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Track and Field

Notre Dame track and field program returning four all-staters

Coming off a historic season for the Notre Dame program, the Bulldogs return a total of four athletes who garnered all-state honors last season.

On top of winning its first-ever district championship, Notre Dame’s boys team also placed the highest it ever has at the state meet with a sixth-place finish. The Bulldogs also had a triple jump state champion in current Saint Louis Billikin and 2021 graduate Evan Bruenderman.

Bruenderman also earned all-state medals in the 200-meter dash, long jump and as a member of the 4×200-meter relay team.

Returning to the boys side for Notre Dame will be three all-state athletes in senior Caleb Garner (4×200) and juniors Cole Bruenderman (4×200) and Greg Dennis (high jump). Dennis was also a state qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles.

Bruenderman and Garner were also on the 4×200 district championship relay team, while Dennis won his own individual district title in high jump.

At the district meet, Bruenderman qualified for sectionals in multiple events by earning all-district in triple jump and as a member of the 4×400 team. The 4×100 and 4×400 relay squads Cole was on also took home SEMO Conference Championships.

Individually outside of being on the 4×200 team that qualified for sectionals, Garner also qualified for the meet at districts in the 200-meter dash and as a member of the 4×800-meter relay team.

Junior Mason Morris was also a member of the sectional-qualifying 4×800 team, and he also qualified for sectionals in the 3200-meter run.

Garner and Morris also earned all-conference as members of the 4×800 team, while Bruenderman and Dennis did so in two individual events as well. Cole won all-conference medals in the 200 and triple jump, as Greg did so competing in the 110-meter hurdles and high jump.

As a member of the cross country team, Morris placed in the top 25 of the Class 3 State Meet at 14th overall to earn all-state honors. Morris and fellow junior Thomas Dittmer helped the Notre Dame boys cross country team place second in the conference meet by taking seventh and ninth, respectively.

The lone all-state athlete returning to the girls team is junior Jenna Givens, who took fifth in triple jump and helped the 4×100-relay team earn all-state honors as well.

Given’s finish at the Class 4 State Meet was the lowest finish in triple jump she had all season. Jenna hadn’t placed anywhere but first the entire season and took home the SEMO Conference, Class 4 District 1 and Class 4 Sectional 1 Championships in triple jump.

Prior to this upcoming spring season, Givens just helped the Notre Dame girls basketball team win its fourth-straight district title. She was also named to the all-district team and led the Bulldogs in 3-pointers.

If it hadn’t been for a season-ending injury this winter, Givens wouldn’t have been the only returning all-state athlete for the Notre Dame girls this spring. Senior Leah Jansen, who was a member of the all-state 4×100 team, suffered a knee injury back in January that unfortunately brought her athletic career at Notre Dame to a sudden end.

Along with helping the 4×100 team to medal at state last season, Givens and Jansen led the 4×400 squad to win a conference championship. These two also led the 4×200 team to qualify for sectionals, while Leah also qualified for the meet in triple jump.

Other Bulldogs to earn all-conference on the girls side last spring were senior Kayle Jackson, junior Emma Steimle and sophomore Lauren Eftink. Jackson and Steimle each took home an all-conference medal in the javelin throw and discus, respectively.

Eftink was able to bring home all-conference in not one but two events as she placed in the top four of the 800 and 3200-meter run. This past fall, Lauren garnered all-state honors for this first time in her career as a member of the cross country team by taking 22nd place in Class 4.

Eftink took second behind Jackson senior runner Addie Heisserer in the SEMO Conference Meet as she was the only cross country runner to earn all-conference for Notre Dame this fall.

The Bulldogs are under head coach Ryan Long, who is entering his fourth year at the helm.

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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