Dawson County’s varsity track and field team wrapped up their season at the Class 3A State Finals in Albany last week, with three new school records leading to three top-6 finishes.
On the opening day of action on Thursday, May 11, Emily Kurtz helped break two of those records.
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Head coach Arron Haynes made the bold move to swap Kurtz into the 4x800 team specifically for the State Finals race, hoping to improve on that group’s sixth-place State finish last year.
The 4x800 team of Jules Phillips, Katie Gloeckner, Kurtz and Anna LeCave not only rocketed their way to a state runner-up finish with a time of 10:05, they obliterated the former DCHS top mark by 21 seconds.
That old record time was shared between a previous iteration of this year’s 4x800 group and a relay team from 2016.
Earlier in the day, Kurtz accomplished something on an individual level she had pursued for a long time.
Having qualified for the State Finals in the pole vault, she had already set a new school record during the regular season at 8 feet 8 inches — an inch over her own previous record mark.
But after weeks, months and even years of coming so close, Kurtz cleared the 9-foot mark at the best possible time at the State Finals, yet again setting a new school record and earning a sixth-place finish at State.
LeCave continued her success in the 800-meter race, setting a new standard for herself and the Tigers program.
She first broke the school record in that event during the 2022 season with a time of 2:25.6 — later proving she could consistently hit around that mark in 2023.
After this past regular season, in which LeCave cut her time down by half a second, she went into the State Finals with confidence.
LeCave excelled in her final race of the season, finishing third in all of Class 3A and setting another new school record time of 2:23.1.
That two-second improvement was not only an impressive way to cap off her stellar year — it proved to be necessary for her finishing position. The two runners behind her also had personal best times that broke the 2:25 mark.
The other Dawson County State Finals qualifiers included Ema Bliss, who competed in the high jump finals Thursday She cleared her previous season-high of 4 feet 10 inches and officially finished 15th.
Kurtz ran in the 400-meter event, also finishing 15th. Aaric Muilenburg ran in the boys 400-meter race, finishing 12th but setting another personal best time of 52.07. He previously set a personal record the week before at the State Sectionals.
The Region 7-3A champion 4x400 girls relay team finished sixth with a time of 4:10.37.