both competed in two events at state last season as Duenne recorded a seventh-place finish in discus with a heave of 114-07 to earn all-state for the first time in her career. Emma also finished 14th overall in shot put (33-0.25).

Eftink actually had the better overall finishes, though, as she earned all-state in the 1600 at 5:17.04 and was one spot shy of garnering an all-state medal in the 3200. Lauren placed ninth overall in the 3200 with a time of 12:00.

Eftink won district championships in both events last year, while she also won a conference title in the 3200. Duenne was also a district champion in discus as Givens took home sectional gold in triple jump.

Another returning state qualifier for Notre Dame this spring is senior Katelyn Turner, who took 13th place in pole vault to end her junior campaign. Turner was the runner-up at the district meet and took fourth at sectionals.

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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